The Jennifer Lawrence Trailer Hour: The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 and Serena

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Jennifer Lawrence is everywhere, and deservedly so. In just a few short years, the oscar winner has proven time and time again to be one of the most versatile, likable, and soulful thespians working today. As such, trailers for two of her upcoming films have arrived at around the same time, and since I’m a lazy ass and have opted to talk about both of these late, I’ve decided to lump them, so without further ado, here we go. Let’s start with the one everyone knows.

I have been complaining about the marketing for this movie since it started. The posters have been lazy, and the first trailer was rushed, and haphazard. However, I have not been mad out of malice, quite the opposite in fact. I have enjoyed both of the Hunger Games films very much, especially Catching Fire ( a remarkable feat considering that I hated that book), and have been stoked to see what returning director Francis Lawrence is bringing us this time around, and now we finally get to see it. As expected, it looks very impressive. What stands out most so far is the sheer scale. Lawrence did a fantastic job of replicating  and improving the formula of the first film last time around, but here, in a story that gives him more room to play, he really seems to be shining. The action is beautifully photographed (particularly the last shot where Katniss sinks that arrow into the hovercraft) and the production design is top notch. Beyond that, this looks to be a very emotionally fueled film, with fantastic performances from not only Lawrence, but also all of her fine compatriots including Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and series newcomer Julianne Moore. This series shows just how great young adult fiction can be, and I can’t wait to see this one on November 21st.

Moving on…

Silver Linings Playbook is my second favorite film of all time. As such, any reunion between Lawrence and her co-star Bradley Cooper has some pretty lofty expectations to get over as far as I’m concerned. With that said, this certainly seems interesting. It takes place in North Carolina in the early 20th century. George Pimberton (Cooper) is the head of a timber empire with his wife Serena (Lawrence) helping him call the shots. When it is revealed that she cannot have children, their marriage, and their lives as a whole start to come into question. While some of the acting certainly seems a bit stagey, the chemistry between Cooper and Lawrence is still off the charts, and the themes of the story certainly stand a chance of evolving into a great film. It is slightly worrying that the film (which has been in production since 2012) has not yet picked up an American distributor even with two major stars, but hopefully when the film premiers in London next month, that won’t be an issue anymore.

Tom Hiddleston Takes a Trip to ‘Skull Island’ with Jordan Vought-Roberts

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Progress on Legendary Pictures’ new version of King Kong, entitled Skull Island has been fairly quiet since it’s announcement at comic con. ‘Attack the Block’ writer director Joe Cornish was apparently courted, but those talks seemed to have devolved, as it has now been officially announced that Jordan Vought-Roberts, who headed up the fairly successful indie ‘The Kings of Summer  in 2013 will direct, and Tom Hiddleston, best known for his role as Loki in the Marvel Universe will star.

I’ve always been excited at the prospect of this project. Personally, I think that Peter Jackson’s 2005 version of King Kong could have been a whole lot better, and this, which seems to be a different take centering mostly on the creatures King Kong interacts with could definitely work. Roberts certainly is an interesting  choice to direct, and is certainly indicative of the direction that Universal and Legendary have been going in lately, hiring filmmakers known for smaller work, mainly  Gareth Evans (Monsters) and Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) for Godzilla and Jurassic World respectively. It seems to have worked out well in both cases, and certainly must be exiting for Roberts.

This could also be a great vehicle for Hiddleston. While he has certainly evolved into a household name because of Loki, he seems to have had some trouble finding memorable roles outside of that. Perhaps he’ll play the Carl Denham esque role, arrogantly leading his counterparts into the hellish island. Personally, I was hoping that this film would have little to no human element, as the extraneous sequences needed to develop the film crew really bogged down the 2005 version (an hour on the boat, really?). However, with Hiddleston’s endless charm, he will definitely keep things watchable.  Hell, as long as Aaron Taylor Johnson isn’t the lead this time, I’m all good.

Lopez Sinks Even Lower in The ‘Boy Next Door’ Trailer

With No Good Deed opening up this friday, It’s time to switch out the obligatory trailer for a generic domestic thriller that plays at every single movie, and man do we have a lame one in the pipeline with ‘The Boy Next Door’. The story centers on Jennifer Lopez (who seems to be intentionally staring in terrible movies at this point) who plays a heartbroken suburban mother and teacher who’s husband recently cheated on her. She comes across a young man named Noah living next door, and strikes up an affair with him. After coming to her senses and rejecting any further doing of the nasty, the boy (who also just so happens to be in her class) goes insane and tires to destroy her life. You might say that he’s a little ‘Obsessed’ with this ‘Fatal Attraction’

There isn’t a moment of this trailer that isn’t unintentionally hilarious, derailing right off the bat with Kristin Chenoweth’s obnoxious voice supposedly setting the ominous mood over shots of J Lo running in stressed panic. Seriously, has Chenoweth even seen an R rated movie before? Why is she here? Anyway, it only gets more and more cheesy as it goes on, with Noah making weirdly obvious sexual innuendoes in front of Lopez’s whole family, particularly one moment when Lopez’s husband and son describe how dry it was at the lake they were vacationing at, and Noah looks at J Lo and says “well it got pretty wet here!” heh..heh…get it…because, like, her vagina ;). It dosen’t look scary, intense, or even a little sexy. It’s just a typical plastic, generic film that is destined to play on Cinemax at one in the morning until the day we all die. I suppose it’s a pretty typical film for crap master Rob Cohen (Alex Cross, Stealth) though. Hopefully I don’t have to see this trailer too many times before this thing gets dumped in January where it belongs.

