I’m going to have to hold my thoughts on this footage for Rod Lurie‘s remake of the landmark Sam Peckinpah film Straw Dogs, because after watching the trailer a couple times I’m still second-guessing what the intentions are.

What I can see is that this trailer is selling a very straight-up thriller, in which James Marsden and Kate Bosworth (both looking better than I expected — this might be a career high for Kate Bosworth, not that such a thing means much) have to deal with the advances of a bunch of tough rednecks when they move back to her hometown in Louisiana. The trailer gives most of the structure of the film away — basically two acts of intimidation followed by one extended siege setpiece — but doesn’t really give away what the movie is doing. So is it really a straight thriller? I doubt it, because that’s not in the DNA of Peckinpah’s original, and I suspect Rod Lurie’s plans to remake the film were more ambitious than delivering a mere thriller.

Check the trailer after the break and see what you think. Read More »

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Let’s hear it for film as the people’s medium! Katie Aselton, who made The Freebie, is directing and starring in a thriller called Black Rock, written by her husband, Mark Duplass (Baghead, Cyrus). The film is about “what happens when three childhood friends meet for a weekend getaway on an isolated island and discover that they have company.” The cast is pretty much set, and also includes Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth, Jay Paulson, Anslem Richardson and Will Bouvier. But this isn’t a big-budget deal; as the involvement of Mark Duplass would suggest, it’s a pretty small film that comes from a personal space. And it is looking for audience help to take the final step to creation. Read More »

When Hop came out last month, bringing James Marsden back into the public eye, I wondered one thing: where the hell is Straw Dogs? Rod Lurie scripted and directed a remake of Sam Peckinpah‘s polarizing film nearly two years ago, putting the movie into production in late 2009. Doing so attracted no small amount of negative attention, as the original film was one which sharply divided audiences but stands as one of Peckinpah’s most significant achievements. How does one make a new version, especially with James Marsden standing in for Dustin Hoffman? (No offense to James Marsden, but some simple truths must be faced, and one is that very few actors are equal to a young Dustin Hoffman.)

We’ve not seen any footage from Straw Dogs, and in fact we’ve had a peek at barely any materials at all. So here are some of the first real images from the movie. They’re not wildly exciting — neither will give you any idea of how Rod Lurie has actually handled the remake — but they serve to remind us that the movie does in fact exist. Read More »

With an adaptation of Jack Kerouac‘s On The Road currently awaiting release, someone is already stepping up to adapt another of the beat author’s famous works. Michael Polish, the director of Twin Falls Idaho, Northfork and The Astronaut Farmer, has written and begun directing Big Sur, a film based on the Kerouac novel that tells the story of his emotional troubles after gaining fame and fortune. It’ll star Jean-Marc Barr (Dogville) as Kerouac, Josh Lucas as Neal Cassady and Kate Bosworth as their female companion Billie. Big Sur will also feature turns from Anthony Edwards, Rahda Mitchell, Balthazar Getty and Henry Thomas. Read more after the break. Read More »

Behind every man on a mental mission to Mars is a good woman. Or, in the case of Douglas Quaid in Total Recall, a good and a bad woman. As director Len Wiseman preps his Summer 2012 remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger/Paul Verhoeven film set to star Colin Farrell in the lead, the next big step is bringing those women to life. The two man roles are Quaid’s wife Lori, who was originally played by Sharon Stone, and his female counterpart on Mars, Melinda, originally played by Rachel Ticotin. According to Deadline, several major actresses are currently reading for both roles including Kate Bosworth and Diane Kruger for Lori and Eva Mendes, Paula Patton, Jessica Biel and Eva Green for Melinda. Read more after the break. Read More »

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The ‘special forces soldier versus Mexican gangs’ action film Protection has gone through a lot of changes. Originally to be directed by Simon West, the film got a new director in District 13: Ultimatum helmer Patrick Alessandrin. Paul Walker was originally the lead, then he was replaced by Clive Owen. Now the film has a new lead and needs a new director.

Dwayne Johnson is now attached to star in Protection, and Allessandrin has left the project, with no one yet replacing him. Brandon Noonan‘s script is still in play; it follows ” a disgraced former Special Forces soldier who takes on a Mexican cartel in an attempt to rescue and protect a judge’s 21 year-old daughter, who has been targeted by the cartel for agreeing to testify against one of its members after she witnesses her father’s murder.” Given all the movement on this one, it’s hard to believe we’ll see it any time soon, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Johnson do an actual action movie for a change. [The Wrap]

After the break, a host of actors for Goodnight Moon (not based on the kids’ bedtime book) and Emma Roberts does Homework. Read More »

Straw Dogs Remake Rounds Up Cast

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Variety have named Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgard, alongside the previously cast James Marsden, as the three key players in the Straw Dogs remake. Marsden will be playing a screenwriter relocating to Mississippi from LA, Bosworth his wife who travelled to La La Land with aspirations to become an actress, and Skarsgard her high school boyfriend who sees her return home to Mississippi as a way to reignite his lost reputation in the town.

When I heard that Straw Dogs is being remade, I wanted to hear that it would be handled by a director as unflinching and uncompromising as Sam Peckinpah, helmsman of the original (Chan Wook Park would have been ideal, for example). That it is Rod Lurie in charge, sometime film critic now best known for (occasionally polemical) political dramas like The Contender or TV’s Commander In Chief, leaves me both weary and a little curious. Whatever else he may or may not be, Lurie certainly isn’t a guy to pursue an easy gig with a simple knock-off cash in.

Read More »

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When Sngmoo Lee‘s debut film was initially announced, the title was Laundry Warrior. Now that far more distinctive title has been ditched for the less provocative, perhaps even less mysterious, The Warrior’s Way. A promo reel for the Wuxia Western – think Samurai swordplay on the old West frontier – has appeared to leak online, via YouTube where it was discovered by 24fps. As it is unofficial and premature, don’t expect it to be entirely indicative of the finished product (as if that was ever true of officially sanctioned trailers anyway) but you can catch it after the break and get, I think, a good idea of the fun in store.

Read More »

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