New Names and Bigger Roles For Old Ones Fill ‘Episode VII’ Rumor Mill

- 01-12-14Film Posted by Adam A. Donaldson

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Two years. A little less than two years till we finally get to see this thing called Star Wars Episode VII. What do we know? Nothing really. J.J. Abrams is directing, Kathleen Kennedy is producing, and Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are re-workng the script written by Michael Arndt. Details? Fuggedaboutit! But one of the Hollywood trade publications took the weekend opportunity to have a rumor dump of all the latest speculative casting for the film, from those already mentioned, to those we’ve yet to hear associated with the project, to the original actors who may, or may not, have bigger parts in the expanded franchise. (more…)

REVIEW: Does ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Live Up to Expectations?

- 12-13-12Featured, Film, reviews Posted by Mel Valentin

The first, second, and probably eighth word that comes to mind when thinking about, discussing, or writing about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson‘s long-awaited return to the Middle Earth, is, to put it bluntly, “bloat.” Clocking in at two hours and fifty minutes, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey suffers from an under-motivated central character, poorly defined supporting characters, a meandering, unfocused first hour, and a sporadically engaging quest narrative in the second and third hours. The visual effects are variable and occasionally cheap-looking and they are made all the worse when viewed in Jackson’s preferred format of 48 FPS (frames per second), which is less a technological leap forward than it is a probable dead end.

Warning: Possible spoilers ahead. 

Jackson gives us not one, not two, but three prologues, beginning with an elderly Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), recounting the events that led to the fall of the dwarf kingdom at the center of the film before segueing to a pre-Lord of the Rings encounter between Bilbo and his nephew, Frodo (Elijah Wood), before segueing again to a younger Bilbo (the wisely chosen Martin Freeman).

The Bilbo we meet has little taste for adventure or risk. He prefers his materially comfortable life in Bag-End to the potential dangers of the outside world. It takes Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), an itinerant wizard primarily known for his fireworks displays, to spur Bilbo from his provincial complacency by forcefully introducing him to a company of twelve dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), the deposed heir of the dwarf kingdom. Thorin, of course, wants to reclaim his kingdom, but a dragon by the name of Smaug stands in his way.

Even after a reluctant Bilbo decides to join Gandalf, Thorin, and the other dwarves, the narrative pace doesn’t so much pick up as go sideways, filling the next hour with episodic encounters with, among others, Radegast the Brown, (Sylvester McCoy), a minor, forest- dwelling wizard who plays a marginal, tangential role. Naturally, he also encounters orcs, man-eating trolls, stone giants, and goblins — including a grotesque, repellent Goblin King whose singular design reflects Guillermo del Toro’s involvement in pre-production.

Familiar faces makes an appearance in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey thanks to a side trip (they’re all, ultimately, side trips) to Rivendell, the elf kingdom home to Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), along with Saruman (Christopher Lee). familiar faces three, before not one, but two extended battles, one below ground and another above. Another familiar face, Gollum (Andy Serkis), appears as well. With more than a decade’s worth of motion-capture developments to draw from, the Gollum in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is noticeably more expressive than the Gollum moviegoers met eleven years ago. He’s also less the wretched, woeful creature we met a decade ago. He’s far more dangerous, far more treacherous, and far more unpredictable. This Gollum is a cunning, conflicted sociopath willing to bet his life against Bilbo’s in a game of riddles. The encounter, of course, proves key for another reason: Gollum loses and Bilbo gains the ring (and object of desire) at the center of The Lord of the Rings.

Unfortunately, Gollum’s appearance proves to be short-lived. Once Bilbo and Gollum part company on less than friendly terms, the CG monsters, CG backgrounds, and CG- heavy set pieces take over, to increasingly mind- and body-numbing effect. By the time the characters in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey near the end of the first part of their destination audiences will be just as exhausted as the characters onscreen. The promise of two more films to round out another trilogy doesn’t feel like a promise at all. At best, it feels like a challenge. At worst, it feels like a chore. It’s probably more of the latter than the former.

Mel Valentin is a prominent film critic based out of Northern California. You can find his film reviews on NextProjection.com, SFStation.com, and VeryAware.com.

The ‘Transformers’ Round-up: New Details on ‘Transformers 4′ & Michael Bay’s War of Words

- 10-19-12Film Posted by NickBungay

This is, to many, the franchise that should have died when Megan Fox got fired, but yet it continues to make so much money that Paramount and Dreamworks can’t say no to a sequel and then another.

