School’s back before summer!
In a move that has no doubt set your Twitter feed afire, NBC has just announced a much-anticipated return date for COMMUNITY. Or, as creator Dan Harmon more eloquently tweeted, “What you call 8:00, we call home. COMMUNITY returns to Thursday nights on March 15th.”
Making room for your favorite student body will be 30 ROCK, which NBC will push to 8:30PM in addition to sending PARKS AND RECREATION packing to Thursday April 19th at 9:30PM, where it will return in the not-nearly-as-plum-as-it-used-to-be-post-OFFICE timeslot following UP ALL NIGHT’s season finale.
In other Peacock Programming news, Wednesday night is getting an “Extreme Makeover: Scheduling Edition” thanks to the arrival of BENT, a delightful new single cam rom-com centering around a recently divorced Alex (Amanda Peet) and her charismatic contractor Pete (David Walton) that will bow with back-to-back episodes on March 21st at 9PM. Also joining the NBC family on Wednesday’s following the season (series?) finales of WHITNEY and ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA on April 4th will be the premieres of BETTY WHITE’S OFF THEIR ROCKERS and BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. The latter of which features Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham playing old friends who reunite after the divorce of St. Clair’s character.
The TV Addict staff blogs at The TV Addict.
Playwright Beth Henley’s latest work “The Jacksonian,” debuting in its world premier in Los Angeles, is certainly Southern, but it is anything but comfortable. This 90-minute, part-David Lynch, part-Flannery O’Connor slice of Southern gothic is a reminder of the simultaneously dark and often hilarious mix of confusion, rage, and just plain eccentricity that marked Henley in her Pulitzer Prize-winning “Crimes of the Heart.”
The five-character, one-act play is set in Jackson, Miss. – the playwright’s hometown – in 1964, during the tumultuous transition era of the deep South, rife with Ku Klux Klan fighting the rising civil rights movement. Real-life husband and wife stars Ed Harris and Amy Madigan play Bill and Susan, a dentist and his social-climbing wife who blames him for her hysterectomy. He has been banished to a dreary motel room at The Jacksonian, where denizens Fred and Eva – played over the top by Bill Pullman and Glenne Headly – haunt the bar and lives of those unlucky enough to pass through what are clearly one-way doors at this flop house on the edge of town.
Holding together the narrative thread of the events that unfold is Bill and Susan’s outrageously unattractive daughter, Rosy. Her fevered, second-sight and nonlinear recollection of the crescendoing events that now define her life swirl around her rising chorus of premonitions and wails for a normal life that was never to be granted this tortured soul.
The tale of Bill’s fall from grace – both in his work as a dentist and his role as a husband and father – rolls out as a weirdly grotesque counterpoint to the seething, explosive rage suffusing the South. Ku Klux Klan riders were still part of life – the play itself is framed around a real-life story of Henley’s sister’s fifth-grade teacher, affiliated with the KKK, who was shot while wearing hot pants.
A scene in which daughter Rosy delivers a sad, miniature Christmas tree to her father’s motel room – and the two discuss whether or not it requires more lights or ornaments – is torn right out of the playwright’s own life story. Her parents divorced when she was in high school and she was herself the go-between, delivering the tiny tree to her father’s motel room.
This easy juxtaposition of the violent with the cozy is what keeps the genteel veneer of Henley’s work from being either predictable or even necessarily believable. The denouement of the narrative is as unhinged from reality as the characters are from their own lives.
Dancing around the flames of their downfall like dark shadows are Fred, the Elvis-wannabe bartender (Pullman) – complete with lambchop sideburns and slicked-back hair – and Eva, the wiley goldigger motel maid (Headly), with her frowzy rat’s nest hairdo. Each finds particularly juicy pleasure in watching the snooty Bill and Susan slide down the social scale from wealthy suburban home to their life’s finale played out in the 25-ft. radius between the hallway ice-machine and Bill’s motel room.
