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April 24, 2009

FirstShowing.net Daily Update

Filed under: Entertainment, Movies — hypeplug @ 6:05 pm

FirstShowing.net Daily Update

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Alexandre Desplat is Scoring Twilight Saga: New Moon?!

Posted: 24 Apr 2009 09:15 AM PDT

Alexandre Desplat

Some heartbreaking news today. French composer Alexandre Desplat will be scoring The Twilight Saga: New Moon. The news was confirmed by the Upcoming Film Scores blog, where they say that Desplat has a working relationship with director Chris Weitz. Why is this heartbreaking? Because Desplat is one of the finest composers working today and I was hoping there wouldn’t be anything that would actually interest me in New Moon. Desplat will be replacing Carter Burwell, who provided the score for the first Twilight last year. I actually liked Burwell’s score, it was probably the best part of that entire movie.

Desplat received Oscar nominations for his scores to The Queen and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button most recently. He has also composed the scores for Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana, John Curran’s The Painted Veil, Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, and Chris Weitz’s The Golden Compass. He is currently working on Julie & Julia, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. He does some incredible work and I’ve loved most of his scores. It’ll be interesting to see how much work Desplat does for New Moon, considering Twilight featured mostly pop songs and only the occasional orchestral score (with also Bella’s Lullaby).

Photo of Alexandre Desplat courtesy of Marvis M.Jacuzzis on Flickr.

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Review: J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek – Epic Sci-Fi at its Finest

Posted: 24 Apr 2009 05:27 AM PDT

Star Trek

I never thought this day would come. I’m a born-again Trekkie, through and through. Last night I finally got to see J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, and to put it simply, it blew me away. Although I had set some incredibly high expectations – being a long-standing sci-fi addict and a hardcore fan of at least “The Next Generation” as well as J.J. Abrams – it was everything I had hoped for and more. I know I say that quite a bit on here and I do get caught up in the hype, but this time I will insist that it kicks ass and it won’t soon be forgotten (like Star Trek: Nemesis was). No, this is a Star Trek that has rejuvenated the franchise in a truly epic way.

It might have helped get me in the mood that I was surrounded by hardcore Trekkies who were quizing each other with trivia right up until the lights went down. In all honesty, that only made me feel more a part of the universe that J.J. Abrams’ re-introduces us to in 126 minutes. While a total of 79 episodes of “The Original Series” have established one of the most detailed and distinct sci-fi universes ever imagined, it only took Abrams one movie to successfully re-inject all of those characters we love and everything that made that series so classic and entertaining into an exciting and refreshing restart of a beloved franchise.

At its foundation, Star Trek would not have been as exceptional as it was without a great script, and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci deserve an immense amount of praise for their work. Not only did they put together a fantastic story worthy of Gene Roddenberry’s blessing, but it’s packed full of all the great Trek nuggets that geeks like myself want, and need, to see in a great Star Trek movie. And best of all, their characters are absolutely flawless, and provided the perfect infrastructure for the actors build upon.

Speaking of the actors, Chris Pine pulls off the impossible, and not only stands up against more experienced actors like Bruce Greenwood and Eric Bana, but stands out as one of the best damn leads I’ve seen in a sci-fi movie in a while. In addition to Pine, it’s really the entire cast that shines, from Zachary Quinto as Spock, to Karl Urban as Bones, to John Cho as Sulu, to Zoe Saldana as Uhura, to even Eric Bana as Nero. I wouldn’t even say there was anyone that underperformed, because at the most important moments, every last actor shined their brightest. Although I will say the best performance of all – Leonard Nimoy.

What I just loved about this Star Trek movie was, simply, seeing all of the introductions to all of the characters. Yes, we get to see Kirk cheat on the Kobayashi Maru test; yes, we get to see how Bones gets his nickname; yes, we get to see how Uhura becomes the Communications Officer because she’s so talented; yes, we get to see how Scotty ends up aboard the Enterprise; yes, we get to see how and why Spock decides to join the Federation. Every time one of the classic characters would get their introduction, or say any of the lines that they’re so well known for, the audience would cheer, and I would get chills down my spine.

It wasn’t just that, though. Having someone as extraordinarily talent as J.J. Abrams pull together all the great performances, the vibrant cinematography, the unbelievably epic action sequences in space, inside, and on the ground, the wonderful score from Michael Giacchino, and everything else, is what made it so phenomenal overall. Abrams has reminded me why I love movies so damn much and why I love science fiction so damn much. Only the very best filmmakers can do that, and J.J. Abrams is certainly one of them. And without a doubt, his version of Star Trek is one movie that I instantly fell in love with at first sight.

