Lord of the Rings Lost Footage

Lost footage from Ralph Bakshi‘s animated film, The Lord of the Rings, finally expands on a scene fans know all too well from Peter Jackson’s trilogy.

Bakshi’s film, released in 1978, tells the story of two J.R.R. Tolkien books, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. In the live-action versions by Jackson, those films are linked by Gandalf’s battle with the massive Balrog in the Mines of Moria. Bakshi’s film has a version of that battle, but it’s very sparse and, frankly, pretty cheesy.

Now, after 36 years on the cutting room floor, Bakshi’s full early vision of the epic showdown has come to light via lost animation cells  Check out some Lord of the Rings lost footage below. Read More »

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VOTD: Back To The Future Part 1 & 2 Scene Comparison

Back to the Future: Part II opens with the ending scene from the first movie. But anyone who has seen the movie more than once will know that the sequence was completely reshot. I’m sure there are a multitude of reasons why they didn’t just use the same footage, including the fact that Claudia Wells, who played Marty McFly’s girlfriend Jennifer Parker in the original film, had been recast with 1980′s movie hottie Elizabeth Shue. Also, the movie was shot nearly five years later, so they probably wanted Marty and Doc’s appearances to seem consistant with the rest of the film. But even then, they needed to try to make the reshot sequence look almost exactly the same as what was shown in the original film. The “a rejuvenation clinic” excuse Doc gives Marty once they arrive in 2015 was likely a excuse to get rid of the old man make-up Christopher Lloyd was forced to wear in the 1985 scenes of the original film.

Justin Taormina has put together a video comparing this repeated sequence. Hit the jump to watch it now. Read More »

Fame Movie Trailer

Fame

MGM has released the full trailer for Kevin Tancharoen‘s remake of the Oscar-winning hit musical Fame. The movie follows a talented group of dancers, singers, actors, and artists over four years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. I’m not a huge fan of big screen musicals. I tend to like the more cinematic contemporary films which escape the boundaries of the stagey Broadway set-ups, but Fame seems to stick close to the stage. Watch the trailer after the jump and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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Fletch

Chevy Chase has joined the cast of United Artist’s R-Rated sci-fi comedy Hot Tub Time Machine. The Steve Pink-directed, Josh Heald-scripted film tells the story of a group of guys (John Cusack, Rob Corddry, and Craig Robinson) who return to the hot tub they once partied in, only to discover it is a time machine that allows them to go back in time to their “days of glory.”We’ve heard many good things about the script.

Case will play a seemingly crazy repairman who might be the only one who can held the trio return to the present day. THR says that the character “dispenses pearls of wisdom and may or may not be behind the metaphysical road trip.”

The article goes on to say that Chase is currently considering reprise the role of Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher in a reboot of the Fletch movie series. Apparently The Weinstein Co has a new script which would involve a semi-returned Fletch passing the torch to his journalist nephew, and advising him on his stories. Sounds like a rather lame way of including Chase in the project.
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butch and sundance
I’m never sure if I should report any of the showbiz rumors that come out the UK-based newspapers. So much of it is bullshit gossip that never comes to pass. Tonight /Film reader Emmett D sent over a link to an article on The Daily Express website that claims that Tom Cruise hopes to produce a remake of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for United Artists, and is already interviewing potential screenwriters for the project.

According to the unnamed sources (because, if the sources were named, it could no longer be a rumor…), Cruise would play Sundance, the role made famous by Robert Redford in the original 1969 western. John Travolta would play Cassidy, a role originally played by Paul Newman. The article also claims that Cruise has been wanting to make this film for years now, and even got Paul Newman’s blessing before he passed.

I’m actually one of the few people who still enjoys watching Cruise on the big screen, but I can’t even imagine Travolta in a Sundance Kid remake. I’m willing to give almost anything the benefit of the doubt, but even I can’t imagine any good coming out of this. But for now, just mark this as another UK newspaper rumor which will probably turn out to be completely bunk.

The First Six Minutes of Valkyrie

United Artists has made the first six minutes of Valkyrie available online to promote the film. Check it out embedded after the jump or head on to Apple.com for the High Definition version.
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Early Reviews of Valkyrie Label Tom Cruise As Laughable

Despite a solid pedigree, with Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie taking up directing and writing duties respectively, Valkyrie has taken a drubbing on the PR front, mostly because of people’s poisonous initial reactions to Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. A recent article at the NYTimes laid out what a high-stakes bet Valkyrie is for MGM Studios:

Valkyrie has turned into a test not only of Mr. Cruise’s career durability, but of MGM’s determination — with new ownership, and under the chairmanship of Harry E. Sloan since 2005 — to be taken seriously as a producer and distributor of the kind of risky event films that define a major studio.

If Valkyrie succeeds, even moderately, MGM wins a modicum of credibility in image-is-everything Hollywood. A failure brings fresh sniping that the studio does not know what it is doing, making the job of attracting top-notch talent even harder. Financially speaking, the stakes are considerable. With a stated production budget of $75 million — competitors insist it is closer to $90 million — Valkyrie is the most expensive film made for distribution by MGM under  Sloan’s watch. The studio will now spend about $60 million to market the movie — if nothing else, to make the point that it can play in the big leagues.

Unfortunately, we’re now hearing some pretty bad buzz about Valkyrie from MSNBC’S The Scoop (via Get The Big Picture), citing unnamed sources who have seen the movie and call Cruise’s performance laugh-inducing. In particular, a scene where Cruise was forced to give the “Heil Hitler” salute:

It’s an unsettling scene but you almost start to laugh…His character is resisting it but you never forget it’s Tom Cruise saying “Heil Hitler.” It’s funny and shocking at the same time.

Sources also say that the film isn’t very thrilling at all:

It’s a bunch of white guys in Nazi uniforms. It’s too bad. And Tom doesn’t speak with a German accent — though they did add a voiceover of him speaking German to the beginning of the film. Still, it’s as if he could say ‘I complete you’ at any time. This is not his Oscar moment.

Head over to The Scoop for some more details. While these unnamed sources may or may not be an appropriate gauge of what general audiences will think, I’m still holding out hope that Singer can deliver a thriller on par with The Usual Suspects (although more and more I begin to doubt). After all, the last Valkyrie trailer wasn’t half bad. Right?

Update: /Film commenter Cerisier points out that one should probably take the above anonymous sources with a pound of salt. I would wholeheartedly agree.

/Film commenter Emily directs us to The Independent, which has reports from screenings that took place on Saturday and Sunday. According to the article, the screening eliminated fears that Cruise would attempt a German accent and also garnered  “shockingly positive” reviews. According to Steve Gaydos, executive editor of Variety:

All the buzz is that it’s pretty good…Von Stauffenberg is not a typical role for Cruise, but in the event, he is a terrific actor who has surrounded himself with some of the most talented people around.

In other words, Valkyrie certainly still has the potential to be a big hit. More reports from screenings as they roll in.

Valkryie Featurette: Through Bryan Singer’s Eyes

MSN has a new featurette for Valkyrie focusing on director Bryan Singer. Click on the image above to watch it.

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