Watch: Philip Seymour Hoffman is A Most Wanted Man

Poster, movie, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams,  A Most Wanted Man

Poster for A Most Wanted Man

Much like the late, great James Gandolfini, we will still have a few more chances to catch the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman on screen. Aside from what has been promised to be a CGI-enhanced continuation as Plutarch Heavensbee in the final two Hunger Games movies (Mockinjay – part 1 and part 2), there is the film version of John LeCarré’s A Most Wanted Man.

The film is based on a novel by John Le Carré with a screenplay by Andrew Bovell (Edge of Darkness, Lantana, the latter based on his own play) and directed by Anton Corbijn, the man responsible for Control and more importantly, a quiet, moody thriller called The American (with George Clooney).

When a half-Chechen, half-Russian, brutally tortured immigrant turns up in Hamburg’s Islamic community, laying claim to his father’s ill gotten fortune, both German and US security agencies take a close interest: as the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish this most wanted man’s true identity – oppressed victim or destruction-bent extremist? Based on John le Carré’s novel, A MOST WANTED MAN is a contemporary, cerebral tale of intrigue, love, rivalry, and politics that prickles with tension right through to its last heart-stopping scene.

Newly released UK trailer is the same approximate length as the domestic version, but events are arranged in slightly different ways, giving us a different angle on the action.

Int’l version :

Domestic version:

A Most Wanted Man bowed at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in January, prior to Hoffman’s death. His performance, as usual , earned rave reviews, but the movie itself was given a lukewarm reception. Now, it almost doesn’t matter.

While the supporting cast is exceptional, including Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Daniel Brühl, and Willem Dafoe. Hoffman, is, of course, being called “brilliant”, giving a performance already earning Oscar buzz and it is his presence that will get people to the theaters to see it.

A Most Wanted Man opens in the US in limited release (grrrrr) on July 25 and in the UK on 5 SeptemberIn any case, whether we see the film on the big screen or at home via VOD, it is going to remind us all of just what we’ve lost. JMHO

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Dynamo vs Victory: A Cinematic Soccer Shoot-Out in the Works?

Gerard Butler, Soccer Aid, UNICEF, movie, photo, Dynamo, Victory

Soccer Aid 2012 for UNICEF where England vs The Rest of the World

My apologies for calling it soccer, but not for nothin’, if Dynamo is still a go (hey, that rhymed!), then they’d probably better get on it.
Way back in October of 2012, it was announced that Gerard Butler was set to star in Dynamo, based on the true story of a football (soccer) game that took place between an occupied Ukrainian soccer team and their Nazi captors during World War II. Butler would play Nikolai Trusevich, the all-star goalie who served as a cornerstone and leader for his team, and ultimately inspired the entire battered city of Kiev, Ukraine.

To stem a rising tide of resistance and establish Aryan superiority, the Nazi’s set up a match pitting the starving Ukrainians against a ‘super team’ of German players that to this day is still known as “The Death Match”.

Dynamo is based on the novel “Dynamo: Defending The Honour Of Kiev” by Andy Dougan, with a screenplay by Eli Richbourg. A director had never been announced  (given Richbourg’s long association as asst. director to Joel Schumacher, I have to wonder if the latter isn’t or wasn’t in the mix), but Riviera Pictures, Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo., and Jeremy Garelick were already in place to produce, along with Pathé, which would distribute the film worldwide. That was a lot of the requisite puzzle pieces in place…and then nothing. It was supposed to shoot in Europe in 2013. Obviously, that did not happen.  In December 2012 and early January 2013, during promotion for Playing for Keeps, Butler was still talking about Dynamo, although he did make it sound like it would film in the distant future. After all, he’d just made his second film as a soccer player (after 2005’s Miracle Match aka The Game of Their Lives).

So, what’s the story? Has the future come and gone as well? I have no answers.
Some months ago there was talk that director Doug Liman was interested in remaking John Huston’s 1981 film, Victory, which starred Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and Pelé. It is also based on Trusevich’s story, although is not a faithful adaptation. Now, thanks to the Hollywood Reporter, we have confirmation that Gavin O’Connor, writer/director of Warrior, is writing the script. Producers attached are Bernie Goldmann and Gianni Nunnari as well as Warner Brothers exec.’s Jon Berg and Racheline Benveniste.