Lastly, I need to say that I think Abrams has spoiled us, because I’m just dying to see this series continue on exactly as it now exists with the crew we now know and love. But I don’t want to have to wait two years for every new 126-minute “episode.” I was so incredibly excited by the ending (and during the final scene), that I didn’t want to leave the theater, I wanted to just sit there, watching it over and over again until the next movie was ready to debut. Luckily, I’m probably I’m not the only one who is going to feel this way.

Alex’s Rating: 9.5 out of 10

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Matthew Macfadyen is the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood?

Posted: 24 Apr 2009 03:35 AM PDT

Matthew Macfadyen

We thought the entire cast had been announced for Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, but apparently not. SlashFilm has discovered that British actor Matthew Macfadyen (Pride & Prejudice, Death at a Funeral, Frost/Nixon) has been cast as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood. But how can this be, wasn’t Russell Crowe supposed to play that role and Robin Hood? If you missed it, in February we posted an update from Ridley Scott who clarified that they had gotten rid of that dual casting. But when all the casting confirmations came in around March, the Sheriff was mysteriously missing. At least we know who it is.

Word is that Macfadyen first revealed at a Masterclass event that he was in Robin Hood, but that news didn’t get very far. However, on the fansite Darcylicious, they eventually confirmed with Macfadyen’s agent that he is indeed starring as the Sheriff of Nottingham. It’s odd to see a fansite getting confirmation, but it otherwise seems legitimate, and now we don’t have to be suspicious about that missing casting anymore. Although the idea in general was widely criticized, it may be unfortunate to some to now know that Russell Crowe won’t be playing the dual roles anymore. That would’ve at least been interesting to see, I think.

As for Macfadyen, he’s a great actor for sure, but he’s very soft spoken. I might even call him a lightweight. But maybe this is a chance for him to really show us what he’s got and push his own limits. That is, if this is the villain that I’m imagining the Sheriff of Nottingham to be. The plot of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood will follow Robin from his early days in King Richard’s army to his return to Nottingham to his creation of a band of mercenaries who challenge the sheriff and eventually try to prevent civil war. If you haven’t already seen it, we posted a photo of Crowe as Robin Hood a few days ago. Macfadyen will shoot in May and June.

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First Look: Gaspar Noe’s Cannes Film Enter the Void

Posted: 24 Apr 2009 03:00 AM PDT

First Look: Gaspar Noe's Latest Cannes Film Enter the Void

French filmmaker Gaspar Noé may only have made two films so far, but anyone who has seen either of them know that he’s quite a profound director. Both I Stand Alone and Irréversible premiered at Cannes in 1998 and 2002, respectively, and it was just announced yesterday that Gaspar Noe’s latest film titled Enter the Void will be premiering at this year’s Cannes Film Festival as well. These photos primarily come from the official website that recently launched – SoudainleVide.com. A few of them are quite trippy, but that’s because part of the film is a hallucination, and that’s just the beginning. Read on to see the photos.

For those wondering what this is about, I’ve provided a synopsis beneath the photos that I created by combining a translation of the synopsis on the website and another translated explanation of the plot.

Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void

Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void

Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void

Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void

Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void

Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void

Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void

Enter the Void stars newcomer Nathaniel Brown as Oscar and Paz de la Huerta as his sister Linda. Now living in Tokyo, Oscar sells drugs to survive while Linda works as a stripper. Oscar is set-up and betrayed by his friend and fatally shot in a police raid. His spirit, faithful to the promise made with his sister to protect no matter what, struggles to leave the real world. Through the last moments of his life we see him leave his body and oversee everything happening simultaneously in the lives of his sister Linda and his friends. Past, present and future mix in a hallucinatory maelstrom that becomes increasingly chaotic and nightmarish.

This is one of my top priorities at Cannes, so I’m sure you’ll hear plenty more on this in May. On the way over to France, I’m planning on watching I Stand Alone and Irréversible to catch up with Gaspar Noé.

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Watch This: Joe Pantoliano on Why the Matrix Sequels Failed

Posted: 24 Apr 2009 01:45 AM PDT

Joe Pantoliano

“Ignorance is bliss,” isn’t it? Before we begin, let me be clear – I personally loved Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions. Of course, by mentioning this, both fans and haters are going to come out of the woodwork to argue. However, what I can’t argue is that Revolutions only made $139M at the box office, which was $142M less than Reloaded and $32M less than the first Matrix. It should’ve been a much bigger success, but it wasn’t. Why? That’s another question that doesn’t really have an answer, however, I’ll let Joe Pantoliano stoke that fire again. This interview comes from FORA.tv and is a fascinating watch for Matrix fans.