It is one of the particular pleasures of theater in Los Angeles that some of the screen’s top acting talents turn up to showcase their stage chops – in short-run shows such as this. This evening was directed by Robert Falls who came to L.A. from Chicago’s Goodman Theater specifically for this production which runs in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse.
After more than a decade’s worth of stunted starts and partial collapses, a cinematic adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s decorated sci-fi novel, Ender’s Game is finally ready to begin production. Cameras will start rolling on the project this month in Louisiana, with Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) directing an overall admirable cast and working from his own adapted screenplay.
The (presumably) last major casting update for Ender’s Game has been announced, revealing that lesser-knowns Stevie Ray Dallimore (Far from Heaven, The Messenger) and Andrea Powell (The Gates, the upcoming Breaking Dawn – Part 2) have been cast as the title character’s parents. Meanwhile, increasingly-popular character actor Nonso Anozie has signed for a more significant part in the film.
Anozie is a Londoner who most recently appeared onscreen aside Liam Neeson in The Grey, though he’s also played memorable minor parts in other recent titles ranging from artsy period fare (Atonement) to pulpy crime thrillers (RocknRolla) and bigger-budgeted material (Conan the Barbarian). The actor will next be returning to an ancient fantasy world setting onscreen, when he portrays Xaro Xhoan Daxos in the season two premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Deadline says that Anozie will appear in Ender’s Game as Sergeant Dap, one of the military heads who oversees the training of children at the futuristic Battle School. In accordance with the wishes of Colonel Hyram Graff (Harrison Ford), Dap does not interfere when the success of cadet Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) invokes the rage of fellow student Bonzo (Moises Arias) – an event which ultimately pushes Ender further along his dark journey towards becoming an effective strategist and cunning warrior for humankind.
Despite the stop-and-go nature of the Ender’s Game movie since the early 2000s, it may prove for the best that the film has taken this long to materialize. After all, back when David Benioff and D.B. Weiss – well before they created the Game of Thrones TV series – were working with Troy director Wolfgang Peterson on a script for the project, the tentative plan was (reportedly) for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace‘s Jake Lloyd to portray the film’s protagonist.
Jump ahead to the present and that challenging role has received a major actor upgrade in the form of Hugo‘s Butterfield, along with a supporting cast that includes Oscar-nominated (and winning) talent such as Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley, and Hailee Steinfeld. There have also been serious advances in digital filmmaking tools over the years, which will allow for a more convincing portrayal of the advanced technology in Ender’s Game. The Battle School’s zero-gravity combat simulations will likely be something to behold.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.
Another day, another Ghostbusters 3 update that will most likely get your hopes up the film will happen. Well, Dan Aykroyd gave an update on the film to Empire Online that could upset many Ghostbusters fan. In the interview, Aykroyd apparently suggested the idea of replacing Bill Murray with another actor to portray Peter Venkmen. “We communicate frequently and his position on the involvement in Ghostbusters 3 has been made clear and I respect that. The script must be perfect. We cannot release a film that is any less than that. We have more work to do,” he said.
Okay, so Aykroyd doesn’t flat out say they want to replace him should he decline, but let’s consider the possibilites. My initial thought is that it wouldn’t work, and I think most would agree. The Ghostbusters films were about wisecracks, and you would be replacing the funniest one of the four. And it would seem pointless to do another film with the idea of bringing everyone back if you can’t get most people’s favorite member of the team. Sure, Rick Moranis’ character somewhat joined the team at the end of Ghostbusters 2, but there’s no gurantee Moranis would come out of retirement. Although, Aykroyd is attempting to convince him.
When it’s all said and done, it would definitely seem like a horrible idea to recast Murray. But perhaps Aykroyd’s words were misunderstood.
Matt Keith blogs at Killer Film.
Ever since Transformers: Dark of the Moon made a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, it’s been a no-brainer that Paramount would be returning to the well for Transformers 4. However, beyond the knowledge that Transformers 4 was coming, everything else has been rumor, including whether or not Michael Bay would be returning to the director’s chair, and/or who will be starring in the film if franchise staple Shia LaBeouf is out (which he claims he is).