Liman’s back on the action-adventure A-list after Edge of Tomorrow (okay, few – in the US – have seen it, but the reviews have been stellar) so this could get fast tracked, especially if the suddenly omnipresent Tom Hardy is truly attached to star.

It could be down to World Cup Mania, but this is not the first time, by any stretch, that there have been two, or more, films in development that revolve around the same subject matter. Of course, sports of all varieties are good film fodder, especially when you tack on a good human-interest angle.
Just on paper, there are a lot of things to recommend either one of these projects, but all things being equal, the first one off the starting block will probably fare better than any others. This is something to which Gerard Butler can certainly attest, given the fact that Olympus Has Fallen is getting a sequel, while White House Down will become a minor blip on Channing Tatum’s resume.
I have not heard that Dynamo is a no-go, so does that mean it’s still in the works? Having already seen Victory, which I enjoyed, I’d like to see a version of the real story. As of this moment, it’s still a “50/50 ball”*, but it won’t be for long. A red card could be looming.

Your thoughts? Which film piques your interest: Dynamo? Victory? None of the above?

 

*50/50 ball – Just what it sounds like. A loose ball as near to one team as it is to the opposing team, allowing both an equal chance of controlling it.

It’s Summer, Let’s Get Silly with Sly! Watch the Expendables 3 Trailer!

Expendables 3, movie, Sylvester Stallone,  poster

First, let’s all agree that The Expendables was much more fun than it had any right to be. So naturally, that begot Expendables 2, because if it’s good, more is better, right? Well, no not necessarily. But the sequel was mindless fun to munch popcorn by, and the producers are smart enough to release this nonsense in the “Dog Days” of August when we’re all so beaten down by the heat (and we’ve seen everything else), that it doesn’t matter as long as the theater is air-conditioned.
In that vein, and because both 1 and 2 made stacks of cash, Sylvester Stallone and company are back for “one last ride” in Expendables 3. (Yeah right. We’ll see how much this one makes before we believe it’s the “last”.) They do have a few things going for them with this installment, not the least of which is a script by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedickt, the duo responsible for Olympus Has Fallen (and its in-pre-production sequel, London Has Fallen). So…yeah, there’s that.
This time around Stallone and Jason Statham, along with three-peaters Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (sort of – he was ‘uncredited’ in the first one), drag along Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, Kellan Lutz, Wesley Snipes, Robert Davi, MMA fighter Ronda Rousey (making her film debut), welter-weight boxing champ Victor Ortiz (making HIS) and…Kelsey Grammer. Wait…what? I enjoy Gibson’s level of crazy (at least on screen where it belongs – he’s getting help for the rest of it) and lords knows Snipes needs the money, but…hmmm…one of these things is not like the other…
Oh well. Peep this short teaser, with its electrified version of “The Colonel Bogey March”:

Still here? Check out this one set to Billy Squire’s “The Stroke” (Bit of trivia: I didn’t think it was actually Billy Squire. I thought it was probably a cover by a Warrant-wanna be or something, but it is in fact an unreleased remix of the song by Squire. Phew!):

Finally, we get a full-length trailer:

Okay, okay, UNCLE! I give. The big screen has suffered from a decided lack of The Stath and his manly muscled head of late and this just looks too silly to pass up. So, I’m in. For a matinee. But then I’m done. Seriously…

The final game begins 14 August in the UK and August 15 in the  US.

Two, Two, Two Geezers in One! Tom Hardy Films Legend

Ronnie Kray, Frances Shea, Reggie Kray, photo, Legend

Ronnie Kray, Frances Shea, Reggie Kray at the 1965 wedding of Frances and Reggie

British actor extraordinaire, Tom Hardy has already played a number of diverse characters including  Robert Dudley to Anne-Marie Duff’s Queen Elizabeth,  Heathcliff to (future fiance) Charlotte Riley‘s Cathy, incarcerated hardman/mad man Charlie Bronson, and of course arch-villain Bane, to name but a few.  He’s already set to add Sir Elton John to that list in the upcoming Rocket Man.  But first, he’ll add not one, but two O.G.’s (original geezers) to his resume.

Filming began this week on writer/director Brian Helgeland‘s Legend in which Hardy plays both Reggie and Ronnie Kray, the sadistic twins who ran a murder and protection racket in London during the 50s and 60’s (that probably gave Whitey Bulger something to aspire to) and palled around with socialites, MPs and entertainers. Their exploits were nearly single-handedly (double handedly?) responsible for the creation of the British tabloid  industry.  (So don’t confuse it with the 1985 Tom Cruise fantasy. There be no unicorns here.)

