White House Down Tatum Foxx

Roland Emmerich‘s White House Down is the second of two “Die Hard on Pennsylvania Avenue” pics to hit screens this year, but if it delivers on the promises made by this four-minute final trailer, it could just blow the other one out of the water altogether. It has all the ingredients for a satisfying summer blockbuster: tons of big, explosive action; a liberal sprinkling of humor; and even some cute buddy-cop rapport between Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx. Watch it after the jump.

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White House Down Tatum Foxx

The first trailer for White House Down was exactly that: down. It had a very somber feel, almost like the movie was a drama with action elements. Now a second trailer for this summer’s Roland Emmerich blockbuster has been released and it goes for the opposite feel. There’s huge action, great character interaction, and, of course, the destruction of several Washington DC landmarks. This is the White House Down we all want.

In the film, Channing Tatum stars as John Cale, a would-be Secret Service agent who loses his daughter (Joey King) and must protect the President (Jamie Foxx) when terrorists take over the White House. You can read all about the epic production in my set visit here, or just click below and see the kick-ass new trailer. Read More »

Conjuring Vera Farmiga

Saw, Dead Silence, Insidious and now The Conjuring. It would be very easy to assume the latest horror film from director James Wan to be another in a long string of scary films right in the director’s wheelhouse. However as this new trailer shows, and as Wan said at WonderCon this past weekend, he doesn’t feel he has anything more to prove in the genre. He was drawn to The Conjuring because its basis in fact, period setting and family dynamic gave him a whole new creative jolt.

The Conjuring, out July 19, stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as real life paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren. Best known for their work on what would become known as “The Amityville Horror,” this story of small-town family haunted by spirits is supposedly so terrifying, the Warrens preferred not to talk about it. The film follows suit, gaining an R-rating without any language or graphic violence. At WonderCon, producers said the MPAA just deemed it “too scary” to give a PG-13.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Sam Raimi was faced with a predicament. Two of the characters in his upcoming film  Oz The Great and Powerful are completely fantastical (a flying talking monkey and a foot tall talking/walking breakable china ceramic doll) but he didn’t want to have the characters to be completely created and performed in post production, and he also didn’t want to use performance capture as it sometimes results in very robotic-looking performances.

Trust me, you will be amazed at the computer generated performances in this film. How did Raimi and team pull it off? Find out after the jump.

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In October 2011, I got to visit the wonderful world of Oz and watch director Sam Raimi direct his preboot (prequel/reboot) of the classic L. Frank Baum book series. I learned much on the set of Oz: The Great and Powerful. Most fascinating to me was some of the things Disney had to do satisfy legal concerns over possibly violating copyrighted imagery from the classic 1939 film adaptation, owned by Warner Bros.

And while trailers for the film focus on wholly computer-generated worlds and characters, you might be shocked to learn the lengths that Sam Raimi went through to shoot a lot of the film practically. For example, it was interesting to see Raimi inventing new practical solutions to help the supporting actors create and react to live performances for characters who would eventually be created in CG — and I’m not talking about performance capture.

After the jump you can watch a video blog we recorded talking about the visit, followed by many more things I learned while on the set.

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One would imagine Sam Raimi is planning on being incredibly respectful to the original Wizard of Oz with his 2013 3D prequel, Oz The Great and Powerful. There’s just no way the filmmaker would even think to tackle such a mythos unless he could pay homage to the classic film in new and interesting ways. One of those ways has just been revealed thanks to one of the film’s young stars. Joey King, who also stars in The Dark Knight Rises, revealed in an interview that the film begins, and presumably ends, in black and white just like the original. Read her quote and more after the jump. Read More »

With the press release announcing the commencement of shooting on Sam Raimi‘s Oz the Great and Powerful, I’d hoped we might have some small casting additions. Maybe a role for Ted Raimi? Nothing new on that front, however. So we’ll make do with the knowledge that James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams lead the cast.

The release does have a few good tidbits of info, however, such as the fact that cinematographer Peter Deming (Evil Dead II, Drag Me to Hell, Lost Highway) is shooting. That’s great news; I’ve been a big fan of Mr. Deming’s work for many years, and thought he did a wonderful job on Drag Me to Hell.  Additionally, Howard Berger is “[creating] the looks of several of the unique denizens of Oz, including creatures such as the Whimsies, the Tinkers and the Winkies, as well as the ghastly look of the Wicked Witch of the West.”

The official synopsis follows after the break. Read More »

Briefly: Given that Christopher Nolan is now shooting The Dark Knight Rises, we probably won’t see too many more notable names added to the cast. In fact, this might be the last: Josh Stewart from The Collector and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has taken an unknown role in the film. Like many of the other recent cast announcements, his part may not be significant, but he joins what is looking like an impressive ensemble cast.

So we’ve got returning actors Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman; Michael Caine as Alfred; Gary Oldman as James Gordon; and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, with newcomers Tom Hardy as Bane; Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle; Juno Temple as a “street-smart Gotham girl;” Josh Pence as young Ra’s al Ghul; Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, “a Gotham City beat cop;” Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate; and Matthew Modine, Tom Conti, Joey King, Brett Cullen, Chris Ellis, Daniel Sunjata, Diego Klattenhoff and Burn Gorman. Quite a lineup, and you know we’ll keep you posted (possibly in Superhero Bits) with any new pieces of info that come out. [Variety]

Briefly: The latest addition to Sam Raimi‘s soon-to-shoot Oz: The Great and Powerful is a slightly unexpected one. Zach Braff is finishing up his negotiations to join the film. He’ll play Frank, “the loyal but under-appreciated assistant to Oz (James Franco).” Oz is transported to the land of Oz (some name confusion there) when his hot-air balloon is blown off-course; we can expect that Frank is dutifully manning the fire, and probably gets the blame for the course mismanagement that lands Oz in Oz.

The cast also features Mila Kunis as the witch Theodora, and Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz are finalizing talks to play her two sisters Glinda and Evanora. Joey King will play China Girl, to whom Oz becomes a sort of surrogate father after her family is wiped out by Evanora. Oz: The Great and Powerful starts shooting in Michigan in July; it is scheduled for release on March 8, 2013. [Deadline]

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Jamie Chung has two big Legendary Pictures films behind her this year, Sucker Punch and The Hangover Part II, and now (probably not as a response) she’s going indie for the film Knife Fight. That’s the one starring Rob Lowe where he plays “a political crisis manager who specializes in playing hardball on behalf of scandal-plagued clients.” Jamie Chung will be his savvy assistant. Quite a few other people are in talks for roles, too: Julie Bowen, Connie Britton, Jennifer Morrison, Rebecca Mader and Titus Welliver. Bill Guttentag directs and co-wrote the script with Chris Lehane; the film will shoot next month in San Francisco, and a release is planned for October 2012, timed around the next US Presidential election.

Before Knife Fight makes it to theaters, Jamie Chung will be in Premium Rush, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and was written and directed by David Koepp. [Variety]

After the break, Oz: The Great and Powerful and American Reunion get minor additions. Read More »