Yesterday we saw the first bit of footage from Oliver Stone‘s new film Savages, in which the girlfriend (Blake Lively)of two pot growers (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel, the better to get said growers to work for the bigger outfit.

The film features the sort of cast you’d expect to see Stone pull together: in addition to the leads there are Benicio Del Toro, Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Demian Bichir, Salma Hayek, Joel David Moore and Emile Hirsch, and it is shot in a style reminiscent of a few of his lurid ’90s entries such as U-Turn and Natural Born Killers. (Speaking of ’90s films, is Salma Hayek cosplaying as Thurman’s Pulp Fiction character Mia Wallace?)

Now we’ve got the full trailer, which sets up the story, offers a little bit of sex and violence, and shoves a knife through John Travolta. Check it out below. Read More »

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Think back to the Oliver Stone films of the 1990s. Not so much JFK and Nixon; more like U-Turn, Natural Born Killers and Any Given Sunday. Those films had a stylized, hyper-saturated color palette that clearly gave Tony Scott some ideas. For instance, on U-Turn, Stone’s cinematographer Robert Richardson shot on reversal film stock — which becomes a transparent positive when developed, rather than a traditional negative — and then cross-processed it as negative film, increasing contrast and color saturation. Tony Scott and Daniel Mindel used the same technique for Domino almost a decade later.

Point is, Stone seems to have gone back to that exaggerated look for his new film Savages, which adapts Don Winslow‘s novel about two small-time pot dealers (Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch) whose mutual girlfriend (Blake Lively) is kidnapped in an attempt to strong-arm them into working with a Mexican drug cartel, which counts Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro amongst its members. John Travolta is also in the film; Stone borrowed him from Tony Scott.

If you saw the first poster for the film when Pete ran it in Page 2 yesterday you’ll know something about the look Stone is going for. But now there is a brief montage of footage showing off that stylish, colorful look the director first relied on almost 20 years ago. I have to say, I like it quite a bit. Read More »

We’ve occasionally followed the development of 7 Days in Havana, an anthology film in which seven directors each chronicle one day in Havana, Cuba. The attraction is the set of directors, which includes Benicio Del Toro, making only his second time in the director’s chair (with Josh Hutcherson from The Hunger Games in his cast) and Argentine firebrand Gaspar Noe, who last made Enter the Void and is generally associated with French cinema thanks to his films Irreversible and I Stand Alone.

We know that Noe’s movies are often quite visually distinctive, so here’s your test for the day: can you watch the trailer below and guess right off which footage comes from Noe? (Answer: probably not.) Read More »

Good news for those eager to find out exactly why Benicio del Toro is picking on Blake Lively in that first image from Savages: Universal has just shifted the opening date for Oliver Stone‘s latest from September 28 to July 6. Savages is the only film currently scheduled to go up against Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which hits three days before on Tuesday, July 3. It’s a bold move on the studio’s part, but it may also be a smart one — Savages could be ideal counter-programming to the comedies, actioners, and superhero flicks due out around the same time this summer.

Based on a book by Don Winslow, Savages stars Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson as a pair of small-time pot dealers who get roped into working for a Mexican cartel that kidnaps their shared girlfriend (Lively). The impressive cast also includes Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, John Travolta, Demián Bichir, and Emile Hirsch.

After the jump, new release dates for Clint Eastwood’s Trouble With the Curve, Drafthouse Films’ The FP, and lesser known Oscar nominees Bullhead (also from Drafthouse Films) and Chico & Rita.

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Briefly: Oliver Stone‘s new film is Savages, based on Don Winslow‘s novel of the same name, about two small-time pot growers (Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson) and their shared girlfriend O (Blake Lively). Their little world gets messed up when O is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel as a means of strong-arming the two guys into working for the cartel.

This first image from the film shows Lively as she’s held by the cartel, where she is evidently smoked out in a rather menacing way by one primary henchman, played by Benicio Del Toro. The rest of the cast is notable: Uma Thurman is O’s mom; Salma Hayek is the cartel boss and John Travolta is a DEA agent. Emile Hirsch and Demián Bichir have roles as well. Savages doesn’t hit until September 28, so we might have to wait a while for a trailer. [Universal via Empire]

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This week, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley chat about the virtues of the Elite Squad films, praise Puss in Boots as a film better than its marketing would suggest, and try not to lose all hope in John Carter and the live action Akira remake. Special guest Eric D. Snider joins us from Film.com and Movie BS. Also, correction: Cell 211 is available on Netflix in what appears to be a region 1 DVD!

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Sunday (12/11) at Slashfilm’s live page at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST, where we’ll be reviewing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Check out this Tor.com essay on Akira.

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Here’s the downside to trying to develop a highly-anticipated movie in secret, as practiced by J.J. Abrams: rumors will always poke holes whatever shroud producers, directors and studios try to draw around a film. For the last few weeks we’ve been under the impression that Benicio Del Toro would be in the Star Trek sequel that Abrams is prepping right now, and the persistent speculation has been that he would play Khan. That speculation gained steam, evolving fully into rumor last week, thanks to a report from Latino Review, and despite a denial Abrams provided to HitFix.

Now we might have some context for that denial, as Vulture reports that Benicio del Toro won’t be in the film after all, because his deal talks broke down last week. Read More »

[Update: J.J. Abrams has stated that this rumor is "Not true." In his original story, El Mayimbe said to "expect rebuttals and denials." Which one is telling the truth? We probably won't know for sure for awhile. Original story follows.]

A few weeks ago, we heard that J.J. Abrams wanted Benicio Del Toro for a villain role in the forthcoming Star Trek sequel. Back then, Germain speculated that Del Toro might be a great fit for the role of Khan. Now, El Mayimbe over at Latino Review has heard from unnamed sources that Del Toro will in fact be taking on the role of Khan Noonien Singh.
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