“The Law Is Shot to Hell” Watch 1st Trailer for #SlowWest with #MichaelFassbender

Slow West, Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, John Mclean, western, Ben Mendelsohn, Rory McCann

Sundance Film Festival poster for Slow West

It has been clear since the days of Jonah Hex, that any western which included Michael Fassbender would not be your typical “oater” or “horse opera” in the vein John Wayne or even Gary Cooper (super duper! C’mon, you know you totally heard Peter Boyle in your head). This would have been true of Jane Got Her Gun, if he’d stayed with the project, and it’s certainly true of Slow West. We’d had hints of its  unconventional nature from the few stills released following the film’s debut at Sundance, but now we have proof with the first trailer.

The film is writer/director John Mclean‘s feature debut after having helmed a few well-received shorts including Man On a Motorcycle and Pitch Black Heist, also starring Fassbender. In Slow West he plays Silas, a “mysterious drifter” who throws in with a 16 year-old Scottish immigrant (Kodi Smit-McPhee). The kid, in true knight errant fashion, is on a quest to find his lady love (Caren Pistorius), whose father (Rory McCann) has spirited her off to the wilds of the American west.

Despite the fact that Fassbender is playing a sort of outlaw Friar Laurence to this 19th century Romeo and Juliet, it would appear that the film is still awash with grubby, saddle-sore villains as well. The always fantastic Ben Mendelsohn (I remember when I saw Animal Kingdom for the first time. Joel Edgerton was already making a name for himself, but everything else I read said that James Frecheville* would be the break-out star. No one predicted it would be Mendelsohn who is suddenly required to be in all the movies. And have you seen “Bloodline” on Netflix?  Do it! Now! As usual I digress.) as Payne, the leader of a gang of money-hungry, cold-blooded bounty hunters, is one such character.  The actor apparently took a shine to Payne’s furry coat. He wore it to the Sundance premiere.

Take a look at this:

trailer via JoBlo

Those lucky enough to have already seen the movie have raved about Mclean’s debut, calling it a fairy tale about doomed romance and unlikely families, defined by its “sharp wit”, and “absurdist violence” remininscent of Tarantino.  When can I buy my ticket!

Produced by the team from The King’s Speech and Shame, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, among others, including Fassbender, Slow West moseys into the Tribeca Film Festival April 18. Its May 15 US opening doesn’t preclude a stop on the French Riviera first, so I wouldn’t be surprised if its included in the upcoming Cannes Film Festival lineup as well. The UK gets it on 26 June.

*last seen in The Drop with Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini

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“It’s a Good Day” says New #MadMax: Fury Road Int’l Trailer. Yeah, But For What?!

Tom Hardy, Mad Max Rockatansky, Mad Max: Fury Road,  movie, photo, trailer, Charlize Theron, George Miller

From the looks of this 67 seconds of hot, angry, sweaty, flaming mayhem…the answer is “to blow some shit up!”.

Warner Bros. has just released a new (and completely insane) Japanese trailer for this summer’s sure-to-be-blockbuster, Mad Max: Fury Road. And we thank them for it. Given the long road from inception to release that this film has traveled and is still traveling, the WB deserves kudos for not just keeping this in the front of moviegoers’ minds, but chomping at the proverbial bit.

Despite the fact that this clip is only a tad more than one-minute long, it not only compacts and condenses what was in the previous full-length trailer, it does provide some bits of new footage. How do they do that, you might well ask? By moving at the speed of sound and not wasting a nano-second of screen time on anything that isn’t racing, burning, screaming or better yet, exploding. There’s no room for flab in this post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Take a look:

Mad Mad: Fury Road is the fourth film of George Miller‘s Road Warrior/Mad Max franchise co-written and directed by Miller. The post-apocalyptic action film is set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and most everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world of fire and blood exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order… There’s Max (Tom Hardy), a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And… Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.”

Mad Max: Fury Road with Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Nathan Jones, and Hugh Keays-Byrne, takes over the world on May 13-15, 2015, depending on where you are in it. (A May 13 premiere in France suggests an appearance on the Croisette, no? The Cannes Film Festival also begins that day.)

Watch This: Will Mad Max: Fury Road Be Worth the Wait?

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

All signs point to… HELL YES!

I won’t rehash yet again what a long, strange trip this film has taken from inception to completion. It’s been well-documented by myself and many, many others. What I will say, after finally seeing the first full-length trailer for “Mastermind” George Miller‘s Mad Max reboot, is that it is my belief that this is Max Rockatansky as Miller had always envisioned. Technology (and his budget) has finally caught up to that vision.

