Since getting into filmmaking over thirty years ago, Robert Zemeckis has had an incredible career. He’s tackled multiple genres, won Oscars, written some of the most revered films ever and then, after about twenty years, he took a dramatic turn. Zemeckis began making films with a new technology called performance capture and experienced great success. Exploring in the playground of animation, and advancing a technology in its infancy, confirmed his innovative tendencies, but some argued that it began to overshadow his talent for storytelling.

That talent is back on display in Flight, Zemeckis’ first live action film in over a decade. It’s about an airline pilot named Whip (Denzel Washington) who lands a distressed plane while intoxicated. Is is a hero? A drunk? Can he be both? The film asks lots of complicated questions with not always complicated answers. Still, it’s filled with intense moments, emotional resonance, and plenty of surprises for the audience.

One thing that’s not a surprise is that Zemeckis has still got it, and that talent is well on display in several minutes of B-roll footage that’s been released. Check it out below. Read More »

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After a dozen-year stretch in Uncanny Valley, Robert Zemeckis has returned to the world of live-action with the substance abuse drama Flight. It’s not the smoothest ride. The film’s alcoholism plotline veers toward the generic, the symbolism is often so blunt as to be laughable, and the supporting players are mostly one-note.

What keeps it on course, however, is the compassionate but honest character study at its core. Zemeckis and screenwriter John Gatins (Real Steel) have an iron grip on who Captain William “Whip” Whitaker is and what makes him tick, and Denzel Washington‘s grounded performance maintains the audience’s sympathy without sugarcoating Whip’s nasty side.

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With the fall movie season well underway, we have new promos for two releases due out in November. The first is a 90-second spot for Flight, Robert Zemeckis‘ long-awaited return to live action. Denzel Washington stars as a pilot who’s lauded as a hero when miraculously saves a plane full of passengers with a deft crash-landing. But as an investigation digs deeper into the circumstances surrounding the incident, the story and his life begins to unravel.

The other is an extended TV spot for Rise of the Guardians, a DreamWorks Animation tale about all the mythological figures of childhood imagination — Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc. — banding together to save the world from an evil spirit called Pitch. Watch both videos after the jump.

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A fresh batch of posters for three films on our radar have just hit the web. The ones for Allen HughesBroken City and Robert ZemeckisFlight both rely heavily on star power, which seems like a reasonable strategy when said stars include Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, and Denzel Washington.

The pretty, snowy poster for David Chase‘s Not Fade Away, meanwhile, captures the heady feeling of youthful romance and rock n’ roll. Get a peek at all three after the jump.

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Universal is Working on a ‘Safe House’ Sequel

Briefly: David Guggenheim went from US Weekly editor to big-time screenwriter thanks in part to his script for what became the Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds thriller Safe House. And now Universal has set him to write another one.

THR has the news, and says that Reynolds would likely return, though a deal hasn’t been made. Working Denzel Washington into the sequel will be more difficult, though THR’s sources say Universal wants him. Which makes sense, as audiences like Denzel. But it doesn’t make sense to anyone who saw the first film. Could be a prequel then — but if so, the involvement of Reynolds doesn’t make much sense, as the setup for his character was of a young, inexperienced CIA agent.

No word on the involvement, or lack thereof, of original Safe House director Daniel Espinosa. Guggenheim, meanwhile, also wrote Stolen, the rather terrible-looking Nicolas Cage movie, and Narco Sub, which was going to be a Tony Scott film before the director’s passing.

 

Briefly: Yesterday we told you about Candy Store, the crime thriller script that Syriana writer/director Stepen Gaghan is set to make as his next feature. Brad Pitt and Denzel Washington may end up in the film’s two lead roles, and now we know that the production wants Christoph Waltz, too. Even better, in the same report that tags Watlz as a hopeful (an offer is out to the actor) The Wrap details some of he plot, so we’ve got a better idea of what to exect from the film.

The film follows “an elite, highly trained deep-cover operative who loses everything, ultimately disappearing into Brooklyn, where he must start again. He washes up as a beat cop, only to discover the global organization he was dedicated to fighting is also operating in his new backyard.” That’s gotta sting. The role for which Pitt is sought is Mark Swain, and in the event he doesn’t bite there is a long list of popular actors that producers are ready to approach: Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Bradley Cooper.

Waltz would play a guy named Black Zenga, which sounds like a villain role if I’ve ever heard one.

Stephen Gaghan, who wrote Traffic and directed Syriana, is now set to direct the thriller Candy Store for LionsGate. The film is a crime thriller for which we have few details, but the names might be all you need to know: Brad Pitt and Denzel Washington have started to circle the two lead roles. Read More »

A script that finds serious studio favor can push a project from long-simmering development into full boil, and that seems to have happened with Sony and The Equalizer. Based on the TV series in which Edward Woodward played a former covert ops expert who donates his services to people in trouble, the film will star Denzel Washington as a new version of the title character.

Richard Wenk recently turned in a new script draft, and Sony likes it enough to push for an April 2013 start date, with a shoot likely to take place in Boston. Some details about the new Equalizer are after the break. Read More »

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