Assassin's Creed and The Matrix

Will Assassin’s Creed break the video game movie curse? World of Warcraft might accomplish that task first, based on director Duncan Jones‘ (Moon) involvement, but later this year, if Jones’ adaptation does disappoint, then director Justin Kurzel has a real shot at shattering the curse. Kurzel reunites with Macbeth stars, Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, for this Ubisoft adaptation, which Fassbender says is “old school” and inspired by The Matrix.

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super bowl movie trailers

The Super Bowl is the ultimate expression of the American id: a game where people hit each other really hard, advertisements for cheese flavored chips, extravagant halftime shows put on with colorful panache, and, of course, trailers for the biggest, loudest movies coming within the next year.

I kid because I love. The Super Bowl is ridiculous and the ads are ridiculous and the culture surrounding it is ridiculous, but it’s a good time. Plus, even when the game stinks (and last night’s game really stunk), you get to watch a whole bunch of movie trailers that have to be good because movie studios spent an exorbitant amount of money to buy this ad space. And if there’s one thing more American than the Super Bowl, it’s devoting a few thousand words to breaking down all of the noteworthy spots that premiered during last night’s game.

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The Jungle Book poster #3

It’s been nearly half a century since The Jungle Book hit theaters, and Disney figures that means it’s time for an upgrade. This spring brings Jon Favreau‘s new “live-action” version of Rudyard Kipling‘s classic story about a “man-cub” raised by a family of wolves.

“Live-action” is in quotes there because much of the movie is actually CG — cutting-edge, shockingly realistic CG that looks almost indistinguishable from real life, at least in the footage we’ve seen so far. Behind these CG animals will be an all-star voice cast including Idris ElbaScarlett JohanssonBen KingsleyChristopher Walken, and Bill Murray. The one character who’s definitely not a special effect will be the boy Mowgli, played by newcomer Neel Sethi.

Disney’s clearly got huge hopes for this one, and they’ve given it a cushy Super Bowl spot to tease the spectacle. Watch The Jungle Book Super Bowl spot after the jump. Read More »

best coen brothers scenes

The filmography of Joel and Ethan Coen is untouchable. Of their 17 films, at least a dozen of them are arguably great films and more than a few of them are genuine masterpieces. Ranking them is a fool’s errand. I know this because I have tried. Within a year, I wanted to erase the whole thing. Their work sticks with you, attaches itself to your mind and grows with you. Minor films become masterpieces over time. Little moments reveal their layers, their profundity, upon repeat viewings. The Coen brothers filmography feels alive – it’s always growing, always changing. Even their newest film Hail, Caesar (out today) threw me for a loop. I literally have no idea how I’ll feel about it tomorrow or six months from now.

So I’ve assembled a list of ten perfect scenes from the Coen canon. They are unranked, presented in chronological order, because I do not want to impose rigid form on something that I know will shift and change within a year or two. But right now, these scenes sum up why they’re special and their work should be celebrated. Few modern artists have showcased such range and fewer have dabbled in so many different genres and forms while maintaining their voice at every moment. These scenes represent a sublime partnership and the best modern cinema has to offer.

Spoilers follow, of course.

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Besson

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets isn’t quite a return to sci-fi for Luc Besson, as his last feature film, Lucy, was also in the genre. But Lucy didn’t share much in common with The Fifth Element, Besson’s 1997 hit. Valerian, his new movie and his biggest picture to date, seems to be more in the same mold as The Fifth Element. The sci-fi project stars Dane DeHaanCara Delevigne, Clive OwenJohn Goodman, and more, and it’s shooting right now. Get a look at some behind-the-scenes photos after the jump.

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singer

Bryan Singer isn’t done with the X-Men franchise just yet, but he already has his next project lined up. Following this summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, the director will tackle an adaptation of Jules Verne‘s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” The project will begin principal photography this fall.

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descender screenwriter

Over the past few years, I’ve watched my weekly comic book purchases change in some very telling ways. As my subscriptions to Marvel and DC books declined, I found myself reading more creator-owened series and the current king of that landscape is Image Comics. Which means I’ve been reading a ton of stuff with Image’s name on it and I’ve discovered countless engrossing and unique comic series that simply couldn’t exist under the “big two.”

One of those comics is Descender, a wonderful new-ish science fiction series from writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dustin Nguyen. Sony picked up the film rights one year ago and now they’ve finally tasked a writer with transforming the comic into a screenplay.

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Me Before You

Love is in the air, what with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, and that means it’s the perfect time for Warner Bros. to try and get you to swoon for Me Before You. Emilia Clarke (of Game of Thrones fame) and Sam Claflin (of Hunger Games fame) meet and fall for each other in Thea Sharrock‘s adaptation of Jojo Moyes‘ bestselling novel.

This being a romantic drama, of course there’s a tragic twist: he’s basically given up on life following a terrible accent that’s left him a quadriplegic, and she’s his caretaker. Moyes wrote the screenplay with Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter, who basically specialize in tearjerker romances these days — they’re also the duo behind The Spectacular NowThe Fault in Our Stars, and Paper Towns. The first Me Before You trailer has arrived today, and you can watch it after the jump. Read More »

the stand movie delayed

Hollywood has been flirting with a film adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Stand for years now, with A-list directors and actors constantly orbiting the project, only to drop out for reasons that are never fully disclosed. I’ll wager this reason: The Stand is a massive tome filled with so many important characters and so much incident that it that it feels borderline impossible to adapt properly. The not-very-good TV miniseries adaptation from 1994 had six hours and still couldn’t crack it.

And now, this long-gestating project has hit an interesting hiccup. The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone (who has been attached to this project for some time now) still plans to make The Stand, but he’s decided to put it on the back burner… while he directs a completely different Stephen King movie.

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