Before reading on, I suggest you check out this video, which is only just a few minutes long. The interviewer asks Joe Pantoliano why Matrix became such a huge hit, and he goes into a discussion about the sequels.

Its been some six years since Reloaded and Revolutions hit theaters, and we’ve had a long time to discuss what went wrong (well, at least those who didn’t enjoy them had discussions), but I’m still fascinated by Pantoliano’s answer. It’s a fairly simple response at first, but what he gets into near the end is very interesting. If you think about how Hollywood works, although there are plenty of movies that are copies that become more successful than the original, it’s that first mind blowing experience that true cinephiles hold in high regard and never forget. I think that’s the best point that Pantoliano makes.

Of course, haters of the sequels will argue that the Wachowskis screwed up anyway, and even though they had a chance to blow us away again, they didn’t. However, I’ll argue that they did blow me away with Speed Racer (at least visually), and that may be because it was something new, and it wasn’t a sequel or a copy of their own movie(s). So, extending Pantoliano’s discussion, maybe the Wachowskis aren’t gooda t sequels, because at that point they start to just copy themselves? I hate to say something like that, since I think they’re visionaries, but maybe they tried too hard (or not hard enough) on Reloaded and Revolutions?

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt Joins Christopher Nolan’s Inception

Posted: 23 Apr 2009 11:50 PM PDT

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The cast of Christopher Nolan’s Inception continues to grow. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the latest to join the cast and is taking on the role that would’ve been played by James Franco before he left due to a scheduling conflict. Gordon-Levitt will reportedly play an associate of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, who is a “CEO-type.” We still don’t know anything about the story, besides that it’s a contemporary sci-fi action film set within “the architecture of the mind.” Starring alongside of DiCaprio and Gordon-Levitt are Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard as DiCaprio’s wife, and Ellen Page as a grad student and DiCaprio’s sidekick.

Gordon-Levitt is one of my favorite young actors who has a whole lot of potential. He next stars in 500 Days of Summer this July, which is one of my favorite movies of the year. He also plays Cobra Commander in the upcoming G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, but we haven’t seen much of that yet. Christopher Nolan is rounding up one hell of an awesome cast for Inception. Not that I had any doubts that he would line-up great actors, but it sounds like it’ll be a great follow-up to The Dark Knight. Now just to figure out what it’s about! Anyone have any ideas based on those characters? Something about grad students and CEOs and sci-fi?

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Rodriguez Co-Directing Machete with Editor Ethan Maniquis

Posted: 23 Apr 2009 11:40 PM PDT

Machete

So maybe Danny Trejo was right about this all along… As you might’ve noticed earlier today in our article about Robert Rodriguez directing an eventual Predator reboot, the filmmaker is also finally going to make Machete, the full version of the “fake” trailer that he put together with Danny Trejo for Grindhouse in 2007. Rodriguez is eyeing a June start date in Austin for Machete, a film that is financed and produced by Overnight Productions, with Danny Trejo reprising his badass role. Rodriguez wrote the script and will direct the film with Ethan Maniquis, his longtime editor. It’s about time this is finally going to get made!

In case you have forgotten, then damnit, you go put in your copy of Planet Terror on DVD and watch the Machete trailer again! But in all seriousness, as a reminder, Machete is about a Mexican ex-Federale (Trejo) with a gift for wielding dual blades, who hides out as a day laborer, but is double-crossed by a corrupt state senator and goes to get his vengeance. The slogan that Rodriguez used in the trailer was: “This time, they fucked with the wrong Mexican.” Hopefully they’ll be able to keep that in the marketing this time, because there’s no better way to sell the movie than with that tagline alone. Bring on some Danny Trejo mayhem!

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Denzel Washington to Star in Tony Scott’s Unstoppable

Posted: 23 Apr 2009 11:30 PM PDT

Denzel Washington

Remember that “unstoppable train action movie” that Tony Scott is directing called Unstoppable? Well they just found their lead – Denzel Washington. Denzel has starred in five of Tony Scott’s movies, so it’s obvious these guys have a great working relationship. I just can’t imagine an “unstoppable train action movie” being such a great concept that Fox is pushing it into development so quickly; they’re on track to start shooting in the fall. Washington will play an engineer who jumps in a locomotive with a young conductor to chase down a runaway train carrying toxic chemicals. Mark Bomback wrote the script.

