District 9

The director of the hit film District 9, Neil Blomkamp has come out with some new information regarding the film’s potential sequel/spinoff fans have been clamoring for since the film was released in 2009. Additionally, Blomkamp has killed all rumor and speculation about the state of Alien 5, the Alien film he had been working on for a number of years.

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Neill Blomkamp Has ‘Alien’ Concept Art? Say What?!?!

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In 2009, Neill Blomkamp made a science fiction movie about aliens called District 9. It was grounded and realistic. A straightforward, albeit allegorical, dramatic film about a what if scenario where an alien ship arrived in the skies over Johannesburg and its crew had no way to get home. It’s a somewhat disturbing vision of what first contact might look like. And speaking of another disturbing look at first contact, there’s the Ridley Scott film Alien. Many filmmakers have had their shot at putting their own twist on the Alien story, and many more have had fantasies about taking theirs, and it looks like Blomkamp is among them. That is, if the internet can be believed. (more…)

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While many people are going to immediately call Neill Blomkamp‘s Chappie a reboot of the 80’s cult classic Short Circuit, they’d be dead wrong. In District 9 Blomkamp took a different look at the consequences of aliens stranded on Earth and it looks like he’s done it again with artificial intelligence in Chappie. Take a look at this new trailer and then try to tell me this is just an updated Johnny 5. (more…)

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Word is making the Internet rounds that Hugh Jackman has taken a role in Neill Blomkamp‘s (District 9, Elysium) latest Sci Fi production Chappie. While doing press for his latest movie in theaters, Prisoners, Jackman confirmed his new role.

Yes, that’s true. I am doing a role in Neill’s new film, called Chappie, which we shoot in Johannesburg. I’m there for a couple of weeks at the beginning of next year.

Jackman discusses the Chappie news and some of his other upcoming roles in the press conference video below. It starts with the Chappie news so you won’t have to search for it.

So now we know that Jackman is joining Sharlto Copley, Ninja Visser and Yolandi Visser, but what role will he play?

Chappie is about a robot that is stolen by two criminals who want to use him to do their dirty work. We know that Coplay will be voicing the robot and Ninja and Yolandi Visser will be taking the two criminal roles. Over at Bleeding Cool Brendon Connelly thinks he knows what Jackman’s role will be:

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nb-movie-review-ELYSIUM

When you build up a wall to keep people out and blast the symphony to block out the screams of the huddled and hunched masses, they climb on top of each other to make it over. Starved, hungry, desperate — they will sell their souls for a glimpse of something that isn’t stained with blood and wrecked by hopelessness. This is human nature, this is animal instinct, this is the message at the center of Neill Blomkamp’s fantastic Elysium.

Forgive me, but I’m one of those people that believes that the very best science fiction speaks as much to our present and our current fractured state of being as it does to our future. That doesn’t mean that I am incapable of enjoying the more explode-y sci-fi films that aim more for the gut and less for the brain, but give me Children of Men and give me Sunshine over the Star Trek Into Darkness’ of this world. 

Give me District 9, Neill Blomkamp‘s stunning feature debut and Elysium, this ambitious follow-up whose winning virtue is that it comes close to being all things to all people.

The Story

A human tale about struggle, hope, determination, and desperation — Matt Damon is Max, an ex-con stuck working a factory job in Los Angeles in the year 2154.

Believe it or not, Max is one of the lucky ones, but he’s got a smart mouth and that puts him at odds with the droid police force and his boss.

Ordered into a risky situation by said boss, Max sustains an injury that will kill him in five days, thus setting him off on a mad dash to find passage to Elysium, a star shaped space station that sustains and occupies the rich and coddled with swimming pools, cocktail parties, Kelly green landscapes, cloudless skies, and restorative med bays that heal all ailments in an instant.

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Max has always dreamed of going to Elysium, but as he is turned into a literal Frankenstein monster and painfully fitted with a mech suit to help carry his ailing body through a daring data heist (data that can bring down Elysium or alter its power structure, making matters worse) for an underworld gimp pimp known as Spider (overplayed by Wagner Moura), the dream becomes a nightmare.

For Damon, all of this is about survival, whispering “This ain’t goona kill me” through gritted teeth. He doesn’t want to save the day for his fellow man, he just wants to live.

Complicating matters, for him, is his childhood sweetheart (Frey, as played by Alice Braga), her Leukemia afflicted daughter, and Kruger — a doubley mad mercenary that has been dispatched by Delacourt, the prim acid bitch that keeps Elysium free of the filthy prisoners of Earth by any means necessary.

Jodie Foster plays Delacourt like a rusted claw hammer wrapped in velvet. Painting Eden’s gatekeeper as a power hungry politician, monster, and woman of refinement. She has evolved past human emotion and it is a transformation unlike anything we have seen from Foster in quite some time.

