If I needed to I could come up with two films more different than Kathryn Bigelow‘s “kill Osama Bin Laden” movie Zero Dark Thirty and Atom Egoyan‘s West Memphis Three drama Devil’s Knot. But for the sake of argument let’s note that despite being fiction based in truth, they’re still pretty seriously different projects.Both films do have one other thing in common, in that they will rely on relative unknowns for pivotal roles.

First, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, which recounts the successful attempt to kill Osama Bin Laden, will actually feature an actor as the terrorist figurehead — something we weren’t sure about at one point. Ricky Sekhon, a British actor with some TV experience, will play the part. He’s already shot the role, according to Baz Bamigoye.

The film is still shooting, however, with a December 19th opening planned. The cast also features Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Edgerton, Nash Edgerton, Frank Grillo, Harold Perrineau Jr., Mark Duplass, Jason Clarke, Mark Strong, Edgar Ramirez , and more.

After the break, Atom Egoyan has chosen a newcomer to play Damien Echols, one of the convicted West Memphis Three. Read More »


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Save for a few of the original directors, few people can give you a better snapshot of what’s going on at Pixar than Katherine Sarafian. The production coordinator turned director of marketing and now producer has been with the company since 1994 and their first film, Toy Story. For the past five plus years, she’s been working on Brave, Pixar’s upcoming feature about a wild Scottish princess whose fate is tied to the family kingdom. Sarafian has been with the production from its inception and has intimate knowledge on the controversial directional change, massive story rewrites, cast changes and more.

Recently, I was at Pixar to see the gorgeous first thirty minutes of the film (read about that here) and spoke to Sarafian not only about those things, but the surprising power of being a producer at Pixar, the marketing of the film (including when we might see a new trailer) as well as the company’s feeling facing their first critical disappointment: Cars 2. Check out the interview below. Read More »

Four of the most famous, beautiful women in the world – plus Andy Samberg – are planning on making a movie with the creator of Glee. Ryan Murphy, who also created American Horror Story and directed Eat Pray Love, is set to co-write and direct a film called One Hit Wonders for Sony which will team Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz and Beyonce in a film about pop singers of the ’90s who come back today to form a supergroup. Read more after the jump. Read More »

As the credits rolled, I exited This Means War thinking “what a depressing piece of garbage,” even as I realized that a summation like that might not be completely fair. The film, directed by McG, does have some good scenes featuring Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon and Chelsea Handler. There are times when Pine and Hardy have some great, genuine chemistry. More than once, I laughed loud enough that I can never claim the movie is not funny.

With a little bit of tweaking, This Means War could be a pretty cutting vision of a certain cavalier type of romantic relationship. Without a lot of work it could even be the best gay romance action movie we’ve ever seen.

But I’m not the film’s editor, and I can’t reshape it, and This Means War is not those things. Despite the occasional explosion of chemistry, it is a tremendously cynical enterprise. It is also a flat and cheap-looking movie, though that’s more a passing observation than a deep criticism; there are plenty of cheap-looking movies for which I’d go to bat. I will not, however, go to bat for McG’s weird action romcom. Read More »

With just days to go until This Means War was scheduled to hit theaters, Fox has shifted its release date yet again. Less last-minute is Summit’s announcement of a fall release date for Alex Cross (formerly I, Alex Cross), which sees Tyler Perry ditching the Madea costume for once. But the biggest piece of news, which remains unconfirmed at the moment, is a possible 2013 release date for The Wolverine. Hit the jump for details on all three pictures. (Update: Fox just confirmed with us that the release date for The Wolverine is legit.)

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It takes a gutsy filmmaker — and, perhaps more to the point, a gutsy studio — to emulate the strange release of the 1985 film Clue. When originally released, Clue went out with three different endings, and audiences didn’t know which one they were going to see. (There’s also a reported fourth ending, but that’s a topic for another post.) The endings were collected for the home video release, and most people have seen the edit of Clue where each possible ending is played in succession.

McG has just finished This Means War, the film in which Tom Hardy and Chris Pine play best friends and fellow CIA operatives who discover they’re both dating the same woman, played by Reese Witherspoon. It’s a big, weird romcom, essentially, and as such might not be the most serious movie around. And so at one stage of development, the idea of doing Clue-style multiple endings was thrown around. No real spoilers follow, but if you don’t want to know anything at all about how this movie might end, beware what lies below the jump. Read More »

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An obnoxious first trailer generally isn’t a good sign for a movie, and after that first one hit I would’ve been perfectly content to see no more of McG‘s romantic action comedy This Means War. But nine (non-consecutive) minutes of the film have just been released, and surprisingly, they actually look better than the two or so we’ve already seen.

Chris Pine and Tom Hardy star as best friends and CIA colleagues who find their bond tested when they fall for the same woman (Reese Witherspoon). Naturally, rather than talking things out like reasonable adults, the guys use their government hookups to stalk the object of their affections and sabotage each other. Watch the new footage after the jump.

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The star power that came out in defense of the West Memphis Three was remarkable and now there’s added juice behind an eventual dramatic film version. Oscar-winner Colin Firth has just joined previously cast Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon in Devil’s Knot, the first narrative feature (after several documentaries) concerning the complicated yet fascinating subject of the West Memphis Three. It’ll be directed by Atom Egoyan and is based on the non-fiction book by Mara Leveritt.

Firth will play Ron Lax, a private investigator who was instrumental in finding key evidence that raised considerable doubt as to the guilt of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. Witherspoon will play Pam Hobbs, the mother of victim Steven Branch and the wife of the man believed to have committed the crimes. There’s more after the jump. Read More »

Briefly: It is probably shallow to become more interested in a movie when the rating is R rather than PG-13. But then, the action/comedy/romance This Means War looks fairly shallow, so my slightly elevated interest in the movie might be a perfect match for it. The film stars Chris Pine and Tom Hardy as best friends who are also partners in the CIA. But their friendship is torn asunder when they fall for the same woman, played by Reese Witherspoon.

While Fox was hoping to get the film on screens with a PG-13 rating, the MPAA gave it an R, and upon appeal the board upheld the rating. Why is the film R? Does Chris Pine’s head explode? Nope — it is just R for “some sexual content.” Oh, that repressed MPAA! I can’t imagine the sex in the movie being all that crazy, but we’ll see what the story really is when the film is released on Tuesday, February 14. Or, the Valentine’s Day release was the plan; now that the film will go out with an R, perhaps it will be pushed back tpo the 17th once again.

UPDATE: Deadline now reports that “a couple of racy jokes” were cut, and the film was granted a PG-13 rating.

Check out the trailer again after the break. Read More »