‘John Carter’ Trailer

One of the biggest question marks on the 2012 tentpole schedule is Disney’s John Carter, formerly John Carter of Mars. Pixar’s Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) directs the live-action film that adapts A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Now that we’re able to see some footage, it appears that he has done so with a sense of grand, old-school fantasy/sci-fi epics. I had no idea what to expect out of this, and so far, I’m impressed.

Check out the trailer for the film, after the break. Read More »

In June, I visited the editing room of John Carter, the big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic sci-fi novel A Princess of Mars (you can watch my video blog here). At the event, director Andrew Stanton and producer Jim Morris gave a presentation explaining how they came to be involved with the project, and described the unique process they took to “shoot” the adaptation. After the jump you will find a complete transcript of the presentation and question and answer session, along with some concept art from the film and photos from the event.

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On June 20th, I flew to San Francisco to visit Barsoom Studios, in an office building minutes sown the road from Pixar Animation Studios, to see the first footage from John Carter, a big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic sci-fi novel  A Princess of Mars.

In a screening room, Finding Nemo/Wall-E director Andrew Stanton gave us a powerpoint presentation explaining why and how he became involved in the project, and the unique methods they used to “shoot” the film (you can read a transcript of Andrew’s complete presentation and Q&A elsewhere on /Film). We screened a couple scenes from the movie, and the teaser trailer which will be attached to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (expect to see it online on Thursday, July 14th).

After the jump you can read my brief thoughts, followed by  a video blog I recorded with Frosty from Collider (who admits he knows nothing about the source material) and Eric Vespe (better known as Quint from Ain’t It Cool, who knows way way way more than I will ever know about the source material). So we have a good spread of opinions based on a wide range of expectations and knowledge of the source material.

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Most of us stop thinking about work as we enter the holiday season, but Hollywood actors and actresses are lining up their jobs for the new year.  There is a whole bunch of casting news that’s recently been announced, much of it in the romantic comedy genre, and here’s the rundown.

Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks and G4’s Olivia Munn will join Kelsey Grammer and Pierce Brosnan in the comedy I Don’t Know How She Does It, which stars Sarah Jessica Parker as a woman juggling her work on Wall Street with a family life. Parker herself is also joining the huge ensemble for Garry Marshall’s romantic comedy New Year’s Eve while Halle Berry is in negotiations for a role too. 30 Rock award winner Alec Baldwin is the latest actor circling a spot in the Broadway adaptation Rock of Ages. Everyone’s favorite Viper pilot, Battlestar Galactica‘s Katee Sackhoff will star in Sexy Evil Genius, which is about a girl who brings all her exes to the same bar. Rosario Dawson and Lynn Collins are now part of the high school reunion film Ten Year with Chris Pine and Channing Tatum and Ed Burns joins Megan Fox and Jon Hamm in Jennifer Westfeldt’s romantic comedy Friends With Kids.

A lot to digest, we know. There’s so much more info after the jump that you’d be crazy not to click. Read More »


Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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Three more actors have joined Andrew Stanton‘s big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice BurroughsJohn Carter of Mars: Samantha Morton (In America, Control), Dominic West (300, Chicago) and Polly Walker (Patriot Games).

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Willem Dafoe Joins John Carter of Mars

willem dafoe john carter of mars

Willem Dafoe is the latest actor to join Andew Stanton’s big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice BurroughsJohn Carter of Mars. Dafoe will play the role of Tars Tarkas, a brutal and mirthless green Martian warrior, who possesses the ability to feel love and empathy, an unusual characteristic among his savage race. The newly arrived Earth man John Carter develops an alliance with Tarkas after learning his secret. The film is expected to be the first of a possible trilogy, and considering Tarkas fights alongside Carter through the entire series of books, Dafoe likely signed on or has options for sequels.

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john carter of mars casting

Yesterday we learned that Andrew Stanton‘s live-action debut John Cartner of Mars was gearing up for a November shoot in Utah, and that Tom Cruise was circling, but is no longer involved with the project. It stands to reason that in the coming weeks we’ll begin to hear casting announcements.

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gambit wolverine
20th Century Fox has released six new character photos and the final movie trailer from X-Men Origins: Wolverine on USA Today. The photos include Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Liev Schreiber as Victor Creed/Sabretooth, Lynn Collins as Kayla Silverfox, Taylor Kitsch as Gambit, Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and Will.i.am as Kestrel.

The new trailer concentrates a lot on the story bits shown in the Fox 3-minute preview, with a lot more action from the additional mutants, and nearly every effects shot from the film cut into a fast montage. I think I even saw some footage from the recently filmed reshoots. Check out the trailer after the jump and tell me what you think in the comments!
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TIFF Review: Uncertainty

Uncertainty has a brilliant set-up: After it is discovered that Kate (Lynn Collins) is pregnant, the young couple finds themselves uncertain about their future. With a magical flip of a coin, the story is split into two alternative realities, showing two vastly different directions their immediate future could take ala Sliding Doors. I am certain that the film never lives up to the magical promises of the plot synopsis, and was baffled at the lack of explanation of why both stories differed so greatly.

One of the stories takes the couple to a July 4th barbecue at Kate’s family’s house, where the discover a stray dog. Olivia Thirlby has an extended cameo as Kate’s sister who plans to give up her college scholarship to peruse her acting dreams in Los Angeles. The other story is set-up like a DJ Caruso-style thriller. It begins when Kate’s boyfriend Bobby (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) discovers a lost smart phone in the back of a cab. Rather than turn it in to the driver, he decides to call the last few numbers on the recent call list and leave messages regarding the missing phone. He eventually reaches someone claiming to be the owner of the phone, and arranges a meet up to hand it over. But when the guy arrives is shot and murdered, the couple are forced to go on the run. A blackmail plot is devised which could either make the couple $500,000 richer or dead. You can probably guess which of the two stories is more interesting.

The film is highly improvised, based on an extensive story treatment. The performances are natural, but sometimes feels free of substance. Instead we are watching reactions and conversations. Some people may enjoy that, and I’m guessing those people might enjoy the highly developed character drama of the barbecue story. Bottom line is the film is entertaining but highly uneven.

The one interesting thing about the unique structure is that both have the same exact backstory. This allows one story to reveal the answers to questions posed in the other story. For example, Kate’s brother is brought up at the barbecue, but you don’t find out what happened to him until it is revealed during conversation in the other reality.

/Film Rating: 6 out of 10