South by Southwest is starting this week and one of the more surprising, and exciting, films playing is the Napster documentary Downloaded, directed by Alex Winter. Yes, the same Alex Winter who starred in The Lost Boys and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The movie is an engaging and entertaining tale of a culture milestone and we’ll have a full interview with Winter talking about the film later this week.

But when you’ve got Alex Winter on the phone, you have to ask him the question: “What’s up with Bill and Ted 3?” We know both he and co-star Keanu Reeves are interested and director Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest) is attached. But what’s the latest?

Winter explained that while it might feel like there’s some major hold up with the sequel, that’s simply not the case. He and his co-stars just started talking about the project prematurely and it’s still going through its natural development. Read his quotes below. Read More »

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A few years ago, Universal announced a release date of November 2012 for 47 Ronin, Carl Rinsch‘s samurai epic starring Keanu Reeves. Then the studio pushed the date back to February 2013, then back again to Christmas 2013. As of now, months after that first 2012 date has passed, we’ve yet to see any footage for the movie. For that matter, we’ve barely seen any marketing at all, unless you count a couple of uninspired posters and some unfinished scenes shown at Cinema Con 2012.

That’s not technically changing today, but what we do have are some gorgeous posters that seem to have been created for that original 2012 opening. If these are any indication, the campaign for 47 Ronin will be damn gorgeous when it finally gets going. Check them out after the jump.

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When the Keanu Reeves samurai epic 47 Ronin was pushed from Fall 2012 to February 2013, some feared that the movie was troubled. The studio denied problems, saying the film needed more time to finish visual effects. Ronin was surprisingly absent from Comic Con, reshoots in full swing, and the release date was pushed back again (this time to Christmas 2013) which got even more people speculating about troubles between the studio and the commercial filmmaker turned first time feature director. And now a report claims that Universal has pulled director Carl Erik Rinsch from the editing room, and is now being overseen by Universal co-chairwoman Donna Langley.

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Casting, plot details and rumored start dates are all in this edition of Sequel Bits. After the jump read about the following:

  • Keanu Reeves lays out the plot of Bill & Ted 3 in a new interview.
  • Sasha Barrese will return in The Hangover Part III.
  • Yancy Butler is back for Kick-Ass 2 as mother of Red Mist.
  • Julie Delpy says a third Before movie is still happen…but not for at least a year.
  • Tributes Seeder, Chaff and Gloss have been cast in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

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Maybe when we first heard about the possibility of a third Bill & Ted, it sounded like an outlandish idea. As Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves have continued to offer little updates, however — and as more and more ’80s and ’90s properties have found their way to the big screen — it’s started to seem more and more plausible. And now the project’s taken one more big step forward, with Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest) just hired to direct. More details after the jump.

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There are some great outtake clips online this week from Keanu Reeves‘ documentary Side by Side, which looks at the division between shooting film and digital. The outtakes go a little further afield from that topic, however, and one of the best is an interview with Andy and Lana Wachowski — and primarily with Lana — talking about how “performance” is created in the editing room.

This is a good little primer on one aspect of filmmaking that may people easily overlook, and worth watching for that reason alone. Wachowski fans will also be interested to see this as it is one of the very few video interviews with the directors. They seem to be more willing to talk to the camera lately; we’ve had two videos with them in the past month, which is more than in the previous decade. By the time their new film Cloud Atlas hits (co-written and co-directed with Tom Tykwer) they’ll be hosting their own reality show. I’d watch that. Read More »

A couple decades ago, and even today, the best way to shoot a complex martial-arts fight scene is the simplest: get good stuntmen, choreograph the hell out of the scene, and then set the camera back in such a way that it really captures their work, with the longest takes that make sense. Jackie Chan and some other classic Hong Kong filmmakers were great at this — their fights had power because the people had power, and the camera caught it.

Now we see a lot of quick editing, severe close-ups and takes stitched together with CGI. Which is fine, but doesn’t tend to have the same impact.

Keanu Reeves is now shooting his directorial debut Man of Tai Chi, and for some of the fights he’s using an advanced motion-control camera to blend classic technique with the sort of untethered, flying camera that audiences are used to seeing. Check out a video below. Read More »

We haven’t seen much so far from 47 Ronin, the film that Carl Erik Rinch directed with Keanu Reeves, as a semi-remake of a story that has been filmed in Japan several times. We know the movie also features Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano and Rinko Kikuchi, and we know that it is an effects-heavy 3D affair. In fact, the release was just pushed back a couple months, reportedly so more work can be done on the final effects renders.

Yesterday Jeff Snider from Variety tweeted about info on a test screening of the film, but along with that he shot out a low-res image of a poster for the film. The banded image features four character portraits, with text labels Outsider, Demon, Witch and Savage. All combined, that contributes to our understanding that this take on the story is fairly different from previously filmed versions.

Check out the small poster image below. Read More »

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