Take a look:

There does not appear to be anything, at least in this first 2 1/2 min. bit of Fury Road, that would be out of place in the Mad Max canon, but it all still manages to push the boundaries. Everyone is still filthy; gasoline is still worth more than a life; boys still like to play with motorized toys; rebels still wear makeup like refugees from a Mexican Day-of-the-Dead fiesta and lots of stuff still gets blowed up. But for all of this throw-back appeal, it still manages to look fresh. It’s gritty and yet vibrant.

I CAN’T FREAKIN’ WAIT!

An apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There’s Max, a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.

Mad Max: Fury Road with Tom Hardy as Max, Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, Nicholas Hoult as Nux, Zoë Kravitz as Toast, Rosie Huntington-Whitely as Splendid, Hugh Keays-Byrne as Immortan Joe, Nathan Jones as Rictus Erectus, and Riley Keough as Capable opens in the US and the UK on May 15, 2015.

Netflix Is Giving Us #CillianMurphy and #TomHardy in the BBC’s “Peaky Blinders”!

Peaky Blinders, television, Netflix,  Cillian Murphy, poster

Netflix has gotten into the original series business in a big way the past couple of years, with game changers “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black“. Now, thanks to our friends (sorry, I feel like I have a relationship with these people) Harvey and The Weinstein Company, along with Endemol (which also brings us “Hell on Wheels” among others) the company has picked up both seasons of the BBC series “Peaky Blinders”, which some are calling the UK’s answer to “Boardwalk Empire”.  As I’ve said before, I don’t often feel the need to bring television to this blog, so when I do, you know it’s something I consider special. Like Boardwalk, now airing its Swan Song season on HBO, “Peaky Blinders” is a huge hit. Both shows are about “gangsters” of a sort, but at least one other thing they have in common is that both series have managed to lure a great many actors known primarily for their film work, to series television, including series star Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill, Helen McCrory, Charlie Creed Miles, Annabelle Wallis and Paul Anderson. In season two, Tom Hardy joins the cast. (Yes, that Tom Hardy). Who might have induced an actor with a schedule as full as Hardy’s to take on a role in a television show, you ask? Why, Steven Knight, the writer/director of Locke, who happens to be the creator and writer of “Peaky Blinders”, that’s who. *demented poodle dance*

‘Peaky Blinders’ takes place in 1919 Birmingham, England, and follows the Shelby family, who lead the title group — a feared gang named for their practice of sewing razor blades into the peaks of their caps. Until now they have made money from illegal bookmaking, protection and the black market, but when a crate of guns from the local arms factory falls into his possession, Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) recognizes an opportunity to move up in the world. As rival gangs, communist revolutionaries and IRA Fenians descend on the city in pursuit of the weapons, Winston Churchill dispatches a ruthless police chief (Sam Neill) from Belfast to impose order on an increasingly lawless city and recover the guns.

The first six episodes of the first season will be available starting after 12:01am PT on Tuesday September 30 and the second season (in which Hardy will appear along with his new wife, Charlotte Riley, and Noah Taylor) will be available sometime in November.
The BBC Two, season two promo:

Netflix teaser:

#TomHardy “Keeping It Real” For #DennisLehane, #MichaëlRoskam in #TheDrop BTS Featurette

 

The Drop, Tom Hardy, movie, photo, puppy, Dennis Lehane, Michael Roskam

Is there anything cuter than Tom Hardy and a puppy? The answer is no…no, there is not.

Belgian director Michaël Roskam‘s first English-language feature, The Drop, with Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and featuring the late James Gandolfini‘s final screen performance, “drops” in less than two weeks.

The film, in which a man called Bob Saginowski (Hardy) finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost, and one I’ve been talking about for some time (if you’re not a fan of any of the above, sorry, but there’s more to come) was made from the first ever screenplay by writer Dennis Lehane, who adapted is own short story.  He has subsequently turned the screenplay into a novel, out next Tuesday, September 2.

The screenplay itself was based on an earlier Lehane short story called “Animal Rescue,” (the original title for the film- “what was wrong with that?”, I have to ask), which originally appeared in a short story collection called “Boston Noir”, about a killing that results from a lost pit bull.

The Drop, Tom Hardy, movie, photo, puppy, Dennis Lehane, Michael Roskam

See? Told ya.

As the writer explains in the featurette below, that story was based on a book he started more than a decade ago, but shelved.   After the movie was made, he was asked to do a “novelization” of the script, an idea he hated, but found that there were things from from the original novel that didn’t make it to the story or the script plus things original to the script that were cut either from that screenplay or from the finished film, that he still wanted to explore. Add all of that together and the result was a new book, now also called, “The Drop”.