In anyone else’s hands, this role could have polluted the film with high camp, but Foster gives just enough to shock us, revealing a villain who is convinced, at a cellular level, that she is on the side of right and separate and apart from the inhabitants of Earth. To her, they are bugs. She’s Adolf Eichmann with an eye on becoming Hitler.

As Kruger, Sharlito Copley plays an extremely colorful henchman, occupying the screen with menace. He is the chaos, kidnapping Fey and her sick daughter, gunning for Max and the valuable data that he now holds in his head. Unfortunately, as the film goes on, Kruger becomes less an interesting side player, and more a two dimensional main villain, inexplicably starting a palace coup on top of the one that Foster’s character is trying to orchestrate.

It’s here that the film loses it’s way for a short time, complicating the run-up to the end in an effort to add more smash and bash fighting and big action moments to the film. Basically, Elysium embraces its summer blockbuster responsibilities in this bundle of minutes in the third act before it evens itself out.

The Conclusion

Matt Damon delivers a valuable but not stellar performance that improves as the reels roll (or the pixels whatever…) and Blomkamp falls into a few traps, but ultimately delivers what may be the best sci-fi film that I have seen since the previously mentioned Children of Men.

Elysium is visually arresting, covering its dual worlds with both a slick sheen of affluence and a dirt bath. Blomkamp ratchets up the CGI effects as well, melding his ambition with an economical and grounded approach to effects sequences and overall spectacle.

The result is a lived in and real universe that never pulls the audience out of the story, and as was the case with the $30 million dollar District 9, Elysium feels as if it cost twice as much as it did, even though it cost more than $100 million.

The way that Blomkamp constructs and portrays an action scene has a lot to do with that, and here, we’re seeing hand-held camera work, artfully applied slow-motion, and a video-game aesthetic peppered throughout the big fight scenes.

Visual wow is useless without story, though, and that is the real star of this film: Blomkamp’s very smart and very original script.

Themes of nuclear class warfare, extreme immigration, and the rationing of healthcare strike a nerve because those themes echo fears about our present course.

Is Elysium prophetic? Probably not, because (as has been said before) we’re naturally inclined to burden our view of the future with the weight of the present, but it could happen or the future could be even worse.

Despite that, though, Elysium should make us think about the state of things, the walls that we already have up and the growing ease with which we display human viciousness and indifference; and for a film to entertain and inspire debate and introspection like that… well, that is a rare treat. 

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After District 9 was almost universally beloved by critics and moviegoers alike, I figured director Neill Blomkamp would have been on the fast track for a sequel. But that wasn’t the case, seeing as it’s been four years since District 9 released and we’re only now weeks away from Blomkamp’s second feature film, Elysium.

While the director’s been making the press rounds to promote Elysium, he’s been dropping details left and right about the status of a District 9 sequel, tentatively known as District 10, as well as the smaller, more original projects he’s got on the docket, like Chappie and Mild Oats. Wired profiled the director, and here I’ve got a few highlights collected by The Playlist,

He and Tatchell have written an 18-page treatment for District 10—about which he’ll say little more than that the story is “really fucking cool”—but he’s not prepared to commit to it. He’s sure he’ll come up with any number of other really fucking cool ideas he might want to pursue first.

Chappie, Blomkamp says, is about sentience: “If something is as smart as you, do you treat it differently if it isn’t a human?” He’s cowriting Chappie with Tatchell, who describes the script as laugh-out-loud funny but also emotional. “It’s fairly touching,” Blomkamp confirms. “But, you know, fraught with gunfire.

Blomkamp wants to show off a prop from Mild Oats, a low-budget movie he’s developing that he describes as “somewhere between John Waters and Jackass.” He removes a panel from a nearby wooden crate, uncharacteristically giddy. “You should be scared,” he warns. He’s right: The crate houses a 3-foot-tall, photo-realistic silicone puppet rocking a mullet and jailhouse tattoos. The deranged redneck stands completely naked, revealing six nipples and a prodigious, uncircumcised penis. The character’s name, Marvin, is inked on said organ in gothic lettering.

I’m intrigued by Chappie as I’d find Blomkamp’s take on the whole A.I. thing fascinating. And, y’know, gunfire is cool. In movies that is. It’s definitely not cool off the silver screen. And Mild Oats, well, that sounds, umm… interesting? What do you think? Are you just itching for District 10?

In order to work on these passion projects other opportunities had to be refused, like Star Wars: Episode VII. And honestly, as wicked awesome as Blomkamp’s vision of the Star Wars universe would be, I can’t blame him. Blomkamp doesn’t come off like a director who’d want to play with someone else’s toys in someone else’s sand box. Wired reports Elysium producer Simon Kinberg approached Blomkamp about the possibilty of tackling Star Wars, but he turned it down, likely citing all these other movies he has in mind.

So there’s Elysium opening August 9th, then Blomkamp begins filming Chappie, followed by Mild Oats, maybe? Then, if ever, District 10. Busy, busy Blomkamp.

