Aronofsky Portman Black Swan

We talk all the time here about new projects for our favorite directors, but today we’re going to talk about two films that have just been dropped by their respective helmers.

According to new reports, Darren Aronofsky has walked away from the thriller Red Sparrow, after circling the picture for months. Meanwhile, Oliver Stone is kicking off his MLK weekend by announcing that he is no longer making an MLK biopic. Hit the jump for updates on both projects.

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How to Train Your Dragon 2 - Astrid and Stormfly (header)

There’s a lot of attention on the indie world right now, what with the Sundance Film Festival kicking off, but there’s plenty of news coming from the big studio sequel front, too. After the jump:

  • Kenneth Branagh hopes for a sequel to Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
  • Rosario Dawson also wishes the Sin City sequel had happened sooner
  • Lucasfilm Singapore is working on Transformers and Avengers
  • New plot details are revealed for Paranormal Activity 5
  • Here’s how you can enter to be an extra in The Purge 2
  • Danny Glover and Danny Trejo are badasses in the Bad Asses trailer
  • 300: Rise of an Empire gets a stabby new poster and an online game
  • Astrid poses with Stormfly in a How to Train Your Dragon 2 poster

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Mr Peabody and Sherman 5

It’s probably just a matter of time before someone gets the idea to make an NBC sitcom based on Dos Equis’ The Most Interesting Man in the World, but until then we’ll have Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Sherman (voiced by Max Charles), the human half of the classic cartoon duo, is an ordinary kid, but Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) has a list of accomplishments that’d make Mr. Dos Equis himself raise a perfectly groomed eyebrow.

The newest trailer explains that this is a dog who earned a Ph.D and invented the fist bump, Autotune, and the time machine. The latest clip adds that he’s also a musical genius and a license chiropractor. The only thing he can’t do, apparently, is keep Sherman from traveling back in time and creating a rift in the space-time continuum. Which turns out to be kind of a problem. Watch the videos after the jump.

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Robopocalypse

In some alternate universe, Steven Spielberg‘s sci-fi action film Robopocalypse is one of the films people are putting on their 2013 best-of lists. Way back in 2011, the film was supposed to open in July 2013. It was then bumped to 2014, and finally the film was delayed indefinitely. Sad for fans of Spielberg and sci-fi, but even with the delay there was some pre-production work done on the film. One website claims to have found some storyboards made for Robopocalypse which illustrate a pretty impressive robot vs. robot fight followed by a chase through the woods. Check them out below. Read More »

How to Train Your Dragon 2 poster header

By the time How to Train Your Dragon 2 comes out, over four years will have passed since the first How to Train Your Dragon hit theaters. And rather than sit idly on the shelf waiting for DreamWorks Animation to bring them back, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), Toothless, and the rest of their companions have spent the interim growing up.

Since Hiccup revealed the truth about dragons, the flying fire-breathers have been welcomed by the people of Berk, and Hiccup and Toothless’s bond with each other has only deepened. Oh, and Hiccup has “Neville Longbottom-ed” us all by growing from a hopelessly gawky boy into a handsome man. All in all, life looks pretty good.

But the sequel has to have a story, and a story has to have a conflict. So some kind of trouble is brewing for the pair, as you can see in the trailer after the jump.

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Obama Dreamworks

A current U.S. President on a motion capture stage. That’s not something you see every day. But it happened Tuesday when President Barack Obama visited DreamWorks Animation to talk to the company (which is headed by major Obama contributor and fundraiser Jeffrey Katzenberg). The President called the entertainment industry “one of the bright spots of our economy” and got a tour of the facility.

One of the stops was the motion capture stage where How to Train Your Dragon 2 director Dean DeBlois explained and demonstrated the technique for the President. And, as a bonus, there’s some new footage from the 2014 sequel. Check out the video below. Read More »

How to Train Your Dragon 2 poster header

One of the advantages of an animated sequel is that the characters never really have to get older if the filmmakers don’t want them to. They can even regress in age, as Sulley (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) did for this summer’s Monsters University, twelve years after Monsters Inc. first came out.

But the folks behind How to Train Your Dragon 2 have chosen to keep their characters aging more or less in “real” time, so the sequel features a handsome, grown-up Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) rather than the bumbling teen we met in the first film. His trusty companion Toothless, however, remains more or less the same. Check out the new teaser poster after the jump.

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need-for-speed-trailer-2

Need for Speed director Scott Waugh comes from a stunt family; his father was best friends with Hal Needham, the stuntman who directed Smokey and the Bandit and Hooper, and Waugh grew up around some of the most famous stunt work on film. During a visit to Waugh’s Bandito Brothers office to see some footage from his new movie, Waugh explained “My viewpoint is [the time] when car movies were amazing, in the ‘70s and ‘60s to the ‘80s. It was great, because it was all real, it was in-camera, the dudes really did it, I was there to witness it.” So his whole motivation with Need for Speed was not to create a CG-heavy video game movie, with unbelievable action, but to create a stunt movie with visual ties to the game.

“I’m all about practicality,” he said, “because I believe that, if you break the rules of physics of physics in stunt work, you break the rules of character jeopardy. If a car can jump off a moving train that’s 40 feet high and land and keep going, then a person can take a bullet and keep going, too.”

All of which to say is that, when making Need for Speed, nearly everything was done via practical means, with real drivers in the cars. “If a car crashes, it’ ain’t going anywhere” laughs Waugh. And as often as possible, it was Aaron Paul doing the driving. Watch a new trailer and read more about the making of the film below. Read More »

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