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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In the past year there have been more than a few trailers for Bel Ami, the story set in late 1800s Paris in which Robert Pattinson plays a guy who sleeps and seduces his way into wealth. The film has played some festivals to middling reviews, but now that the first official US trailer has arrived, it’s worth having a look. The cast is appealing, at least, as Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci, Colm Meaney, Philip Glenister, and Holliday Grainger join Pattinson in the film directed by Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

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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It took Robert Pattinson three and a half movies to getting around to bedding his lady love as Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga (oh, um, spoilers), but as the lead of Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod‘s Bel Ami, Pattinson more than makes up for lost time. Based on a novel by Guy de Maupassant, the drama follows a poor young man who climbs the ranks of 1890s Parisian society by calculatedly seducing its wealthiest and most influential women. Among his conquests, apparently, are Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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In what movie can you see Leslie Bibb as Wonder Woman, Jason Sudeikis as Batman, Bobby Cannavale as Superman, John Hodgman as Penguin, Uma Thurman as Lois Lane and Kristen Bell as Supergirl? How does Christopher Nolan describe Bane in The Dark Knight Rises? What happens when you combine Batman: The Animated Series and Star Wars? Which other heroes are showing up in the new Batman Lego video game? And will Kenneth Branagh return to Marvel? Read about all of this and more in today’s Superhero Bits. 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 »
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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 »

As we’ve said in several pieces in the past, Rian Johnson‘s third film Looper (which follows Brick and The Brothers Bloom) is one of our most anticipated pictures in the next year or so. FilmDistrict and Tri-Star are releasing the film, and we’d hoped to see it sometime early next year. Sadly, we’re going to have to wait a bit longer than that. Tri-Star has set a date for the film: September 28, 2012. Read More »

FilmDistrict, the company spun off from Graham King’s GK FIlms, has been very busy at Cannes. The company has picked up distribution rights to the 3D version of Arabian Nights that we reported on a while back, starring Liam Hemsworth, as well as the Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel romcom Playing the Field.

And now that the lousy announcements are out of the way, there are these, too: FilmDistrict is teaming with TriStar to release Rian Johnson‘s film Looper (we just had the first still from that one on Friday) and Angelina Jolie‘s directorial debut, which now has the title In the Land of Blood and Honey. More info on all four films, after the break. Read More »