The War Magician

Next fall we’ll see Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch get mystical in Marvel Studios’ Phase Three project Doctor Strange, but after that, he’s going to get magical with a true story out of World War II.

Cumberbatch, who was just recently seen as a controversially androgynous model in Zoolander 2, has been attached to star in The War Magician, a thriller about a world famous magician who used his sleight-of-hand tricks and stunts to help the Allied forces defeat the Nazis. That sounds like something a writer would make up, but it’s actually true. Read More »

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13 Hours posters

On Veterans Day, I was invited to Paramount Pictures to preview 25 minutes of footage from Michael Bay‘s new film 13 Hours, followed by a post-screening reception with Bay, producer Erwin Stiff, and the real-life heroes portrayed in the film: Mark ‘Oz’ Geist and John ‘Tig’ Tiegan. What I saw from the film was unlike any Michael Bay film I’ve seen before. Sure, the footage was everything we expect from Bay: explosive, intense and beautifully cinematic (yes, you know I’m a fan), but the tone and feel of the story was unlike his previous work: it felt more grounded, more serious. Somehow this contained story based on real-life events about an attack on an American compound in another country felt more epic than giant transforming robot aliens battling it out on Earth. If you haven’t yet, watch the trailers for the film here.

After the footage, I was honored to talk to some of the real-life heroes that the movie is based upon. I was taken aback and moved by the stories of these contractors who selflessly put themselves in danger. Tig showed me where pieces of shrapnel went through his body, leaving huge scars. Just hearing his stories made my body hurt and feel like much less of a man.

These guys acted as consultants on the film, and I want to share one story I heard that night: It was about the first meeting they had with director Michael Bay. One of them suggested to Bay that he could maybe squeeze in a T&A shot of his girlfriend getting dressed as his character leaves to go to work at the beginning of the film. Without any hesitation, Bay responded (note: I’m paraphrasing) “This isn’t the film for that.” The consultant replied, “Good, I was just testing you — I was going to walk right out that door if you agreed.” I thought that was funny, yet really telling about this story. It’s not your typical Michael Bay movie.

After the jump you can see three new posters for Michael Bay’s 13 Hours, which Paramount has given to us to premiere.

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EYE IN THE SKY

Traditional war movies are still around, but as drones increasingly replace or complement soldiers on the ground, real wars are looking less and less like them. Over the past few years we’ve seen a few films attempt to grapple with the new reality, and the latest to try is Gavin Hood‘s Eye in the Sky.

The thriller, which premiered at TIFF earlier this year, weaves together all the different concerns, conversations, and choices that go into a drone strike. Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman play military leaders, Aaron Paul a drone pilot, and Barkhad Abdi an undercover agent. All are anxious to prevent a potential suicide bombing, but their mission becomes infinitely more complicated when a little girl enters the kill zone.

Watch the Eye in the Sky trailer after the jump. Read More »

JOY

A big year just got bigger for Jennifer LawrenceThe Hunger Games franchise was recently completed with Mockingjay – Part 2, and later next month we’ll see her in David O. Russell‘s Joy, a potential Awards contender. The 25-year-old actress just announced she’ll soon make her directorial debut.

Learn more about Lawrence’s potential film after the jump.

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Val Kilmer joining Top Gun 2

A sequel to the fighter jet action thriller Top Gun has been gestating for years, but the project hit a snag a few years ago when director Tony Scott tragically passed away. But when Jerry Bruckheimer struck a new deal at Paramount Pictures, Top Gun 2 was part of the deal, and last year Justin Marks was hired to write the script.

Now it seems like the project is moving along as Val Kilmer took to Facebook last night to reveal that he’s been offered the chance to reprise his role as Iceman in the sequel, and he quickly accepted. Read More »

WWII Film Release Date

Robert Zemeckis is coming off of one of the rare bombs in his career. The Walk, which cost a reported $35 million, has made under $40 million worldwide. The director of Back to the FutureForrest GumpCast Away, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? hasn’t made too many financial duds in his career, but The Walk is now amongst them. Zemeckis is quickly moving forward, though, as his next project, a WWII romantic thriller, begins principal photography soon for release in 2016.

Learn more about the project after the jump.

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You know the drill by now. A movie doesn’t even have to be super-beloved or crazy recognizable to earn an expansion to the TV series format. Now it’s Behind Enemy Lines getting the film-to-TV treatment, as the 2001 film, which originally starred Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson in relatively rare action/thriller mode, inspires a drama series that has Fox interested.  Read More »

Netflix buys Beasts of No Nation

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Miles Teller in Whiplash

Fantastic Four was an undeniable low point in Miles Teller‘s career, but he’s already brushing himself off and moving on with an intriguing new role. He’s in talks to star in Thank You For Your Service, a PTSD drama from American Sniper writer Jason Hall. Get details on the Miles Teller Thank You For Your Service casting after the jump.  Read More »