The Boy Next Door Opens January 23rd

Sean Harris Might Be Our Mission Impossible 5 Villain

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With Mission Impossible 5 now well into filming, it seems crazy that they hadn’t cast their primary antagonist yet. In fact, most information about ‘Jack Reacher’ director Christopher McQuarrie’s addition to the franchise has been kept pretty close to the chest. However, it seems as though that curtain might be starting to lift ever so slightly, as it seems that Sean Harris, previously seen in ‘Prometheus’,  and ‘The Borgias’ will be stepping into the role of the main baddie.

Initially, I was not thrilled with this pick. At first, all I recognized him from was ‘Prometheus’, in which he played a fairly generic, and pretty damn stupid character. However, I was very surpassed to learn that he was in fact the same actor who portrayed Santino, the primary antagonist in the heavily underrated ‘Deliver Us from Evil’. Harris was genuinely scary, and utterly believable in the role of a man who’s possession breaks down his entire body and mind, his turn being one of the better ‘infected by a demon’ ones I’ve seen in quite some time. Personally, I hope this character carries into a more sinister, grounded tone that MaQuarrie has certainly been proven capable of before.  He certainly has enough intensity to make this role work, and his relative unknown status may make him blend into the universe more. That may change soon though, as he’s becoming fairly prolific, with roles in the upcoming Bradley Cooper/Jennifer Lawrence period drama ‘Serena’, and the Michael Fassbender lead version of Macbeth on the horizon. We’ll see.

Mission Impossible 5 opens on December 25th 2015.

Second Horrible Bosses 2 Trailer Fills All The Comedy Qualifications

I absolutely loved the first Horrible Bosses. Sure, they definitely mined The Hangover template a little with it’s group of three dysfunctional leads, but it also had an infectious charm, and sharp wit thanks mostly to it’s incredibly talented cast. Now, we have the sequel, and while most comedy franchises definitely falter the second time out, ‘Horrible Bosses 2′ actually looks like it just might top the original.

This time around, our three lovable sociopaths played by Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis take up kidnapping after an investment with two potential partners played by Chris Pine, and Christoph Waltz (as father and son…you figure that one out) screw them over. Not only is this premise enough of a departure from the original to keep things fun, but the chemistry between all of the actors has not even remotely step out of line. Just in this trailer alone, there are 2-3 fact paced interactions of hyper-speed banter that are just uproarious. I can’t say for certain yet if it’ll be good, but now I’m certainly not worried.

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‘Mama’ Director To Stand In The ‘Shadow of the Colossus’

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It’s a real wonder that there has not been a Shadow of a Colossus movie yet. It seems that with the popularity of films with giant CGI monsters, particularly in the midst of the recent Kaiju films ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Pacific Rim’, the property would be a prime opportunity to take advantage of the most extravagant parts of the genre. Well, it seems as though that dream is about to become a reality, as the long in-development film adaptation secured a new director today in Andy Muschietti, who previously helmed ‘Mama’ and was recently booted off of Universal’s reboot of ‘The Mummy.’ Muschietti replaces Chronicle director Josh Trank on the project, who seems to be a little busy with his ‘Fantastic Four’ and ‘Star Wars’ films.

It definitely seems like video game movies are about to go through a renaissance of sorts, and this could very well fit right in with the promising adaptations of Assassins Creed, Warcraft, and Uncharted. As far as this choice goes, it seems like a match made in heaven. While I haven’t seen ‘Mama’ myself, it certainly seemed like a film steeped in atmosphere, with lots of gothic production design, and his vision for the mummy was apparently heavily entrenched in the horror roots of the original franchise. Such a sensibility would be so great for this game, which uses a great deal of ambient sound, music, and visual splendor to tell it’s story.  Muschietti could play up the horror elements of the story, while still settling into the massive action sequences that the game (which puts it’s main character against a series of puzzle like giant monsters) requires.

‘Shazam’ Will Defy DC Conventions

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It’s official, I am now more excited for ‘Shazam’ than ‘Batman Vs Superman’…how sad is that? As it turns out, the film (which just cast Dwayne Johnson as the film’s bad guy, Black Adam) is actually not being developed by Warner Bros, but by New Line. This means that the movie will actually not take place within the already established DC universe, and as such, does not have to abide by the tone that has been set by those films. In other words…it can be fun. When asked about the film by Entertainment Weekly, studio executive Toby Emmerich had this to say.