In the interest of full disclosure, I an ardent Lehane fan. He’s one of the few contemporary writers that I feel will always merit the purchase of an actual book, as opposed to the digital version.

Lehane’s work, whatever form it takes, seems to lend itself particularly well to the screen. There have already been memorable adaptations of the novels Mystic River (dir. by Clint Eastwood), Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese) and Gone Baby Gone (which put Ben Affleck on the directorial map). Once Batfleck finally finishes work for Zack Snyder‘s Superman sequel, he’ll be back behind the camera for Live By Night, another Lehane adaptation.

For his part, Lehane is also writing episodes of the final season of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” (JMHO, but that’s reason enough to keep watching)  as well as developing “Ness”, a prospective television project about famed bootleg-buster Eliot Ness.

(Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts, here in his third film for Roskam   is apparently a method actor. Did you catch the Brooklyn accent used throughout?)

The Drop, directed by Michaël Roskam, with Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Elizabeth Rodriguez (“Orange is the New Black”), James Frecheville (Animal Kingdom) and Matthias Schoenaerts will screen at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on Septemer 5. It has also just been announced that the film will screen in competition at the 62nd San Sebastián Film Festival on September 26. It opens in the US on September 12 and in the UK on 14th November.

Latest tv spot:

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?

 

Tom Hardy Has Some Good News and Some Bad News

Noomi Rapace, Tom Hardy, Daniel Espinosa, movie, phto,  Child 44

Noomi Rapace and Tom Hardy in Daniel Espinosa’s Child 44

So, which do you want first?

The good news: Summit has finally set a release date for the Sir Ridley Scott-produced, Daniel Espinosa-directed, Child 44.

The bad news: It won’t be until next year…April 17, 2015 to be exact. While some of us have been looking for a release date at the end of 2014 and so were eagerly awaiting a trailer, the pushed-back date means that that is further off as well.

Child 44, you’ll remember, is based on Tom Robb Smith’s novel of the same name. Set in Stalinist Russia, it’s the tale of Leo Demidov, a senior member of the secret police (Tom Hardy), who is framed for treason by a colleague (Joel Kinnaman) and exiled to a remote outpost, where he unearths a series of mysterious murders and vows to catch the elusive killer, despite powerful members of the government who wish to silence him.

Gary Oldman is Timur Nesterov, and Noomi Rapace is Leo’s wife Raisa. The rest of the cast includes Jason Clarke, Vincent Cassel (who replaced Philip Seymour Hoffman, who pulled out shortly after filming began), Paddy Considine, Dev Patel, Sam Spruell, and Fares Fares.

So what does the release date mean in terms of the film itself? A berth at the end of 2014 would have meant the producers saw awards season potential. Does an April opening mean there is none?

Not necessarily; not any more. April is by no means the box office Siberia of January or February. April has become fertile territory for “adult-themed” drama, particularly of the “independent” variety; a “last hurrah” of sorts before the arrival of the spring/summer blockbusters. April 2014 alone saw the release of Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive, Locke, and Joe, among many others. Last year saw Trance, Upstream Color, The Company You Keep, 42 and Mud. (This last certainly deserved more attention than it got, but was overshadowed by the Best Actor campaign for Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. For my money, his supporting turn in Mud was better – no small accomplishment.)

Add to this the undeniable awards possibilities (as well as box office success) of 2014 MARCH release, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and we have not only some evidence that the game might be changing, but reason to be hopeful about the potential of Child 44. Not only that, but a movie can be deemed good, even great, without being considered “Oscar-bait”. It will also be interesting to see whether or not this makes it to any of the fall film festivals this year.

In any case, our wait to find out just got a little longer. Having read Smith’s book, I’ve been waiting with bated breath since the film was announced. I may turn blue and pass out before next April, but I’ll live. I can’t think of a thing that would prevent me from seeing Child 44, regardless of when it’s released.

Which brings me to more good news and the probable reason for the move to next year: It will have little competition on that date. I don’t see Summit’s mystery-thriller sharing much of an audience with Sony’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Focus Features’ sci-fi body-switching saga, Selfless (with Ryan Reynolds, star of Espinosa’s English-language debut, Safe House, just as Kinnaman is the star of Espinosa’s best known Swedish film,Snabba Cash aka Easy Money. See, we are all connected.) or the Disney documentary, Monkey Kingdom. (The following week, Avengers: Age of Ultron will blow away any and all competition, but then again, Child 44 would also make a good alternative when the former is sold-out.)

Oh, and to end on a high note, I have a couple of stills and production photos from Child 44 to share.

So, what are your thoughts on the subject? Willing to wait until next April or will you have lost interest by then? Did you have any to begin with? Feel free to share in the comments.