Source: /Film

Matt Damon Fights the Future in ‘Elysium’ Trailer

Elysium

It’s only one of the most anticipated movies of the year, director Neill Blomkamp‘s follow-up to the critical and commercial smash District 9, but despite its original March 2013 release date, and its expected new release date just four months hence, we haven’t seen a lot of Blomkamp’s new project Elysium

…Until now.

Yahoo has posted the first trailer for the film, and it looks amazing. Matt Damon plays a soldier trying to leave the dying Earth and become part of the stiff upper crust (the one per centers) who live on a lavish space station called Elysium, which is administered by Jodie Foster. District 9 star Sharlto Copley plays the villain, and while you’ll see him in the trailer, if you blink you might miss him. The trailer also gives us a good long look at both Earth and Elysium and hints at some of the action we’re going to see in the film (it’s not all high-brow sci-fi ideas and stuff, you know).

Here’s the trailer:

Plot Synopsis: In the year 2159 two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hard line government official will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that if successful will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

Elysium is out in theaters everywhere August 9th.

Source: /Film

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The first poster for Neill Blomkamp‘s Elysium has been released, and we can expect to see the full trailer out tomorrow.  Given the reaction to the footage that was shown at last year’s comic-con, we can expect the trailer to be pretty damn epic.  Basically, Earth is in shambles and those that live on the space station Elysium are living the nice life, but they enforce anti-immigration laws even more strongly than the Americans do when it comes to Mexicans.  So, seems like it would be quite the task for Matt Damon’s character to try and get his ass into Elysium for medical help.  And if he does, everything will change forever.  Dun dun dun…  From what we know about the film, it definitely sounds interesting.

The cast includes Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Wagner Moura, and William Fichtner.  We’ll be seeing Elysium in theaters on August 9, 2013.

Hit the jump for the poster and the official synopsis.

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‘Elysium’ and ‘RoboCop’ Play Release Date Shuffle

Excited about Neill Blomkamp‘s follow-up to District 9, the high-minded sci-fi actioner Elysium? Well it looks like you’re going to have to wait a little longer as Sony Pictures has pulled the film from its spring release date and pushed it back to a late summer slot. This follows a decision by Sony, and producing partner MGM, to push back the release date of the rebooted RoboCop to a February 2014 release date. Insert ominous music here. (more…)

The biggest buzz out of Comic Con, so far, seems to be coming from the Elysium footage that was shown in Hall H. Coincidentally this is the one panel our 3 correspondents couldn’t make. Figures.

Admittedly, Elysium has been off my nerdy radar. I had seen a few goofy pics online of actor Matt Damon holding an alien gun w/ some bizarre arm contraption, but that’s about it. Up until today, I didn’t know a damn thing about it. After reading about the seven-minute reel shown at SDCC yesterday, the film has jumped up on my list of movies I’m most looking forward to.

Elysium is a new sci-fi film from Neill Blomkamp, who exploded onto the film scene with District 9. Blomkamp, along with stars Matt Damon, Sharlto Cospley and Jodi Foster set up camp at Hall H and blew some minds.

Blomkamp introduced a seven-minute reel, cautioning it was  “incredibly rough,” and saying that there’s a sales aspect to the shilling of a film that he is uncomfortable with, making him wary of showing off footage to other people. But, he was OK with showing something at Comic-Con because, “it’s a true, honest thing. There’s no lies about it. It’s completely about want to seeing cool footage.”

Gotta love directors who downplay raw footage. It lowers the expectation. Playing coy certainly worked, because, as word would have it, the footage  previewed was eye-gasm worthy.

The reel showed a world that is overpopulated with the wealthy living in a space station orbiting the planet. The character played by Matt Damon, a steel worker living in slums, needs to get to the station, but in order to do that, must kidnap an Earthbound resident. Chases and action featuring robots ensue, as well as mechanical enhancement and Sharlto Copley as a villain.

Post viewing, Blomkamp and crew talked about the film (obviously). Being that we don’t have a first hand account (again, we weren’t there) I can only recoup very little of what was said. The following quotes come from our friends at The Hollywood Reporter

“It was in such incredible detail. So arresting. And there was a whole corresponding book on weaponry and a whole book on vehicles,” said Damon.

Blomkamp also discussed the movies origins, saying it came from “an idea of a space station. In the film, the wealth was taken and separated from Earth, leaving an impoverished planet behind it.”

At one point, they shot in the second largest garbage dump in the world — with dust storms kicking up fecal matter. Blomkamp was forced to wear breaking masks; the actors… well, they were forced to endure.

Damon recalled how he and Copley shot their fight scenes. “We would be black with dust. And we would look at each other and say, ‘This is fecal matter,’” he said. “And Neill would come over, take off his maks, and say, ‘I promise you, the photography looks great!’”

For a more detailed recap of what went down at the Elysium panel, check out Cinemablend’s live-blog.