While we’re still waiting to hear what Transformers 4 will entail, today we at least have a much more solid idea of when the fourth chapter may be coming. Read on for details.
Coming Soon has it that Paramount is looking at a 2014 release date for Transformers 4. This would presumably be a summer 2014 release date, as the previous three installments were all released in the June or July blocks. A 2014 release date is of little surprise, since Paramount and Hasbro – the toy company that first launched the Transformers brand – are clearly working from a ‘strike while the iron is hot‘ mentality, as evidenced by the rapid-fire release dates of the Transformers movie trilogy to date:
- Transformers (2007)
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
If anything, it’s surprising that the studio is allowing an extra year of breathing room before cranking out this fourth film. Whether that time is being allotted in order to allow Bay to finish work on some of the “smaller films” he’s been itching to work on (see: Pain & Gain) is probably going to be a point of much speculation – but it could just as easily be a case of the TF3‘s continued success delaying the start of work on TF4, or the studio having a crowded summer 2013 schedule already in place. Of course, these points are not mutually exclusive, and it could be any combination of them that has TF4 on course for 2014.
Now that a deadline has been set, we can expect to see the ball get rolling on the film fairly soon. So, questions like ‘Is Bay coming back?’ ‘Will TF4 and TF5 shoot back-to-back?’ ‘Is Jason Statham really going to star?’ ‘Will it take place somewhere other than Earth?’ etc., will start to get answered sooner, rather than later.
Ben Kendrick blogs at Screen Rant.
Over the weekend, Screen Rant participated in a special (and surreal) event for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in honest Abe’s hometown of Springfield, IL. While there, we visited the 16th president’s tomb, climbed into the ordinarily restricted (and highly creepy) areas just above the grave-site’s of Lincoln’s wife Mary and three of their sons, took a midnight tour of the presidential library, were granted a peak into his highly-guarded vault and screened several minutes of footage from the film.
We will have an early look at the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter trailer, a “making of” featurette, video interview with director Timur Bekambetov and star Benjamin Walker, excerpts from our Q&A with Bekmambetov, Seth Grahame-Smith (Writer/Author), Walker and Jim Lemley (Producer) and a more detailed accounting of the event very soon.
In the interim, we invite you to imagine what a sequel to this seemingly one-off actioner would look like. Novelist and co-screenwriter Grahame-Smith has notably compared his re-imaging of our 16th President’s history to that of a Superhero origin tale. Origin stories, by their nature, however, offer a vision of the hero-in-question’s beginnings, but they do not offer an end. When Grahame-Smith was asked if this film would leave room for a continued exploration of the imagined world he answered thusly:
“The short answer is yes, absolutely. If you read the book there’s an epilogue that leaves things open to that. In the film, without giving anything away, we don’t definitively end the origin story. We leave, not only a mentor story, but also possibly a Lincoln story open.”
Yet, we all know the facts of Lincoln’s tragic end. So in what manner would this version of his life continue? At different points in the evening, the filmmakers asserted that there were several possibilities for a franchise.
Producer Jim Lemley followed up on Grahame-Smith’s answer by saying:
“This is a struggle that was going on before Lincoln punctuated it, but it’s probably going on now.”
So perhaps we will see a sequel that takes the characters that are established in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and brings them into our present time? The author and director each stressed that this film bridges three worlds: the historical world, the fantasy world and our contemporary world. Now, that may not (and likely does not) indicate that our present day will be seen in this film. Indeed it likely means that the movie is aesthetically modern in its effects as well as visual palette – and, as Bekambetov reflected, an awareness that they are making the film “for a young audience.” But there did seem to be an intent for us to understand that this was not a story that necessarily concludes with the credits.
Indeed, as Bekambetov asserts, when you engage in fantastically revisionist history all the rules change:
“The scary thing is that they can convert you. This is the scariest thing. Because we know that Lincoln was killed in the theater, but the whole movie you are afraid that they will bite him and we don’t know who was killed in that theater, and how…”
Based on the filmmakers statements we must ask: Will we see some version of The Devil’s Double in the time of the civil war? And will Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 2 ultimately be: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire?