“It feels to me like Shazam will have a tone unto itself. It’s a DC comic, but it’s not a Justice League character, and it’s not a Marvel comic. The tone and the feeling of the movie will be different from the other range of comic book movies. [Shazam] will have a sense of fun and a sense of humor. But the stakes have to be real. … Black Adam is a complex character. The villain in superhero movies is often, I think, what makes the movie. And I thought Dwayne’s take on the character, and the way that he saw Black Adam, was really compelling and fun.”

This sounds like everything that I want to see in a DC property, especially one as goofy as this one. Seriously, it’s a film about two God amalgamations from different cultures duking it out! There is absolutely no way that this film could have the reflexive, dark, introspective, tone of the films in the regular universe. Now that it takes place outside of that, the filmmakers now have the freedom to do what they want, and make this a truly unique affair, and now with the official casting of Johnson as Black Adam, subverting his good guy persona, I’m confident that they will achieve just that.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Continues To Phone In It’s Marketing With New Poster

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Let’s face it, you’re going to see the new Hunger Games film, and odds are, you’re already excited. I know I certainly am, especially after how fantastic Catching Fire turned out to be. With that said, I really do not understand the absolutely bone-headed marketing campaign that Lionsgate has put on for the latest film in their flagship franchise. So far, they spent a couple days hiding the first trailer for the film on Samsung phones, and then, when we finally did get a trailer, it showed practically nothing. Less than a minute of contextless footage just randomly jumping around the screen.

With that said, there’s plenty of time to rectify this. After all, fellow young adult adaptation ‘The Maze Runner’ is on the way, and that would be prime time to release a new, hopefully better trailer.  With that said, we now have this poster to hold us over. And…it’s Katniss’ back, that’s it. How lazy can this studio possibly be? I understand the confidence level in this film’s performance is off that charts, but that doesn’t mean that they should be hiding it until the last minute. Especially considering that this is the beginning of the end for this series, why not make this look like the biggest, and best film thus far? Oh well…hopefully that effort will get started soon. For now, I give you…Katniss’ back.

Update: The Facebook page seems to indicate that the trailer will be released on September 10th

Margot Robbie Getting Into The Action Game With ‘Ghost In The Shell’

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Margot Robbie’s rise to stardom has been nothing short of meteoric. Following her dynamic, and sexy turn in ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’, roles have seemly fallen out of thin air for the Australian actress. Following her upcoming gigs in Z For Zachariah, and Tarzan, Robbie will seemingly take the character of Motoko Kusanagi in Rupert Sanders’ (Snow White and the Huntsman) adaptation of the popular manga/anime Ghost in the Shell. In the film, Kusanagi (who’s name will inevitably be changed to something like Smith or Johnson for us white audiences) will be enlisted to track down a hacker called the Puppeteer, who has the ability to hack into brain implants that connect the citizens of this world into a mega network. Sounds pretty damn cool if you ask me.

Robbie’s casting is certainly an encouraging sign that this film is headed in the right direction. She’s certainly becoming well known, but she’s not a big name just yet, and that sense of mystery will aid her as she transforms into this bad-ass character. It’s certainly going to be interesting to watch her stretch out of her character in ‘Wolf’, and I’m sure she’ll do a fantastic job, as she already gave what could have been a purely shallow character a lot more dimension in that film. Beyond that, the story just sounds awesome, and very much within Sanders’ wheelhouse as a primarily stylistic director. In a time when female action stars seem to be all the rage, this seems like a very welcome addition that could take some pretty off the wall source material and make it accessible for a whole new audience. Let’s just hope that they can manage to market it better than Edge of Tomorrow.

Dwayne Johnson Is Officially Playing Black Adam in ‘Shazam’ Adaptation

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While it has been known for a while now that Dwayne Johnson was going to be bringing his electric talents and people’s elbow into the DC fold for a Shazam adaptation, it has been unclear which character in that film he will portray. Well, that question has now definitively been answered. Johnson confirmed today on his twitter that he will be stepping into the role of Black Adam, the film’s primary antagonist. While we do not yet know who will be playing the titular hero, who can transform himself into a hero with the powers of 6 greek gods by saying the work Shazam, it was also confirmed today that  Goosebumps and Turbo writer Darren Lemke will be penning the screenplay.

This is a massive pawn in favor of DC in more ways than one. Firstly, a character with such an extravagant name, and set of powers could set a precedent for DC movies that perhaps don’t take themselves so damn seriously (especially considering the writer). Black Adam essentially has similar powers to his arch nemesis, but they stem from Egyptian gods, and he’s actually not a straight bad guy, he’s an anti-hero of sorts out to clear his name. With that in mind, we’re essentially going to be watching two meat headed mirror images of each other duke it out with godly powers, sounds like a wrestling match. Hmmm…this casting is starting to make sense now huh? If there’s anyone who can sell this type of stuff, it’s Johnson, who has proven to be a more than capable actor in these campy genre movies, along with an obviously imposing physical presence. It’s also definitely fun to see him step into a villain role, something that to my knowledge he hasn’t really attempted before, although for my money, they’re going to have to cast someone extremely likable to make me root against him.

Shazam does not have an official release date yet, but I would expect it to be one of the first films of DC’s upcoming slate.