We got the first images from the set in London via the Daily Mail. Smartly, STUDIO CANAL/Working Title decided to follow that up with  an official image.  Brilliant move.

Tom Hardy, Reggie Kray, Ronnie Kray, Legend, movie, still

photo credit: Greg Williams/STUDIOCANAL

It’s obvious though that the appetite for news of  this film has just barely been whetted, probably all due to the fact that Hardy is one of a triumvirate of current British “IT” Boys (that also includes Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch) and this film’s stunt casting. Not only have the paparazzi been staked out at most of the London shooting locations, but news agencies all over the world have published the photos as if this were real news.

Seen below are Hardy as Reggie Kray filming scenes with bride Emily Browning as his ill-fated first wife, Frances Shea, as well as some shots of Hardy, as twin Ronnie, in which he appears to have prosthetic jowls. (Actually some are Hardy and some are his stand-in. Can you tell the difference?)

The storyline is simple,

Identical twin gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray terrorize London during the 1950s and 1960s.

but little is known about the actual plot of the movie, although a little more of the cast has been revealed. The cast also features David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Chazz Palminteri and Tara Fitzgerald.

I’m curious who will be/has been cast as the twins’ mother, Violet. The thing about the Krays was, despite their reputations for some truly depraved behavior,  they really did go home every night to the small East End house in which they still lived with mum.  She was played by Billie Whitelaw in the 1990 film, The Krays, in which Spandau Ballet’s Gary and Martin Kemp played Ronnie and Reggie.  Whitelaw’s Violet was very nearly as scary as her sons. Can’t wait to find out not only whom Helgeland has cast, but what delicious lines he’s written for her.

More information will surely follow.  Legend doesn’t have a release date yet. I expect an initial announcement will be made soon.

Hot Damn! New Trailer for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For…

poster, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, movie

…and it looks like trouble. The good kind… As Marv says…”looks like Christmas”.

If you liked the highly stylized, black, white, red and yellow world of Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez‘s first foray into Sin City back in 2005 (holy crap, has it really been that long?), chances would seem to be very good that you’re going to love the sequel.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For looks like…more. More guns, more dames, more broken glass, more Marv…

Mickey Rourke is, of course, back as Marv, the punch drunk pugilist with a thick head and a soft heart. Jessica Alba, who has managed to sustain a career  by playing Nancy Callahan at nine year intervals, is back as the reluctant stripper, and she appears ready to bust out (apparently by busting up her face). Bruce Willis‘ John Hartigan, Jaime King as Goldie and Rosario Dawson as Gail round out the returning residents. Dwight is back but in the intervening years, he no longer looks like Clive Owen, but Josh Brolin instead. Somehow Michael Madsen as Bob turned into Jeremy Piven. Not sure how that works.  (Dennis Haysbert replaced Michael Clarke Duncan for obvious reasons. RIP Big Man.)

The new kids in town include Eva Green as Ava Lord. Could she be the titutlar dame? There are quite a few to choose from. Those mentioned above as well as Juno Temple, Jamie Chung (who replaced Devon Aoki as Miho), Alexa PenaVega (all grown up from Rodriguez’s Spy Kids franchise) and even Lady Gaga.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s Johnny is taking on “the most powerful man in the state”, played by Powers Boothe (naturally). His henchman look to include Marton Csokas, Christopher Meloni and Ray Liotta, of course.  Huge cast ready for big fun!

Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring Miller’s visually stunning “Sin City” graphic novels back to the screen in SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR. Weaving together two of Miller’s classic stories with new tales, the town’s most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more reviled inhabitants. SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR is the follow up to Rodriguez and Miller’s 2005 groundbreaking film, FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY.

Bullets fly . Blood flows. Things explode. And everyone sounds like they came from a pulp paperback. Frank Miller by way of James M. Cain.  Oh yeah, I’ll be booking a trip when Sin City: A Dame to Kill For  lands in theaters August 22 in the US and 29 August in the UK.