Our friends over at SlashFilm did a bit of research to find out the details behind the “true event” that this is based on. Apparently a runaway freight train traveled 70 miles with no one at the controls for nearly two hours before rail workers were able to slow it down by latching a second engine to the end of the train and applying the brakes. While two of the train’s tank cars contained thousands of gallons of the hazardous material molten phenol acid, the runaway train itself was considered more of a threat than the chemicals on board. I wonder if they’re working in some sort of terrorist plot or government scheme or something?

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TMNT Creator Peter Laird Says They’ll Use Full Turtle Suits

Posted: 23 Apr 2009 05:20 PM PDT

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Last night it was officially announced by The Mirage Group that another new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action movie was in development for 2011. The details they revealed at time were that it would be a reboot focusing on their origins and that it might use some “face replacement technology.” Being a fan of the original rubber suit live-action movies, and a believer that nothing else can compare to how great those suits looked, I’m worried that we’re going to see an Alvin and the Chipmunks-like half-CGI TMNT movie this time, which I certainly do not want. However, TMNT co-creator Peter Laird says otherwise.

Over on his official blog, Laird wrote up an entry about the live-action news and at the end, commented on the hybrid aspect of it. The word “hybrid” was previously thrown around in an article we wrote last year.

“So here we go — another live action film! As you may recall from some of my previous comments, our initial discussions regarding the next film had to do with what we were calling a ‘hybrid’ — live action with realistic Turtles rendered in CGI and blended in. This new idea — which, frankly, I am VERY pumped about — will have actors and stunt performers in full Turtle suits for filming in live action. As of right now, there is talk of using CGI to do ‘face replacement‘ for the suits so that we can get those great, expressive faces possible with CGI.”

What we can’t forget about the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was that it was actually an independent film, with a budget of only $13.5 million. Those costumes they came up with were a result of what worked well and what was cheap, not what would be the easiest way to attract kids to theaters. Thankfully it all worked out in the end and the suits kicked ass, but I’m worried that this may be a big Hollywood production and they’ll lose that creative edge that forced them to make a great movie the first time around. Hopefully with Peter Laird working on this, he won’t let them do anything too cheesy.

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Interesting Updates on Rian Johnson’s Sci-Fi Project Looper

Posted: 23 Apr 2009 04:39 PM PDT

Rian Johnson

Although Rian Johnson’s follow up to Brick has yet to hit theaters (watch this opening), I’m already excited for his next film, a time travel sci-fi called Looper. That may be because I’ve seen The Brothers Bloom three times already and I absolutely love Rian Johnson, but anyway… The last time we wrote about Looper was in September of last year, right after Brothers Bloom had premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. A few small story details were revealed at the time, mainly that it would be “set in a present-day world in which a group of hitmen are sent their victims from the future.” Sounds good, but how about some more details?

As part of the Independent Film Festival Boston, SlashFilm’s Dave Chen got to interview Johnson and they spent a few minutes chatting about Looper. First things first, contrary to the synopsis earlier, Johnson now says this latest draft is set 30 years in the future, in a dystopian world after a “a huge financial collapse of some sort.” And as for all the time travel elements, Johnson clarifies. “It’s not like Minority Report, we’re not dealing with a ton of crazy technology. And the time travel aspect of it is similar to the way time travel is used in the first Terminator, where it’s part of the setup but it’s not a part of the ongoing story.”

If any of you have seen Primer or Timecrimes, you know that time travel can be a bit confusing. “The point of this is to tell a story and keep people watching. So it becomes a balance of narrative vs. information,” Johnson says. And thankfully his use of time travel isn’t going to be that confusing. “They travel backwards but, like I said, the first Terminator thing is very apt. An element has traveled back from the future, but our entire story takes place in our ‘present day,’ which is 30 years from now.” Now I know where they got that “present day” reference for the plot. Oh and let’s not forget that Looper is also “really violent and dark.”

As excited I am to see Looper, I can’t forget that The Brothers Bloom is due out first (on May 15th exactly), and Johnson hasn’t even finished the script anyway. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another three years for him to make it, like it did between Brick and Bloom, because I don’t know if I can wait that long for another Rian Johnson film! Why hasn’t someone invented time travel yet? Then I could jump three years ahead!

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Secrets of Tintin Revealed: There’s More Work to be Done!

