Think back to the Oliver Stone films of the 1990s. Not so much JFK and Nixon; more like U-Turn, Natural Born Killers and Any Given Sunday. Those films had a stylized, hyper-saturated color palette that clearly gave Tony Scott some ideas. For instance, on U-Turn, Stone’s cinematographer Robert Richardson shot on reversal film stock — which becomes a transparent positive when developed, rather than a traditional negative — and then cross-processed it as negative film, increasing contrast and color saturation. Tony Scott and Daniel Mindel used the same technique for Domino almost a decade later.

Point is, Stone seems to have gone back to that exaggerated look for his new film Savages, which adapts Don Winslow‘s novel about two small-time pot dealers (Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch) whose mutual girlfriend (Blake Lively) is kidnapped in an attempt to strong-arm them into working with a Mexican drug cartel, which counts Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro amongst its members. John Travolta is also in the film; Stone borrowed him from Tony Scott.

If you saw the first poster for the film when Pete ran it in Page 2 yesterday you’ll know something about the look Stone is going for. But now there is a brief montage of footage showing off that stylish, colorful look the director first relied on almost 20 years ago. I have to say, I like it quite a bit. Read More »

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Good news for those eager to find out exactly why Benicio del Toro is picking on Blake Lively in that first image from Savages: Universal has just shifted the opening date for Oliver Stone‘s latest from September 28 to July 6. Savages is the only film currently scheduled to go up against Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which hits three days before on Tuesday, July 3. It’s a bold move on the studio’s part, but it may also be a smart one — Savages could be ideal counter-programming to the comedies, actioners, and superhero flicks due out around the same time this summer.

Based on a book by Don Winslow, Savages stars Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson as a pair of small-time pot dealers who get roped into working for a Mexican cartel that kidnaps their shared girlfriend (Lively). The impressive cast also includes Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, John Travolta, Demián Bichir, and Emile Hirsch.

After the jump, new release dates for Clint Eastwood’s Trouble With the Curve, Drafthouse Films’ The FP, and lesser known Oscar nominees Bullhead (also from Drafthouse Films) and Chico & Rita.

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You’d be forgiven for suffering from pirate fatigue after this year’s lackluster fourth entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but these delightful trailers for Aardman Animation’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits prove there’s still plenty of fun to be found on the high seas.

Directed by Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt, the stop motion adventure follows an eager but misguided Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) as he competes for the Pirate of the Year Award — because, as he explains, “Every time I’ve entered, I’ve failed to win. So, I must have a really good chance this time.” Along the way, he and his similarly off-kilter crew (Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell ToveyAshley Jensen, and a fish with a hat on it) encounter all manner of strange characters including lepers, stuffy scientists, an evil queen (Imelda Staunton), and at least one monkey butler. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ UK Trailer #2

Can you resist the grinning appeal of a new claymation animated film from Aardman Animation? I’m not certain that I can, if the first trailer for The Pirates! Band of Misfits is any indication. The film adapts Gideon Defoe‘s book The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists — a loopy tale of high-seas misadventure and scientfic discovery — with a vocal cast that includesHugh Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Brian Blessed, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen.

Here’s a new UK trailer for the film, which bears the original subtitle ‘In an Adventure With Scientists,’ and pushes the overall story structure more than the last US trailer, but keeps the levels of charm and appeal as high as the crow’s nest. Read More »

Aardman Animation doesn’t just have the CGI holiday film Arthur Christmas to release in the next year. The company also has the stop-motion The Pirates! Band of Misfits, based in part on Gideon Defoe‘s book The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists. The cast was announced not long ago, and is a thing of beauty: Hugh ‘News of the World Killer’ Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Brian Blessed, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen.

The trailer for the film hit today, and if you are (a) dissatisfied with the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, (b) hungry for anything new from Aardman, (c) ready to see a weirdly appropriate use of a Ramones song in a kids’ pirate movie, or (d) all of the above, check it out after the break. Read More »

We had a couple of days where mid-level casting for a lot of projects was going crazy. Maybe there was something in the air; maybe casting directors and agents just all got together and had a field day. It’s been a bit slower today, but still there are a couple of items to catch up on. After the break, you’ll find info on how:

  • Robin Williams appears to be cast in Gently Down the Stream, with Robert De Niro and Susan Sarandon.
  • Joel David Moore (Avatar) will be in Oliver Stone’s Savages.
  • and Katie Cassidy takes the lead in Freaky Deaky. Read More »

‘Puss In Boots’ Theatrical Trailer

Kids and cat lovers are going to find it hard to resist the new trailer for DreamWorks’ Shrek spin-off Puss In Boots. Directed by Chris Miller (Shrek the Third) and featuring the voices of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris, the film opens November 4th in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D.

After the jump, check out the new trailer, new poster and read more about the film. Read More »

From Weeds to weed — Demian Bichir is making the move into Oliver Stone‘s world. The director is making Savages, based on the book by Don Winslow. He already has quite the cast lined up: Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson play up and coming pot dealers coerced into working for a drug cartel when their girlfriend O (Blake Lively) is kidnapped. John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Emile Hirsch, Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro are all in the cast, and now Demian Bichir has signed on, too. Read More »

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