New Interstellar Trailer is Epic In Its Awesomeness

Interstellar, movie, poster, trailer, Matthew McConaughey, Christopher Nolan

“Why the hyperbole,” you ask? Because, it requires superlatives, but all of the others have already been used. At last weekend’s San Diego Comic Con, the star of Christopher Nolan’s first post-Batman film, Matthew McConaughey, told the audience that this is “by far” Nolan’s most “ambitious”. The Bat Cycle aside, Nolan likes to push, not only the envelope, but also his audiences to think, so I can only imagine, based on this newest trailer, that that statement is true.

What I think I can be virtually certain of, is that Interstellar has the warmth and the heart that Alfonso Cuarón‘s technically brilliant Gravity lacked. While I have no doubt that this, too, will be a technical marvel, it is ultimately about love and family. But that is also, obviously a distillation. McConaughey plays a former pilot who wants to fly again, and gets his chance as part of the greatest rescue mission in the history of mankind. There is a lot going on here.

“A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.”

Nolan has cited 2001: A Space Odyssey as the single greatest inspiration for the film. And considering that forty five years after its release, that film is not only still relevant, but the benchmark for movies about space exploration, I think that’s a good choice.

Along with McConaughey, Interstellar has a phenomenal cast, including Anne Hathaway (who appears to be playing a real adult person here, not a princess or a waif or a victim. We’ll see.) Jessica Chastain as Mackenzie Foy’s “Murphy”, all grown up, Wes Bentley, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, Ellen Burstyn, William Devane, David Oyelowo, John Lithgow, and Nolan staple, Michael Caine.

The movie arrives to kick-start awards season on November 7 in the US and the UK. I’d start saving my pennies for IMAX if I were you.  Shot on an IMAX camera with an ambitious sound mix, Nolan claims to want to”give audiences an incredible immersive experience. The technical aspects are going to be more important than any film I’ve made before.”  I can’t wait.

More will surely follow.

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I’m Not Trying to Sell You Anything, But Jude Law Is

Jude Law, short film, photo, advertisement, Johnnie Walker Blue

Jude Law stars in The Gentleman’s Wager for JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL Blended Scotch whisky

It is not often I feel the need to do a post about an advert (or as Ralphie Parker* would say, “A crummy commercial”), but this one came to my attention today and while it may be simply because it stars Jude Law, whom I’ve been thinking about more than usual of late, but I find it so unusually impressive, I feel the need to talk about it.

The ad is nominally for Johnnie Walker Blue Label, which, if you’re going to drink a blend, as opposed to a single malt, this is a good one. I say nominally, however, because the makers of what can only be called a short film, are not doing the hard sell here.

The film has a title. It’s called A Gentleman’s Wager, and along with Law it stars Giancarlo Giannini (whom most of you probably know best as Rene Mathis, in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, which is too bad. It means you’ve missed, among other things, the films of Lina Wertmüller.)

The film tells the story of a wager between two men striving for personal progress through the quest for a truly rare experience. The Gentleman’s Wager sees Law in the role of a man who, despite having it all, challenges himself to strive for something he wants that money can’t buy. The film begins with Law and Giannini sipping Johnnie Walker Blue Label on a gorgeous hand-crafted boat as they look out across a stunning ocean seascape. We hear Law’s character state that he wants to buy the boat, but it is not for sale and the only way he can get it, is by putting on a truly unique performance. The wager begins.

What makes this short remarkable is its pedigree. Sure, there have been any number of high-profile advertisements in the past decade, featuring both A-list actors (Clive Owen, Brad Pitt) and directors (Guy Ritchie, Michael Mann), the latest of which was the “It’s Good to Be Bad” campaign for Jaguar featuring Mark Strong, Tom Hiddleston and Sir Ben Kingsley. But not many have the talent both onscreen and behind, that Johnnie Walker has assembled.

A Gentleman’s Wager is directed by Jake Scott. If the first name isn’t familiar, it probably will be soon, but the last name should be. He’s one of those Scotts. He’s the son of Sir Ridley and nephew of the late Tony. His own resume includes Welcome to the Rileys and Plunkett and Macleane (with Jonny Lee Miller and which I liked. Don’t judge) as well as a slew of big-name rock-docs.