Roth Cornet blogs at Screen Rant.
Given the difficult circumstances The Walking Dead survivors found themselves in at the end of the midseason finale, the return episode -titled ‘Nebraska’ – really had no choice but to pick up immediately following Rick’s decision to shoot Sophia. That being the case, the majority of the episode works as a direct extension of ‘Pretty Much Dead Already’ – which, as expected, works out to be an exercise in guilt, grief and for some, the realization that believing in hope is tantamount to standing idly by.
Although there are plenty of lingering plot points and character threads the episode could have chosen to cover, ‘Nebraska’ steers clear of hurrying along the storyline for the sake of getting things moving, but the episode feels dutiful and filled with a purpose, nonetheless.
Now that the search for Sophia (Madison Lintz) is over, so too is the sense that there is something to wait for. So now, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Shane (Jon Bernthal) and the rest of The Walking Dead’s core survivors can busy themselves with the task at hand. Largely, that means cleaning up the walkers which had been stumbling around Hershel’s barn. But perhaps more importantly, it means beginning a period of mourning for not only Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride), but also Hershel and his daughters, who had been holding out belief their loved ones weren’t actually dead.
‘Nebraska’ balances the need to grieve with the call to action nicely – even though much of the action consists of digging graves and burning bodies. And while those tasks don’t necessarily get one’s heart pumping, they do fall into that bizarrely fascinating topic of unpleasant responsibilities the end of the world brings about. As Andrea (Laurie Holden), T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and Shane busy themselves, there is the feeling of forward progression that was lacking in the first half of the season.
But really, given the undercurrent of distrust and hostility between Rick and Shane, and Dale’s (Jeffrey DeMunn) increasing belief that Shane is a danger to everyone, the characters are likely grateful for the distraction. Moreover, since no time has passed between the events of the midseason finale and now, it’s a decent enough excuse to keep all the characters from standing around wondering: What do we do now?
There are a few characters given the opportunity to ponder what the next move will be, though, namely (and perhaps obviously) Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who have something to lose with the very real prospect of Glenn’s group leaving the farm. Maggie’s straightforwardness concerning the issue of Glenn remaining with her, as well as her admitting she has feelings for him works well against Glenn’s less assertive personality. Although the young couple’s moment is interrupted by Beth (Emily Kinney) falling ill, it does lead to a rather nice moment between Glenn and Rick that gives the group’s defacto leader yet another hat to wear – one suggesting Rick take the role of father figure for more than just Carl.
Showing how easily he slips into the role, Rick deals with Glenn’s confession concerning knowledge of Lori’s pregnancy and her attempt to terminate it by simply saying, “You did what you thought was right. It just so happens it wasn’t.”
With that, the episode slowly turns its attention to Rick, who has to deal with the burden of his inability to save Sophia and the a growing concern that his inefficacy as a leader has resulted in the unpleasant situation at hand. Perhaps Rick’s feelings are rooted in his conflict with Shane, or the loss of Sophia, but most likely, Rick’s doubt may come from the fact that whatever course of action he takes (alone or otherwise) is immediately followed up with someone telling him he’s made the wrong decision.
Case in point: after learning that Hershel has left the farm to get plowed at the local bar, Rick’s first instinct is to retrieve him. Unfortunately, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) sees this as another opportunity for Rick to die, and immediately calls his decision making skills into question – citing Carl’s acceptance of Rick’s judgment to shoot Sophia as evidence. Apparently, a young boy being realistic is cause for more concern than recovering the only person with medical experience, but that seems to be Lori’s role, as of late; hopefully it will change now that she’s found herself in a potentially deadly situation.
It seems like yet another unnecessary spousal spat, but it actually works to give more weight to Rick’s split-second decision at the end of the episode; mainly providing evidence that, more often than not, Rick’s instincts are right on the money.