Posted: 23 Apr 2009 03:55 PM PDT

Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg - Tintin

With the official 20th anniversary edition of Empire magazine now out on shelves (in England at least), juicy tidbits that they’ve hidden only in the magazine have started to hit. Over on SlashFilm, they’ve got a big write-up on the secrets of Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg’s Tintin. Well, they’re not really secrets, per se, but considering there seems to be a lot going on that we don’t know about, it’s a good way to describe the details anyway. We know that they finished shooting The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn and are working on post-production, but apparently they’re already in pre-production on the second one.

Jackson reveals, “We were originally planning three to be in production at the same time in different stages, and we may well do that. At the moment we have this one and the studio[s] is financing the second one as well, which is in pre-production.” The studios he’s talking about are Paramount and Sony, who have together decided to co-finance the film, but the last we heard, they hadn’t given the second one a greenlight. They shot for 32 days earlier this year for Secret of the Unicorn, but a week of reshoots will take place in June, at Jackson’s studios, “so that any holes in Spielberg’s original material might be patched.”

Considering I don’t know much about the actual Tintin comics (it never really became part of our pop culture as much as in Europe), I care more about who’s involved than what the story is about, at least at this moment. In due time we’ll get a trailer and be given our first glimpse of what is taking place storywise, but until then, my focus is more on the process. And speaking of that process, SlashFilm posted an interesting update earlier this week about Hot Fuzz director Edgar Wright denying the rumors that he might be in the running to direct the third Tintin. Don’t forget, he is credited as one of the screenwriters of the first one.

There are a few more updates worth reading about over on SlashFilm or in the latest issue of Empire, so if you’re a die-hard Tintin fan and want to know more, you know where to go. Obviously all of the secrets haven’t been revealed just yet, but these are certainly some interesting updates today. We’ll let you know if we hear more about Tintin from Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, or anyone else involved, anytime soon.

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Tom Hanks on Toy Story 3 and What They Showed Him First

Posted: 23 Apr 2009 03:16 PM PDT

Toy Story

One of the many reasons that I love Pixar as much as I do is because of their work ethic, their process, how they do things. It’s a bit different from everyone else, but it still works, and it’s somewhat mesmerizing to see (as in, the special features on their DVDs). Empire published an excerpt from their recent interview with Tom Hanks talking about working on Toy Story 3. He explains that they actually showed him the movie first, with temporary voices, before he then recorded his own voice. “I have been in and done three big complete recording sessions and will probably have at least one more to do, possibly in about eight months.”

“They did an interesting thing on this one. They did not send us a script. They showed us a complete story reel of the entire movie, with storyboards moving from one to the next, and the people up at Pixar recorded some voices with some music and sound effects. Tim Allen and John Ratzenberger and I went in a movie theatre, watched the reel and said, ‘This is great, let’s get to work!'”

I don’t think I need to remind anyone that Hanks voices Woody in the movie. And of course, Tim Allen is back as Buzz, and the aforementioned John Ratzenberger is back as Hamm the Piggy Bank. A few weeks ago, Disney showed a promo reel for Toy Story 3 to audiences at NAB. And before that, we announced that the first Toy Story 3 trailer would be attached to the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3-D showing on October 2nd later this year. It’s always fascinating to hear those stories behind how Pixar works, and this is definitely no exception. I mean, how often does anyone see the movie first before they start work on it?

Discover More: Hype, Movie News

It’s Official – Robert Rodriguez Really is Rebooting Predator

Posted: 23 Apr 2009 02:46 PM PDT

Predator

In January we wrote up a rumor from Bloody Disgusting about how Robert Rodriguez’s name was being thrown around in connection with a reboot of the Predator series. It wasn’t confirmed at the time, then Rodriguez separately announced his new sci-fi film Nerveracker, so we thought all hope had been lost. However, IESB has just heard via Rodriguez himself at a press conference in Austin, Texas that a Predator reboot is indeed on his slate, not only for him to produce, but also to eventually direct. The original pitch was as follows: “In the reboot a team of commandoes face down a mysterious race of vicious monsters.”

Rodriguez revealed his upcoming slate at a press conference: “I’m going to be able to shoot my upcoming Machete here, a sci-fi action film called Nerveracker, a reboot of the Predator series called Predators, and a couple of smaller movies called Sin City 2 and The Jetsons.” That’s some sure enough confirmation! Though I don’t know when it’ll happen, because I’m not sure when Rodriguez is going to find the time to do five different films in the next few years, especially when Nerveracker is already slated for release in 2010. Whatever the case, it’s still exciting that Rodriguez is the one who is bringing Predator back from the dead.

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