Preview Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac in The Two Faces of January

two-faces-of-january-poster

The stylish novels of Patricia Highsmith lend themselves particularly well to cinematic adaptation, becoming equally stylish thrillers like Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train and Rene Clement’s Purple Noon as well as Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, both based on the novel of that name. Now comes Hossein Amini’s The Two Faces of January.
Amini, the talented writer of Drive and Snow White and The Huntsman, among many others, makes his directorial debut with this film, a passion project he’s been trying to get made for more than fifteen years. He and producer Tom Sternberg finally secured the participation of Studio Canal and Working Title, with the help of the box office appeal of their leading players, Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and the suddenly white-hot Oscar Isaac, and the cameras rolled in August 2012.

1962. A glamorous American couple, the charismatic Chester MacFarland (Mortensen) and his alluring younger wife Colette (Dunst), arrive in Athens by boat via the Corinth Canal. While sightseeing at the Acropolis they encounter Rydal (Isaac), a young, Greek-speaking American who is working as a tour guide, scamming tourists on the side. Drawn to Colette’s beauty and impressed by Chester’s wealth and sophistication, Rydal gladly accepts their invitation to dinner. However, all is not as it seems with the MacFarlands and Chester’s affable exterior hides darker secrets. When Rydal visits the couple at their exclusive hotel, Chester presses him to help move the body of a seemingly unconscious man who he claims attacked him. In the moment, Rydal agrees but as events take a more sinister turn he finds himself compromised and unable to pull himself free. His increasing infatuation with the vulnerable and responsive Colette gives rise to Chester’s jealousy and paranoia, leading to a tense and dangerous battle of wits between the two men.

Glamor, style, intrigue, sun-soaked locations, beautiful people… As Viggo Mortensen says in one of the featurettes below, The Two Faces of January looks the way movies used to look. I’m in.
If the ingénue looks familiar, it’s because she looks exactly like her mother, Joely Richardson. Daisy Bevan, whose father is producer Tim Bevan of Working Title, third generation acting royalty (Grandma is Vanessa Redgrave), doesn’t quite make her debut with this film, since she had bit parts as a child in both Elizabeth and The Affair of the Necklace, but it is her first  film role as an adult.
The Two Faces of January also features a cast of international actors as well as the gorgeous locations in Greece and Turkey where it was shot.
Starting with its gala premiere at the 2014 Berlinale in February, the film has played festivals all over the world and opened in the UK on May 16. If it makes sense that The November Man opens in August, I guess it makes sense that The Two Faces of January will open in theaters in the US on October 3. (Also On Demand August 28)

If you’re still on the fence, take a look at these clips and featurettes. They verge on spoilers, but they also reinforce the idea that Amini has given us a neo-noir worthy of our time and attention.
Featurette #1

Featurette #2

Featurette #3

Clip #1

Clip #2

Clip #3

Pierce Brosnan Back In Bond Mode *UPDATED with TRAILER*

Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko, movie, still, The November Man

Pierce Brosnan and Olga Kurylenko in The November Man

An auspicious beginning, yes?

Pierce Brosnan stars in a new thriller, November Man, for his Dante’s Peak director, Roger Donaldson. Donaldson, director of The Bank Job with Jason Statham and No Way Out and Thirteen Days with Kevin Costner, usually knows his way around the genre, 2011’s Nic Cage opus Seeking Justice notwithstanding.

In November Man, Brosnan plays an ex-CIA operative who, just when he thinks he’s out, they pull him back in, for a very personal mission. He finds himself pitted against his former pupil (Luke Bracey) in a deadly game involving high level CIA officials and the Russian president-elect.

The film will also give US audiences a chance to get to know Bracey before the controversial (*eyeroll*) remake of Point Break, in which he’ll inhabit the wetsuit that used to belong to Keanu Reeves as Johnny Utah.

As for Brosnan, it’s been twelve years since he hung up his tux and drained his last martini as James Bond in 2002’s Die Another Day.  He’s had a couple of action roles, like After the Sunset and Seraphim Falls, but nothing that makes use of his “particular set of skills”.  These first four just-released images give us a hint that agent Peter Devereaux might be a return to form. He’s even got a cool car!

Based on a novel by Bill Granger, with a screenplay by Michael Finch (Predators) and Karl Gajdusek (Oblivion), November Man costars Olga Kurylenko, Will Patton (No Way Out), Eliza Taylor and Bill Smitrovitch. Hopefully we’ll get a trailer soon, since the movie opens in the US on August 24.  Hey, by then we’ll be tired of the blockbusters and will be looking for something to tide us over before the Big Guns of Awards Season are rolled out. I’m in. How about you?

Spoke too soon! Here’s the first teaser trailer!

Looks like fun. JMHO