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Elijah Wood has spent the last couple years doing new stuff. He toplined the gruesome and controversial remake of Maniac, and this year is in two thrillers from Spanish directors. We just saw the trailer for the first, Nacho Vigalondo’s Open Windows, and now here’s a look at the other.

Grand Piano is directed by Eugenio Mira (Agnosia), and sees Wood as a skilled concert pianist who is performing under threat of death. Though this first trailer is entirely in Spanish, you can easily sense the threatening tone, and get an idea about how the somewhat ridiculous premise might turn into a pretty neat thriller. And why does John Cusack have a rifle? Find out below. Read More »

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The last time we saw anything from The Frozen Ground, in which Nicolas Cage plays a detective on the trail of a serial killer played by John Cusack, it was an artless sales trailer that didn’t do the film any favors. Made it look like a direct to DVD throwaway, in fact. This theatrical teaser is a better look at the movie, if only because it leaves some mystery for the story to reveal.

Surprisingly, this also minimizes the presence of Vanessa Hudgens, who plays a prostitute who escaped the killer’s clutches and is working with the cops to capture him. A cheery intro from Hudgens contrasts with the chilly, creepy tone of the trailer, but we’ll have to wait to see how much she really plays into this telling of the true crime story. Read More »

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Left to his own devices Lee Daniels makes films that are eccentric and sometimes just way the hell out there. (The Paperboy) But he has called his newest film, The Butler, “a big compromise” and explained that the film might be “the closest I will come to as a work-for-hire.” Does that mean that, on the relative scale of whackadoo films, The Butler will be far closer to “normal” than anything else he’s made?

Hard to say at this point, but the first trailer suggests that there’s some weird stuff going on here. There’s the parade of cameo players appearing as a string of US Presidents. Among them is John Cusack‘s turn as Richard Nixon, which is… interesting. Then there’s Alex Pettyfer playing an uber-douchebag cotton farm overseer, and the digital effects and makeup that shave a few decades off lead Forest Whitaker in some scenes.

Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines, who served several different President as the White House butler, and the trailer suggests the film traces his entire life story, using it to frame the sweep of the civil rights movement. It’s a good story, but this trailer looks a lot like a parody that might show up on SNL. So we’ll see — maybe The Butler will be just as crazy as the rest of Daniels’ work. Read More »

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David Cronenberg‘s next film is Maps to the Stars, based on a script which has been said to eviscerate the celebrity culture of Los Angeles. The director has described it as an extreme piece of work that centers on “two child actors ruined by Hollywood’s depravity.”

Cronenberg announced at Cannes last year that he planned to work again with Cosmopolis actors Robert Pattinson and Sarah Gadon. At the time Viggo Mortensen was mentioned as another possible cast member, but now he has recruited two different actors: Julianne Moore and John Cusack. (It’s surprising that Moore and Cronenberg have never worked together before now; they seem like a fairly natural fit.) Read More »

Hot Tub Time Machine

There’s a lot to look at in today’s Sequel Bits, including concept art for G.I. Joe: Retaliation and a bloody new image from The Raid 2: Berandal. Also after the jump:

  • Director offers status update and possible title for Tron 3
  • John Cusack may be back for Hot Tub Time Machine 2 this summer
  • Transformers 4 will shoot in May; is Shia LaBeouf returning?
  • Producer says a G.I. Joe / Transformers crossover is “possible”
  • Lindsay Lohan parodies herself in a Scary Movie 5 image

Read More »

 

No one has ever truly confirmed the full intent of the numbers stations. For decades — since WWII, some say since WWI — shortwave broadcasts around the world have repeated strings of numbers for unknown recipients. The voices are male and female, some children, some synthesized. Supposedly the stations are government-maintained, the numbers strings of one-time pad code. None have ever been acknowledged in an official capacity. Some still broadcast.

The stations have invaded popular consciousness in small ways: a huge collection of recordings was released as The Conet Project; one of those recordings found its way into Wilco’s song ‘Poor Places;’ another is used in ‘Gyroscope‘ by Boards of Canada. The show Lost famously used the idea of the stations as part of its incorporation of a string of powerful numbers into the main storyline.

And now a numbers station is the setting and namesake for a routine-looking thriller starring John Cusack and Malin Akerman. Read More »

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John Cusack Developing Rush Limbaugh Biopic

I don’t know what’s going on with John Cusack this season, but fans of the actor are likely pretty happy. Last week he was announced as the lead for three new features: an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Cell, the “Duel in the sky” thriller Airspace, and the financial world drama Due Process.

Now he’s got one more new project, and it’s one that will have some audiences hungry to see the outcome: Cusack is attached to play radio host and giant worthless political gasbag Rush Limbaugh in a biopic called Rush. Read More »

John Cusack is on a roll this week at the American Film Market, and he’s bringing Roger Avary (along for the ride. The writer/director has had his share of trouble in the last few years thanks to a DUI-related vehicular manslaughter conviction, but he’s getting back in the news in a positive way with a couple new projects.

The first is Airspace, written by Briana Hartman (Brother’s Keeper), in which Avary would direct Cusack as a charter pilot who is en route home but “must escape a sudden attack by a heavily armed MiG fighter jet after finding a mysterious briefcase in his plane.” It’s described in shorthand as “Duel in the sky,” referencing Steven Spielberg’s early thriller. Avary is polishing the script, says Variety.

And then there’s an old Avary project that has been revived: the film adaptation of the classic Castle Wolfenstein video games, which he’ll write and direct. Read More »

Stephen King has been good to John Cusack. One of the actor’s earliest roles was a minor part in Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me, which adapted King’s novella The Body, from Different Seasons. And then King’s story 1408 provided the basis for a film of the same name that was a 2007 hit starring Cusack.

Now Cusack will go back to King’s imagination, as he has been set to star in an adaptation of the author’s novel Cell, “about a father’s odyssey to find his wife and son in the wake of a catastrophic pulse transmitted via mobile phones.” When the pulse hit, anyone using their phone was tranformed into a murderous, mindless monster, and Cusack will have to navigate that landscape. Read More »

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