Speaking of which, after Hershel finally turns his back on a nasty case of cirrhosis, he, Rick and Glenn are introduced to a couple of strangers. These men, Dave (Michael Raymond-James, Terriers, True Blood) and his associate Tony, bring with them the requisite sense of foreboding and menace often associated with strangers in such post-apocalyptic settings. Naturally, as Dave’s seemingly casual talk shifts to requests that he and his publicly urinating friend join the trio at wherever it is they call home, the menace suddenly comes from both sides of the discussion, and begins to feel rather pressing.
Although they make no attempt at overt aggression, Rick sniffs them out immediately; he knows there is something off about these two. The scene plays out as one of the most tense to ever be shown by The Walking Dead, as the threat comes from a source other than the titular zombies, and because the writing in everyone’s dialogue – especially that of Rick and Dave – comes with an implication of pending violence. Once it does erupt, the violence is quick and brutal, and shows that Rick (and the show as a whole) is ready to spring into action.
This encounter becomes a portent of conflict to come, and may finally put The Walking Dead where it needs to be: in a world that is rife with danger, which doesn’t necessarily come from the threat of the undead.
Largely because of the ending, ‘Nebraska’ comes off as a positive sign for the remaining episodes of season 2. More importantly, the episode is certainly suggesting that the waiting game is over, and the time for action is now.
Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.
It seems like it’s almost a rite of passage for new leading men to have to do a film opposite Denzel Washington. From Ethan Hawke in Training Day to Clive Owen in Inside Man to Chris Pine in Unstoppable - if you’re the new guy with your name headlining the marquee, your journey will at some point include a stop at Washington station.
Below you’ll find an official synopsis for Safe House, which features Washington and Reynolds as two spies on the run:
For the past year, Matt Weston (Reynolds) has been frustrated by his inactive, backwater post in Cape Town. A CIA “housekeeper” who aspires to be a full-fledged agent, the loyal company man has been waiting for an opportunity to prove himself. When the first and only occupant he’s had proves to be the most dangerous man he’s ever met, Weston readies for duty.
Tobin Frost (Washington) has eluded capture for almost a decade. One of the best ops men that the CIA’s known, the ex-intelligence officer has given up assets and sold military intel to anyone with cash since he turned. From trading secrets to North Korea to aiding splinter cells, the damage he’s done to the U.S. is immeasurable. And he’s now back on the reservation with a secret.
As soon as Frost is brought in for debriefing, mercenaries come and tear apart Weston’s safe house. Barely escaping, the unlikely partners must discover if their attackers have been sent by terrorists or someone on the inside who will kill anyone standing in the way. Now it’s up to Weston to figure out who he can trust before they’re both eliminated from the game.
Now that you know that we’re in for a mix of tense action, twisted espionage and plenty of psychodrama, see how well (or not) it all comes together in the trailer for Safe House:
Swedish director Daniel Espinosa (don’t let the name throw you) was responsible for the relatively well-received crime drama Snabba Cash (“Easy Money”) and here it looks like his style is somewhat in line with that of frequent Denzel collaborator Tony Scott (Man on Fire, Unstoppable, Deja Vu). On the other hand the script writer, David Guggenheim, is still relatively untested: his resume boasts just Safe House and the upcoming Nic Cage thriller Medallion as his only film writing credits. So take that how you will.
Still, the combination of Reynolds and Washington is a strong one, and is particularly suited to a movie that will mix action and witty banter. Not to mention, both actors can be pretty intense when it’s called for, so seeing these two leading men trade sparks should be a pretty good time. The supporting cast is also strong, as it includes Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Vera Farmiga, Robert Patrick, Liam Cunningham and The Killing star, Joel Kinnaman.
Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.
As soon as the credits started to roll, I thought to myself ‘That was a surprisingly good film’, going into Safe House I didn’t expect it to be good. I expected it would be a decent and fun affair; a good way to pass the afternoon, as it turned out it was a lot more than that.
