In a world of cutthroat beauty pageants, the woman with the ability to turn any girl into a winner is queen, and honey, you should see Catherine Zeta-Jones in a crown. Well, not a literal crown but a metaphorical one — the person who will be wearing the actual crown is Belle Shouse‘s Samantha Stone, a hapless beauty pageant contestant who begs’ Zeta-Jones’ ruthless pageant coach to transform her. But it won’t be so easy for the duo to reign supreme, as we find out in the first Queen America trailer.

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Martin Freeman joins Civil War

In this edition of Casting Bits:

  • Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago) joins a Facebook Watch show
  • Martin Freeman (Black Panther) will star in an espionage thriller
  • Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter) boards a new drama
  • Eiza González (Baby Driver) signs on for the Kung Fury movie
  • And many more!

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feud teaser

Hitmaker and storyteller Ryan Murphy‘s next series, Feud: Betty and Joan, stars Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis and Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford. The two iconic actresses worked together on What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and feuded famously for years. The series, which premieres in March, shows their relationship during the making of the 1962 film.

Below, watch the Feud teaser.

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The Phantom Simon Wincer interview

On February 17, 1936, Lee Falk’s comic strip hero The Phantom was introduced to the world. Over the following years—as the character reached millions of fans through an unparalleled-for-that-era level of worldwide syndication—The Phantom became an international sensation. The comic strip (clearly) excelled in many countries around the world, but perhaps none more so than Australia. So it seems fitting that, six decades later, the man who would finally bring this hero to the big screen would be an Australian himself: Simon Wincer.

To learn about how The Phantom was made, I spoke at length with Simon Wincer. But it took a little while before we even got to talking about the masked crusader. Because, frankly, there was just too much to talk about. Like how Wincer swooped into to replace the original director of Free Willy (and ended up helping to save that film). Or how he helmed an Emmy-dominant, prestige miniseries (years before such things were du jour). We spoke about all those things and much more (like the cinematic value of manure).  Below is a copy of our conversation…

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Dad's Army trailer

Plenty of television shows have crossed over from the United Kingdom into the United States in the form of remakes, but early next year, one favorite 80s show from across the pond will be making its way to the big screen instead.

Dad’s Army is an adaptation of the comedy series of the same name from the 1960s and 1970s, following a ragtag group of Home Guard local defense volunteers as they prepare for an imminent German invasion during World War II. But in the movie starring Bill Nighy, Toby Jones, Michael Gambon and Catherine Zeta Jones, they’re on the lookout for a spy among their ranks, and a new Dad’s Army trailer shows they may not be the best equipped team for the job. Read More »

Dad's Army teaser

This week the 1960s television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. gets a big screen update starring Armie Hammer (The Social Network) and Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), and yet another 1960s television adaptation is on the way in 2016 with the British comedy Dad’s Army.

Based on the series of the same name from the 1960s and 1970s, the movie features quite the impressive cast, including Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta Jones, Toby Jones, Daniel Mays, Michael Gambon, Bill Paterson and Tom Courtenay. And now the first Dad’s Army teaser trailer has arrived, showing off humor that fits with the title in that it might be better suited for your parents. Read More »

Kevin Spacey in Ameowadeus

For the last few years, one of the highlights of the Academy Awards night has been what comes after the Academy Awards. Namely, Jimmy Kimmel‘s post-Oscar spoof of Hollywood filmmaking at its grandest. This year was no exception.

After knocking it out of the park two years in a row with Movie: The Movie and its inevitable sequel, he switched gears this year to bring us highfalutin Oscar bait trailers starring the likes of Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ben Kingsley… based on the likes of YouTube classics “David After Dentist,” “Keyboard Cat,” and “Charlie Bit My Finger.” Check ’em all out after the jump.

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Red 2 header

Bruce Willis‘ year of action sequels continues this summer with Red 2, which reunites him with stars John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Mary Louise Parker while bringing on some fresher blood in the form of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lee Byung-hun, David Thewlis, and Anthony Hopkins.

If you’ve seen the first one, you know basically what to expect — lots of old people running around shooting people and exploding things. But to get more specific, the plot this time centers on the gang’s attempt to track down a missing nuclear bomb while Frank (Willis) is being chased by an elite assassin (Lee). They try to enlist the help of a scientist (Hopkins) locked up in an institution for the criminally insane. A new trailer has just dropped, and you can watch it after the jump.

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Lionsgate made two release date changes today.

Now You See Me, which comes from director Louis Leterrier and features Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, and Michael Caine, has been pulled up from July 7 to May 31. The thriller centers around a group of illusionists who pull off heists, seemingly at the same time they’re on stage doing magic tricks. The trailer has been out for a while, and the cast is certainly appealing. Hard to tell if the movie will follow through on the great premise and talented cast. It’ll be up against narrow competition from Universal’s The Purge and a limited release of Zal batmanglij’s Sound of My Voice follow-up The East, but The Hangover Part III and Fast & Furious 6 will still be in theaters from the week before.

Another film from the studio has moved up, as well. The action/comedy sequel Red 2 was slated to open on August 2, but will now bow on July 19. Dean Parisot directed with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Helen Mirren returning and Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones showing up to augment another story of retired assassins going back into action.

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Steven Soderbergh, so often adventurous over the course of his career, closes out his theatrical run with the relatively conventional thriller Side Effects. Though the ideas within are familiar, a winding narrative path keeps predictability out of sight, and prevents Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns from ever falling back to one simplistic message. Soderbergh’s own skill with the form allows him to pursue that path at length, without losing the plot.

Starting off with pharmacological paranoia, the two take clear inspiration from Rosemary’s Baby, and toy with notions that call back to Hitchcock. But this is no throwback. Soderbergh has crafted a smart but pessimistic film rooted firmly in fears that are becoming more and more common today.

The film is built around a woman (Rooney Mara) who suffers from severe depression and falls into the care of a potentially dodgy psychiatrist. Side Effects traffics in the tone of modern paranoia that defined previous Soderbergh/Burns collaboration Contagion, and revels in the duplicity that was a cornerstone of their first partnership, The Informant!. The three films define something like an informal trilogy in which we are chronically disconnected, dishonest, and perhaps eventually doomed. Read More »