It was shot in The British Virgin Islands, Caribbean and London by John Mathiason, who was the cinematographer on Ridley Scott films like Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood as well as Phantom of the Opera and X-Men: First Class. Production design was by Joseph Bennett, responsible for the look of HBO’s “Rome”. Costumes are by Scott regular Janty Yates, in conjunction with London bespoke mens outfitter, Mr. Porter. The film was produced by Jules Daly (The Grey, Assassination of Jesse James) and Tracie Norfleet of Scott Free.  That’s a lot of stops that were pulled.

Commenting on his role and involvement in the film, Law says: “The film is about improvement and progress and this is something I try to do in my work and my everyday life. I had to learn new skills shooting this film and that combined with the places we visited and shot in, alongside working with Jake and with Giancarlo, made it a truly rare experience.”

Take the above with a grain of salt or a slug of Johnnie Walker. I’m sure Mr. Law was paid a boatload of pounds sterling for his “rare experience”. Oh well. A Gentleman’s Wager is still a classy and entertaining little bit of footage.  And if it were up to me, I might give Jake a shot at the next Bond film. Whenever Sam Mendes decides to pack it in, of course.

*A Christmas Story (1983)

Will You Follow Thorin One Last Time?

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, movie, poster, Martin Freeman, Peter Jackson

Poster for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

A rhetorical question to be sure. I know the answer: OF BLOODY COURSE WE WILL!

The first trailer for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has arrived, about five hours earlier than previously announced and still five months ahead of the December 17 release date, but of course the film was a HUGE part of Warner Brothers’ Comic Con presence and some footage was teased then (as well as on the official FB page), so this is for the rest of us. Huzzah!  A new poster has accompanied it, as well.

The trailer calls the movie “the defining chapter of the Middle-Earth Saga,” presumably as a way to get you to splash out for a ticket to the 3rd movie based on a single book. It begins with Bilbo (Martin Freeman) setting the stage for the final battle by ominously intoning that future generations will “remember the good, the bad, those who survived, and those who didn’t.”

Take a look at the first two-minute teaser:

This first look provides snippets of battle preparations by the five armies, several fast-paced fight scenes, a lot of Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman and concludes with Richard Armitage’s Thorin Oakenshield asking, “Will you follow me one last time?”

That last line is no doubt designed to tug at our fond remembrances for the five films that came before this one…and make us sad (in advance) that this is the final chapter.  And it worked.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, written and directed by the incomparable Peter Jackson stars Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Graham McTavish, Lee Pace, James Nesbitt, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lilly, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Billy Connolly, Sylvester McCoy and many, many more, opens in the UK on 12th December and in the US on December 17.

Tom Hardy’s World is Fire and Blood Where Only the Mad Survive

Mad Max: Fury Road, Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, George Miller, poster, movie

1st poster for Mad Max: Fury Road

Ah Comic Con. That Disneyland/Mecca/Nirvana for pop culture junkies of all shapes, sizes, colors and creeds, has, thanks to  Warner Brothers and Village Roadshow, yielded more treasure. Right on the heels of this morning’s four new character posters (and last week’s first official poster – seen above), today, at long last, we have our first look at some actual footage from George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road with Tom Hardy taking over from Mel Gibson (complete with Aussie accent, it would seem). It’s not a full-blown trailer, but it is a teaser to be sure.

Fury Road is the fourth film in the franchise, a sequel/reboot hybrid of Miller’s own films, the post-apocalyptic sci-fi classics, The Road Warrior and Mad Max. The movie also stars Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz, Riley Keough, Hugh Keays-Byrne, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, most of whom can be at least glimpsed in the teaser.

Peep this:

For all of the delays, for reasons ranging from financing, to scheduling to bad weather, (including having to find a new location when said weather turned the Australian outback green and lush) and reshoots, this an impressive first look. Hey naysayers, this might actually be GOOD!

In fact, it would appear that 1. This thing is going to kick all kinds of ass and 2. Hardy is going to have no trouble winning over the skeptical legions of die-hard Mad Max fans. If they won’t exactly forget Mel Gibson, they will at least be able to accept Hardy as Max.

