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 »

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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Probably the most intriguing aspect of the Timur Bekmambetov-produced alien invasion flick The Darkest Hour is the film’s unique take on aliens. Unlike your typical movie ET, these otherwordly baddies take the form of “lethal wave energy” that renders them invisible, and therefore extra dangerous, most of the time. And when they do catch up with their prey, their unusual makeup also allows them to kill off the human protagonists in creative and nifty-looking ways. These aliens aren’t content to just maim or kill — any creature with the misfortune to fall into their path disintegrates completely.

Sound cool? The marketing team behind the movie thinks so, too, as indicated by their choice to feature an alien attack as the focus of the motion poster. Directed by Chris Gorak, The Darkest Hour stars Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby, and Rachael Taylor as a group of friends who find themselves stranded in Moscow after a crushing alien attack. Check out the motion poster after the jump.

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‘The Darkest Hour’ Concept Art Revealed

In September of2010, I was lucky enough to visit the set of The Darkest Hour in Moscow Russia. I will be posting updates and interviews from the set visit in the coming months. Summit Entertainment has provided the group of visitors an exclusive look at concept art of the locations from the film. The Timur Bekmambetov-produced alien invasion movie titled The Darkest Hour has been described as a 28 Days Later-type thriller following a group of American tourists visiting Moscow Russia when an alien invasion occurs. The image above shows the iconic Red Square, “the scene of desolation in the post-alien invasion world of The Darkest Hour.”

The film stars Emile Hirsch (Speed Racer, Into the Wild), Olivia Thirlby (Juno, The Wackness), and Max Minghella (Bee Season, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, Agora, The Social Network). Chris Gorak directed the film, with a script by M.T. Ahern and Leslie Bohem with revisions by Gorak, Jon Spaihts, and Josh Zetumer. The film was shot last Summer in Moscow, and the Russian backdrop is sure to provide the story with a very unique look and tone. Also, the aliens in the film are very unlike the designs and concepts we’ve seen in recent years. I will write more about the locations after I return from my Canadian travels this week. After the jump you can see 12 concept art images from the film.

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We’ve been teased for some time with info and concept images from The Darkest Hour, the sci-fi film in which Emile Hirsch is trapped in Moscow fighting ball-lightning aliens who have come to take all of our precious energy. The trailer dropped earlier this week, and it seems to hide the ‘true forms’ of the aliens pretty well — if in fact they have true forms beyond being flashes of energy. But a closer look suggests that there is definitely more to be seen, and a couple of images will point that out after the break.

A note: this isn’t some grand reveal, as the images below are right in the trailer. But they pass quick enough that people who only gave the clip a cursory glance might not have noticed the detail. That said, proceed! Read More »

‘The Darkest Hour’ Trailer and More Concept Art

We’ve already gotten a couple of glimpses at The Darkest Hour, but concept art and one unremarkable photo can only tell us so much. It doesn’t matter how nifty the concept art looks if the ideas fall apart in translation, and that image (above) of star Emile Hirsch cowering behind a car could be from any film set in Moscow. So I’m happy to get our first really good look of what to expect from Chris Gorak‘s Timur Bekmambetov-produced alien invasion film, in the form of a trailer. Check it out after the jump, along with a couple new pieces of concept art.

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The Darkest Hour, the new alien invasion film from producer Timur Bekmambetov and director Chris Gorak, is trying to differentiate itself from the scores of other alien films with a unique breed of invader: one made entirely of “lethal wave energy.”

It remains to be seen just how unique the film itself will be, but after getting a sneak peek at a trailer and some early concept art today at a Comic-Con press event, I can tell you it will at least look cool. The film centers on a group of young people — played by Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor — who are visiting Moscow when the aliens attack. Together they have to figure out a way to survive and fight back against the aliens, who have no physical bodies and can vaporize them in an instant. Read More »

With this year’s summer movie season winding down, it’s time to look forward to upcoming entertainments. Today, we’ve got new photos from this December’s The Darkest Hour and next spring’s Snow White, as well as a composite photo from the highly anticipated The Hobbit adaptation. Check ’em out after the jump.

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Scarlett Johansson may seem like an unlikely lead for a Judd Apatow film, but in this context her casting actually makes a lot of sense. Johansson has signed on to star in Can a Song Save Your Life?, which will be written and directed by John Carney (Once) and produced by Apatow. The film follows “a washed-up A&R man who forms a passionate bond with a young singer-songwriter (Johansson) from out of town.”

The project calls for Johansson to sing, which shouldn’t be a problem for the actress. Johansson is in fact a professional singer, having released an album of Tom Waits covers titled Anywhere I Lay My Head back in 2008 and a collaboration with Pete Yorn called Break Up in 2009. Though the male lead has yet to be cast, Mark Ruffalo and Jim Carrey have been rumored as possibilities. (FWIW, I vote Ruffalo.) Shooting on the film will begin in New York City next year. [The Playlist]

After the jump, new gigs for the stars of Twilight, Wizards of Waverly Place, and the late-’90s/early-’00s teen alien show Roswell. Gosh, remember that?

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

We had a couple of days where mid-level casting for a lot of projects was going crazy. Maybe there was something in the air; maybe casting directors and agents just all got together and had a field day. It’s been a bit slower today, but still there are a couple of items to catch up on. After the break, you’ll find info on how:

  • Robin Williams appears to be cast in Gently Down the Stream, with Robert De Niro and Susan Sarandon.
  • Joel David Moore (Avatar) will be in Oliver Stone’s Savages.
  • and Katie Cassidy takes the lead in Freaky Deaky. Read More »