PETE'S DRAGON

David Lowery‘s Pete’s Dragon is a simple, beautiful and warm tale of friendship. It’s a refreshingly sparse story that hardly resembles the original Disney film. Lowery and co-writer Toby Halbrooks lifted very little from the ’77 musical; they made a movie that stands on its own and doesn’t rely at all on nostalgia.

The film was well received when it was in theaters, but now that it’s on home video, more viewers will likely embrace Elliot and Pete’s heartfelt and tender adventure. With Pete’s Dragon now on Blu-ray, we recently had the chance to speak with Lowery again, and he reflected on some of the toughest and most enjoyable days during the shoot, not reading the reviews, the lessons he learned, and the experience of working with Robert Redford again.

Below, read our David Lowery interview.

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Ben-Hur will be Summer 2016's Biggest Box Office Bomb

Summer 2016 has seen a fair share of box office disappointments and bombs, but the biggest loser is Timur Bekmambetov‘s remake of Ben-Hur which will see a projected loss of over $120 million. Learn more about the biggest money losers of this summer, after the jump.
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2016 summer movie recap

The summer movie season is over and you know what that means – it’s time to hand out pointless imaginary awards to the best, worst, and weirdest films of the past four months!

Welcome to the 2016 Summer Blockbuster Awards, which is like the Oscars if the Oscars only covered a specific release window, were decided by one person, and were also really dumb. Here’s how this works: I have created 24 categories, from “Best Performance” to “Movie Most in Need of a Hug” and have awarded one winner and one runner-up. At the name of these awards imply, the focus here is on wide releases that arrived between May and August of this year. So while you really should go out of your way to see indie gems like Swiss Army Man and Don’t Think Twice, they won’t be the focus here. Got it? Good. Let’s just dive right in.

Be warned there are spoilers ahead for some of this summer’s films.

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/Filmcast Ep. 379 – Pete’s Dragon

Pete's Dragon Trailer

DavidDevindra, and Jeff discuss the controversy around Wonder Woman, the brilliance of this summer’s indie films, and David recaps this weekend’s major releases.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!
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david lowery

Director David Lowery‘s reimagining of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon is a very, very loose remake. It’s more detached from the original film than any of the other live-action Disney remakes. For Lowery and co-writer Toby Halbrooks, a boy, Pete (Oakes Fegley), and a dragon, Elliot, were all they needed to take from the 1977 musical.

Halbrooks and Lowery’s tale of friendship is character-driven and sparse. Unlike most films we’ve seen this summer, it’s not driven by set pieces or conventional spectacle. Pete’s Dragon is basically a big budget drama. At the film’s press day, Lowery was kind enough to discuss crafting his latest picture with us, how the story evolved, working with Robert Redford, and how a bank commercial inspired him.

Below, read our David Lowery interview.

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Pete's Dragon Wes Bentley Interview

Wes Bentley‘s first big breakout role was in the 1999 Best Picture Winner, American Beauty. Over the past few years, we’ve seen Bentley in all sorts of films, including InterstellarThe Hunger GamesKnight of Cups, and two comedies more people should’ve seen, Welcome to Me and Weirdsville. The actor’s latest role is in director David Lowery‘s Pete’s Dragon, a remake of Disney’s 1977 musical.

In this adventurous, sparse and often somber reimagining, Bentley plays Jack. His brother, Gavin (Karl Urban), is the antagonist, while his girlfriend, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), is one of the film’s heroes. Similarly to Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, backstory and past conflicts are often left unspoken and suggested. At a recent press day, we discussed the often complicated relationships within Pete’s Dragon with Wes Bentley, who also told us about working with young actors, his time at Julliard, and his experience on Terrence Malick‘s Knight of Cups.

Below, read our Wes Bentley interview.

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Pete's Dragon Trailer

It’s been a great year for Walt Disney Pictures with success in both live-action and animation. Zootopia is one of the most successful movies of the year, Finding Dory was a huge box office hit, and the live-action remake of The Jungle Book may be the best revision of their classic animated movies yet. But the studio isn’t done bringing magic to movie theaters just yet.

Pete’s Dragon is yet another remake of a classic Disney movie. However, as we’ve seen in the trailers so far, this new take on the 1977 live-action and animated hybrid could not be more different from the original. Basically, the only thing they share is a camaraderie between a young boy and a dragon in the woods. And the more we see from Pete’s Dragon, the more excited I am to see it, and you just might feel the same way after watching a new trailer from across the pond.

Watch the Pete’s Dragon trailer from the United Kingdom after the jump. Read More »

pete's dragon clips

In some ways, Pete’s Dragon seemed like an unlikely candidate for a remake. The original was seen by plenty of people, but wasn’t exactly an acclaimed classic on par with Cinderella or The Jungle Book (both of which have also recently gotten remakes from Disney). And even once we knew a Pete’s Dragon remake was coming, David Lowery seemed like an unexpected choice. As a director, he was best known for the gritty crime drama Ain’t Them Bodies Saints; his resume also includes lots of editing work on offbeat indies like Upstream Color.

So would this turn out to be an inspired marriage of material and talent, or an obvious mismatch? Well, the first Pete’s Dragon reviews are in, so you can find out for yourself after the jump.  Read More »

pete's dragon clips

Director David Lowery is probably doing something right with his upcoming remake of Pete’s Dragon because I’m not a fan of the 1977 original in the slightest but I fully intend to see the new version in its opening weekend. Maybe my soft spot for tales of isolated youngsters finding families is showing, or maybe I’m just a sucker for dragons, but everything we’ve seen from this movie looks charming and sweet and the right shade of adventurous.

Two new clips from the film have arrived online and they haven’t changed my mind. This looks like it could be one of 2016’s better family movies.

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Pete's Dragon image

Disney’s last remake, The Jungle Book, made close to a billion dollars. Audiences keep turning out to see their live-action reimaginings, and maybe partly because they’re improving in quality. Following up some of the studio’s previous efforts, like Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent, both Cinderella and The Jungle Book surpassed some’s expectations. Not everybody pegged them to be, creatively and financially, as successful as they are. Going into David Lowery‘s (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) loose remake of Pete’s Dragon, perhaps some of those skeptics will have higher expectations for this tale of friendship.

Below, watch the first Pete’s Dragon clip.

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