With the sad news that Micheal Bay will once again helm a Transformers movie, Transformers 4 is looking for some fresh faces in what the studio hopes is the first of a new trilogy. Bay said this will be the first “in a new direction”, with the human lead of the film being a girl and her boyfriend will be the secondary eye candy; the reverse of the Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox/Rosie Alice Huntington-Whiteley relationships of the last three movies. By the way, Mike, I am available.

Instead of going with some young and rising talent however, bay is looking for some unknown talent to step in and star and possibly wash his car during the casting process. According to Acting Auditions via Transformers Live the main characters are described as follows with a start date for filming:

“The female lead role is an 18 year old or above who can play high school senior age, and the male lead is an early twenties Texas race car driver who plays the female lead’s boyfriend. Shooting will take place in various locations beginning in April or May of 2013.”

An April or May start for next year means they’re trying to keep in time with the previously announced June 2014 release date. The only danger right now is the risk of hiring raw talent, it’s possible that whoever is hired isn’t ready for their big screen debut, but at least it isn’t as bad as dealing with the current talent. See what we mean after the jump.
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‘Captain America 2’ Casting News

- 10-15-12Comics, Film Posted by Jason McAnelly

Today, we here at the elite Nerdbastards news collective of the motherland bring you more information concerning the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Since the movie is still in its early stages, Marvel Studios is putting together a cast.  And though very few have as-of-yet been positively confirmed, there are a few front-runners that are looking very likely.

The two main roles they need to fill are that of the female lead and, of course, a nasty villain for the Captain to square off against.  Several names are flying around, but some stand out above the rest.

As far as the female lead goes, it’s looking very much like Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is the favorite.  She’s thought to be in contention for the role of Sharon Carter, niece of Peggy Carter from the first film.  Though that too is still a rumor, the fact that Sharon is one of Captain A’s main love interests in the comics makes it one of those rumors that might actually be true.

When it comes to the main villain, there are two familiar faces contending in the final rounds.  Josh Holloway of Lost fame and the almighty Game of Thrones bastard, Nikolaj Coster Waldau.  No word on what their role will be quite yet.

These folks will be joining Anthony Mackie as The Falcon and a returning Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow.

There is one individual who will not likely be making a return, however – Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull.  Not that they planned on bringing him back immediately, but Weaving has expressed his opinion that he’d rather not play the classic Captain America villain ever again.

Or, in his own words:

I [signed a multi-picture deal] for Captain America. I think the tendency, with those films, would be to probably not bring a villain back. They might for The Avengers, but I didn’t think I’d be in CaptainAmerica 2 or 3. I don’t think Red Skull will be there. And it’s not something I would want to do again. I’m glad I did it. I did sign up for a number of pictures and I suppose, contractually, I would be obliged to, if they forced me to, but they wouldn’t want to force someone to do it, if they didn’t want to. I think I’ve done my dash with that sort of film. It was good to do it and try it out, but to be honest, it’s not the sort of film I seek out and really am excited by. As an actor, to do all sorts of different films is great. It stretches you in different ways. But, I increasingly like to go back to what I used to always do, which is to get involved with projects that I really have a personal affiliation with.

Oh well.  Although Weaving did a decent job in the first flick, who really wants to see the same villain pop up over and over again, especially where there are so many more stories to tell in the Captain America universe?

Check out the Captain when he finally makes his way back to the big screen again on April 4th, 2014.

 

Thanks to geektyrant and ComicBookMovie for sharing the love.

A Bunch of Character Photos (And Neato Make-Ups) From ‘Cloud Atlas’

- 08-03-12Film Posted by Luke Gallagher

So now that the summer of superhero movies have come to a close, what’s there to look forward to? Well, there’s a number of exciting films on the horizon actually. One flick in particular, though, would have to be Andy and Lana Wachowski (the Matrix trilogy) and Tom Tykwer‘s (Run Lola Run) Cloud Atlas .The trailer for it  hit just a few days ago, and my lord…it’s poised to be one heck of a Sci-Fi spectacle!  I for one, am astonished at how wildly imaginative it is. There are six stories in the movie that the characters will appear in that cross through different genres and take place of over the course of a thousand years. (Basically, all the actors play different characters in different time frames of the story). I mean come one, how ambitious does sound? Plus, with this being a Wachowski joint, you know it’s going to be a visual treat.

If you haven’t checked out the trailer I implore you to do so (I’ve embedded it after the jump). I think you’ll be impressed. For the rest of you, Warner Bros. has launched the official website for the film, and included in the website are photos from every single character in the film. In these photos you’ll see  variations of actors Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Xun Zhou, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant.

Sure, some of the make-ups look like they were done from booted contestants from SyFy’s Face-Off, but it’s kind of remarkable how distinctly different each actor looks. Some of them are completely unrecognizable.