The film is about one of the CIA’s most wanted men, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), he seems to have acquired something that some very bad men want. Being on the run and seeing he has no other choice, he walks into the South African US embassy. The CIA aren’t taking this lightly, and send him off for interrogation at a ‘safe house’, one looked after by Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). Before long, the place gets raided and Weston steps up to the plate in order to do the right thing and get Frost out of there. The pair are on the run, there is no trust between the men and what Frost is holding is of high value. A cat and mouse game follows …
Safe House is an action/thriller, it is fast paced for the most part and it certainly contains a level of seriousness that I didn’t expect. It has some crazy action but they definitely tried something different with it, and instead of having people be invincible to bullets and punches, people got hurt and the action was delivered in a little more of a realistic way than we’re used to. While some of the twists you might see coming, the action aspect isn’t at all predictable and some of it is a little shocking. Some if the set pieces are really well handled, and the chase scenes are nicely done.
On the other side of the fence, this was a pretty decently acted film. Denzel always delivers, he is great here, he’s a mysterious character and he never over sells it. Everything we need to know about him is established, and he plays it spot on. The biggest surprise though was Ryan Reynolds, he’s always been an actor that I do like but I can’t take him seriously. He’s usually the comedic guy, and even in something a little serious, there is always some kind of humor there. But this was all gone in Safe House, this was serious Reynolds and I gotta say the dude has the chops! He was really good, he played it straight, and he gave us a sympathetic and engrossing character. Side plays like Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson are fine, they come in and do their thing. Run of the mill roles, but they filled them just fine.
Safe House on paper isn’t really anything new, the story has been told before. But it has been told in a solid and fresh way here, it is an enjoyable and entertaining film, and much better than I had expected. It strengths shine through, and its weaker parts are apparent but they don’t ruin anything. It perhaps could have been a little tighter with pacing, but they got it right where it counted. A solid directorial effort by Daniel Espinosa, and a decent script by David Guggenheim.
Marcella Papandrea blogs at Killer Film.
There’s been some confusion surrounding The Bourne Legacy, which is neither a direct continuation of the storyline from previous Bourne movies, nor a reboot of the franchise. Instead, it’s a semi-spinoff that revolves around a different “programmed” Treadstone assassin – as played by Hawkeye from The Avengers (a.k.a. Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner).
Bourne film series screenwriter Tony Gilroy is juggling both writing and directing duties on Bourne Legacy. His involvement with the new chapter in this popular action-thriller franchise – combined with the film’s respectable cast (more on that in a moment) – was enough to land this not-a-reboot installment a spot on our Most Anticipated Movies of 2012 list.
Renner stars in Bourne Legacy as “Aaron Cross,” a new highly-lethal government spook “whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films.” In other words, history ends up repeating itself in the aftermath of The Bourne Ultimatum, once Cross goes rogue – forcing government agents like Pam Landy (Joan Allen) and Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) to track him down, by whatever means necessary.
In addition to returning Bourne universe players like Allen, Strathairn, and Albert Finney, the Bourne Legacy cast also includes decorated stars such as Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz (not to be confused with Gina Carano), along with Oscar Isaac (Drive) and Stacy Keach (Prison Break) in supporting roles. As you will see in the Bourne Legacy teaser, though, this is first and foremost Renner‘s chance to show off more of his action star chops.
Check out the official teaser trailer for The Bourne Legacy, below:
Based on this early footage, Gilroy has traded in the frantic shaky cam and kinetic editing that director Paul Greengrass favored in Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum, in favor of the steadier, but still exhilarating approach of Doug Liman in Bourne Identity. For those who were never big fans of Greengrass‘ style, the news that they’ll actually be able to see what Renner is doing during Bourne Legacy‘s action sequences should be most welcome.
If there’s one potential note of concern to take away from this otherwise promising teaser, it’s that Bourne Legacy could suffer a bit from retconning. That is, Cross is being setup as a much more “stable” and effective killer than even Jason Bourne… and yet, throughout the previous films, there was always the implication that Bourne was far and away the deadliest operative produced by Treadstone. Not that this will detract from Bourne Legacy‘s quality as a standalone story, but still…
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.