Mad Max: Fury Road is set to be released on May 15, 2015, a date which will, no doubt be etched into your memory over the course of the next ten months.

So? Whaddya think? Are you excited or what?

 

Daniel Radcliffe Will Make You Ask, “Harry Who?”

Horns, poster, movie, Daniel Radcliffe

Poster for Horns with Daniel Radcliffe

One viewing of the first trailer for Horns, and it is clear ole’ DanRad, who is still only twenty five years old, by the way, has a very bright post-Potter future ahead of him.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the world of Harry Potter, nor any of its other inhabitants, since I’m one of the few people on the planet who has neither read the books nor seen the films. (Yeah, yeah…they’re on my list.) That said, I do not reside under a rock. I’m well aware of Daniel Radcliffe’s rabid fanbase and how desperately they want him to succeed.

To that end, Horns, which is based on the novel of the same name by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King), is a hotly anticipated commodity, especially since it premiered at TIFF last year. Now, thanks to the film’s promotional appearance at Comic Con,  there is finally a full length trailer. I may be wrong, but this might be the flick that finally allows Radcliffe to step out of Harry’s shadow for good. He’s been steadily taking on roles with more and more edge and banking his indie cred the past few years. He’s even proven he can topline a film that doesn’t have the Potter name attached, when he starred in British chiller The Woman in Black (which earned enough to demand a sequel).

In Horns, Radcliffe plays a man trying to unravel the mystery behind what happened to his girlfriend, as well has why the hell he’s suddenly beginning to sprout…well, horns.

The story follows a 26-year-old man (Daniel Radcliffe) who wakes up after a nasty hangover to find his girlfriend (Juno Temple) has been raped and murdered and he’s the lead suspect. Then he discovers horns growing out of his head that grant him the power to make people confess their sins, which comes in handy as he searches for his girlfriend’s killer and prepares for revenge.

Take a look at the full-length trailer at MTV (there’s also a teaser below):
http://www.mtv.com/videos/movie-trailers/1065309/horns.jhtml
Is it me or does this seem to have a wickedly twisted sense of humor ? And while I can (grudgingly) see Shia LaBeouf in the role (he had it first then dropped out – who knows why), I think Radcliffe’s gonna kill this (with a pretty good American accent, too). I’m in! I may skip the multiplex (because let’s be honest, the honest will be comprised of Harry-heads and Potter-ettes, at least on the first weekend), but I’ll catch it on OnDemand (Radius-TWC is distributing, guaranteeing a multi-platform release).

Directed by Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D– that must be where the sense of humor comes from) with a script by Keith Bunin (“In Treatment”), Horns also stars Max Minghella, Heather Graham, James Remar, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner, and Kathleen Quinlan, and will be released, appropriately enough, on October 31 in the US and the UK.

Teaser:

Jude Law Gets Hilariously Filthy in Dom Hemingway

Dom Hemingway, Jude Law, movie, poster, Richard Shepard, Richard E. Grant

Poster for dvd release of Richard Shepard’s Dom Hemingway with Jude Law

Dom Hemingway, a movie I’m almost certain you missed in the theaters, is out now on dvd and blu-ray. It’s about a Cockney safecracker of the same name, zealously played with bawdy, psychotic, raunchy, balls-out , go-for-broke bravado by Jude Law like you’ve never seen him before – and not just because he gained thirty pounds to play him. Dom is Bricktop from Guy Ritchie’s Snatch (sans pigs), if Ritchie were Francois Rabelais channeling Mickey Spillane.

Actually, Dom Hemingway sprang from the talented and slightly twisted mind of writer/director Richard Shepard, whose last movie, 2005’s The Matador, gave us Pierce Brosnan strolling across a hotel lobby in a Speedo and ankle boots.

After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safe-cracker Dom Hemingway is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he’s owed.

The story begins as we listen, likely in slack-jawed wonder, watching Law’s face in close-up, as Dom addresses the audience and delivers an ode to his favorite part of his anatomy. As the camera pulls back we realize he’s talking all the while being “serviced” by a faceless someone whom we come to recognize as a fellow inmate. It is a truly awesome monologue, an efflux of Shakespearean proportions, both epic and surreal, funny and jaw-droppingly filthy.

jude law, shirtless, movie, photo, dom hemingway

That stunning scene pretty much tells us what we’re in for as we follow this violent, poetic, hilarious, anachronistic gangster on his quest to get the money owed to him for not ratting out his boss… plus a present.