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Six Minute ‘Cloud Atlas’ Trailer – An Unexpected Pleasure

- 07-26-12Film Posted by Mark Poynter

This NerdBastard wasn’t thrilled about watching a SIX MINUTE trailer of Cloud Atlas this morning, but when the boss cracks the whip you either watch it, or tell him “Thank you sir, can I have another.” So I finished my TPS Report and sat down to watch this monstrous sized trailer.

Son of a bitch . . .

That damn Tom Hanks seems to have done it again. He’s visually the equivalent of the Morgan Freeman Voice over; warm, comforting, and pretty soon this NerdBastard was sucked in and hooked.

One warning though, the trailer is so long that the advertising in the embedded video will kick in at one point, don’t worry it’s only a 15 second break, although it is annoying as hell.

The movie is described as:

An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.

What did you think about the trailer? Everything I’d heard about Cloud Atlas was how huge and convoluted the book was and how could anyone let alone even the Wachowskis brothers bring it to the big screen and do it justice.

The good news is that the film hits theater screens on October 21st, 2012 so we don’t have long to wait. The movie stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, Jim Broadbent, James D’Arcy, Doona Bae.

Finally it’s here! “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Trailer Released

- 12-20-11Film Posted by Veronique Medrano

Finally it’s here!

One of the most anticipated films of the upcoming year (other than Batman & The Avengers) has released a high quality trailer for everyone to count their pennies for the 2012 Holiday season. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, trailer is here first for all you loyal literary/mythological nerds to salivate over. I know it may seem like such a tease, but after so many video/blog posts of the film production, the release of this trailer finally gives us a solid look at the Lord of the Rings universe that left an aching hole in our hearts since Lord of the Rings: Return of The King.  Take a gander and share with other nerd friends, ’cause Peter Jackson just gave you the best pre-Christmas gift ever, or Hanukkah gift for all our Jewish folks out there.

The film stars Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Andy Serkis, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, andStephen Fry.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released on December 14, 2012.

Official Synopsis:

“The Hobbit” follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever … Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Three New Captain America TV Spots

- 06-07-11Comics, Film Posted by David Manly

The next (and last) Marvel superhero movie coming out this summer is Captain America: The First Avenger, and it looks to be the best of the bunch!

I could not be more excited for this movie, as Captain America has been a staple of my comic book reading for well-over a decade. And, from what I’ve seen, Chris Evans has the part down.

But, if you are still unconvinced, Marvel has released three new TV spots to peak your interest. And in them we get some new scenes, a few more lines of dialogue, and a confrontation between The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and Cap.

Be sure to check them out embedded below, and get ready for one hell of a ride this July 22nd!

Hugo Weaving’s Return to Middle Earth Confirmed by Gandalf Himself

- 05-10-11Film Posted by Sarah Moran

Elrond is back, and not too surprisingly Hugo Weaving is reprising the role. The casting news was recently confirmed by Ian McKellen on his personal blog,

The rest of the cast remains on duty for another few weeks, working on hobbit-less sections of the film. These involve dwarves of course but also elves, with Hugo Weaving back for a stretch as Lord Elrond.

Also reprising their roles are, obviously, McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum. Ian Holm and Elijah Wood will also appear in future scenes, and of course there’s Peter Jackson again in the director’s chair. Fans of the Lord of the Rings films should have no worries, The Hobbit is shaping up to fit in the series quite nicely.

Don’t forget to catch Weaving in Captain America, opening July 22nd, as the villainous Red Skull.

But what is McKellen talking about the rest of the cast remaining on duty? Who left?

Martin Freeman has left The Hobbit. This is not another April Fool, just a May Fact.

WHAT!?! Quickly, hit the jump to read McKellen’s entire post and learn the truth!

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MORE Captain America Pics (including a reveal of The Red Skull)

- 02-07-11Comics, Film Posted by David Manly

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With our first look at Captain America: The First Avenger provided by last night’s Super Bowl teaser trailer, my excitement for this movie officially jumped up to 11.

The trailer, while short, displayed everything I could have wanted from this first look – Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans) are a thin and scrawny boy, the Super Soldier project, the reveal of Captain America, lots of battle scenes, the friggin SHIELD and more.

In case you missed it, there were a few goodies revealed in the trailer that I bet you didn’t see, such as the reveal of the bad guy known as The Red Skull, played by Hugo Weaving, and some shots of Cap’s unit called the Howling Commandos (including Dum Dum Dugan played by the always great Neal McDonough.) Click below the jump for some ner high resolution screen caps of the trailer, as well as glimpses from the inside of recent issue of Empire magazine.

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