Then there’s Dom’s best friend, Dickie, played by the under-rated Richard E. Grant, as a toff in leisure suits and aviator shades, with a prosthetic hand. Dickie is at Dom’s right hand, observing everything and responding with a verbal or literal eye-roll, but we know instantly that this is just par for the course and there is deep affection between the two.

Dom: Fontaine better have a well-stocked bar.
Dickie: He was raised in a Russian orphanage and kills people for a living. Of course he has a well-stocked bar.

In fact, all of the characters, from the double-crossing Russian mobster Mr. Fontaine, played Demian Bichir (!) to Melody (Kerry Condon), whose life Dom saves in a rare moment of unselfishness, to an unrecognizable Emilia Clarke as Dom’s estranged daughter Evelyn, are very well drawn. The problem is that Dom is such a BIG character that everyone around him is dwarfed.

It’s a story we’ve seen play out countless times before with varying degrees of success, but a character like Dom, rarely. Shepard’s twist is the humor with which he tries to balance his main character’s amoral behavior. However, that we are not repulsed by Dom is, of course, down in part to the clever things Shepard has given him to say, but mostly it’s all Law, who manages to remain as charming as ever. He embodies every aspect of Dom, from the way he walks (more like swaggers bow-legged with hips thrust forward like a cowboy or porn star, usually with a cigarette plugged between his teeth), talks, swears, drinks, laughs, and cries with every bit of the bold presumptuousness needed to make the character come to life.

The movie ultimately can’t decide what it wants to be. Instead of letting Dom just “be”, Shepard sees the need to add a redemption plot to his otherwise slight tale of an ex-con looking for payback. Dom’s efforts to repair his relationship with his daughter, despite how good Clarke is, and how good Law is in the scenes with her son, feel tacked on. It really wasn’t necessary to give Dom any redeeming qualities when the reprobate is so much fun.

Dom Hemingway as a whole should not work, but amazingly it does, for the most part – including the striking and vibrant color palette, the soundtrack full of instantly recognizable classics by The Alarm, Primal Scream, Big Country, Pixies, Godfathers, Motorhead, and Citizen Cope, as well as a very sweet version of The Waterboys’ “Fisherman’s Blues” sung by Emilia Clarke, and a truly memorable car crash sequence – as long as you don’t ask too much from it.

If for nothing else, though, I recommend the film for Jude Law, who at 41 has eschewed “pretty boy” status for good and Dom Hemingway finds him at his very best.

Red-band trailer:

Dom Hemingway, written and directed by Richard Shepard, with Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Demian Bichir, Emilia Clarke, Kerry Condon, Jumayn Hunter and Madelina Ghenea, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013 and is on dvd and blu-ray now.

Benedict Cumberbatch & Co. Work to Win the War in 1st Trailer for The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch, Alan Turing, movie, photo, The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game – photo via KinoGallery

Undoubtedly, one of this year’s most anticipated films (and no, not just by me) is The Imitation Game in which Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, the genius mathematician who helped devise the Nazi-code breaking Enigma Machine.

We finally have a first trailer, coming just as it is announced that the film will open the BFI London Film Festival in October. Appropriate to be sure, since judging from this trailer alone, the film will be a British acting master class.

While the trailer obviously focuses on the Enigma project and his team of crack code-breakers, it is no spoiler if I tell you that Turing’s “secret” is that he is homosexual, a “crime” for which he is persecuted (and prosecuted) by the laws and society he helped to save.

Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.

The Imitation Game also stars Mark Strong, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Steven Waddington, Tuppence Middleton and Charles Dance. Graham Moore‘s screenplay topped the annual Black List (the list of the best un-produced Hollywood scripts) in 2011. Directed by Morten Tyldum (Headhunters), making his English-language debut,  Harvey and The Weinstein Company will release the film in the UK 14th November and in the US one week later on November 21, and it is already being given awards consideration.