Blood Meridian negotiations announced… and collapsed.

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In what might be one of the stranger things I’ve seen recently, The Hollywood Reporter published an article detailing a deal with James Franco to direct an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian with Russell Crowe, Tye Sheridan, and Vincent D’Onofrio all in talks to join the cast.

By the time I made it home from work though, the story had changed significantly. According to Deadline:

The mooted Russell Crowe-James Franco collaboration on Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridien has been shelved mere moments after details of it first became public after it emerged that the filmmakers had not yet secured the rights to the novel. … [I]n a situation that highlights the precariousness of conducting film business in a instantaneous online media climate, the breaking news reports about the project appear to have derailed the fragile discussions taking place with the rights owners and the cast. This is a deeply regrettable situation. No one ever wants a story to get in the way of deals being done.

Literature buffs are either letting out a collective groan… or a sigh of relief. Some call Blood Meridian simply unfilmable and considering Franco’s lack of success on two other adaptations of “unfilmable” novels–William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and McCarthy’s Child of God–his name being attached likely didn’t inspire much confidence from fans of McCarthy’s work, even if the idea of D’Onofrio as the Judge would be pretty damn exciting.

As for Blood Meridian, it’s had an interesting history. As far back as 2008, we wrote about the film being adapted by Ridley Scott and then later Todd Fields (and interestingly, I speculated in another article that Scott might try to bring on board Crowe). And another director bites the dust.

What say you, internet?

See also: Mike Rot’s 2008 Cormac McCarthy Mix-Tape and my review of 2011’s McCarthy adaptation The Sunset Limited.

Trailer: Weiner

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He was supposed to be the hero the Democratic Party needed. Charming. Funny. Brash. A progressive white knight in a sea of political darkness. He was the party’s future. You could see his path to the White House.

Then, he had to go and tweet that dick pic.

The joke wrote themselves. A resignation from Congress and two years later, he then decided to run for Mayor of New York… and people have forgiven him. He was even topping the polls. People trusted Weiner again.

Enter Carlos Danger.

Look, if this is all a little confusing to you… that’s fine. It’d probably be better to see his fall, his subsequent rise, and then his mind-boggling second fall with fresh eyes.

If you’re only even mildly interested in politics, this looks to be an instant classic. The trailer looks dynamite.

Weiner will be in theaters May 20, 2016 and Video on Demand on May 26.

Trailer: The Birth of a Nation

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Nate Parker isn’t new to the business–although you may not recognize him by name. Since his starring role in 2007’s The Great Debaters alongside Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, he’s taken on numerous roles in films such as Beyond the Lights, The Secret Life of Bees, Red Tails, Arbitrage, and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Then, a few years back, Parker decided to take his career down a different path. He’d write a movie. For those in the states who paid attention in high school history, you’ll likely recognize the name Nat Turner, the enslaved man who led a rebellion against slave owners in 1830s Virginia.

To write a film on such a complex human being with some pretty serious violence was certainly a task in and of itself. Parker also was tasked with convincing investors to finance his project and then he also planned to produce, direct, and star in the film.

As the Hollywood Reporter describes it:

[What Parker heard when writing the film was] all the reasons a movie about Nat Turner wouldn’t work: Movies with black leads don’t play internationally; a period film with big fight scenes would be too expensive; it was too violent; it wouldn’t work without a big box-office star leading it; Turner was too controversial.

Ultimately though, he secured $10 million in financing from investors and lined up a pretty impressive cast that included Gabrielle Union, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, and Penelope Ann Miller. The film, titled The Birth of a Nation, was coming together.

If you recognize that title, it’s no coincidence. D. W. Griffith’s 1915 revisionist racist garbage portraying the KKK as heroes of the south shares the same title, which was “very much by design,” Turner confirmed in an interview.

The Birth of a Nation has already won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at this year’s Sundance before being picked up by Fox Searchlight. The film hits theaters stateside on October 7, 2016. From the early reviews out of Sundance (and the incredible trailer with the haunting Nina Simone vocals), I’d expect to see plenty of nominations for the film at next year’s Oscars.

If you haven’t heard, Indiana Jones 5 is definitely happening.

Way back in 2013, I discussed my feelings about Disney getting the rights to Indiana Jones. Clearly apathetic or maybe just a little worn out with the world at the time, I said:

But when I hear that Disney has acquired full rights from Paramount to make more Indiana Jones movies (or TV shows or video games or whatever plans they have), well… I don’t even know if I care.

Do I care now?

I do. I probably shouldn’t, but I do.

July 19, 2019. That’s the date that Disney has announced for its release. It’s already actively in pre-production. Disney chairman Alan Horn announced in the press release:

“Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019. It’s rare to have such a perfect combination of director, producers, actor and role, and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this adventure with Harrison and Steven.”

Notice somebody being left out of the description? In 2009, Harrison had said that George Lucas had already been actively working on a fifth film, but since Lucas is no longer attached to the series in any way, it’s about guaranteed that the new writers (including David Koepp) will do their own thing, much like what was done with the newest Star Wars installment. That’s probably not a bad thing, considering even Spielberg has thrown Lucas under the bus for the whole alien-silliness. As for me though, I’ve always been more annoyed by the plastic CGI and the monkeys… those goddamn monkeys.

More details, I’m sure, will be released over the coming months. In the meantime, need a reminder of how bad Crystal Skull was? Here’s my scathing review (and it’s 117 comments).

Say true: Behold, Roland Deschain of Gilead. And I say thankee-sai.

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And, as rumored, Matthew McConaughey is signed on as the mysterious Man in Black. Entertainment Weekly as well as King, Elba, and McConaughey all confirm the news.

Filming on the first of what will hopefully be many The Dark Tower films begins in South Africa in seven weeks and Sony Pictures is aiming for a Jan. 13, 2017 release date.

If you’re unfamiliar with the seven novels by Stephen King, you’re weird. But I’ll be helpful and republish EW’s description:

For those who haven’t turned the pages of The Dark Tower books, they tell the story of the fallen land of Mid-World through the eyes of Roland Deschain, a sort of frontiersman knight whose primary weapon is not a sword but a pair of revolvers. He’s on a quest to save his decaying world by reaching the tower that stands at the nexus point in time and space.

The man in black – a devil who goes by many names, but mostly Walter Padick or Walter O’Dim – is an ageless deceiver and sorcerer who also seeks to reach the tower and rule over its seemingly infinite kingdoms.

To complete his journey, Roland must call on help from our world, drawing a junkie named Eddie, an amputee named Susannah, and a young boy named Jake into his realm to be part of his ka-tet – the term for a group brought together by destiny. Their yellow brick road is one of the six invisible beams that hold Roland’s world together – and lead directly to the tower itself.

Other details are still under wraps, but the article suggests the films will not necessarily follow the order of the books (likely for cinematic as well as budgetary reasons). Furthermore, rumors are already swirling as to the companion television series following the flashback storyline of book four’s Wizard and Glass–but the series’s future development will likely depend on the success of the first film.

Whatever. It’s Idris Elba, man. IDRIS ELBA!

Trailer for Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some

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When one compiles a list of the most interesting American directors out there, they’d be hard-pressed to leave off Richard Linklater. He’s had his fair share of ambitious (and some not-so-ambitious) misses over his 20+ year career, but from last year’s critical darling Boyhood, to the Before trilogy, to his feature film debut Slacker, Linklater has made a career of crafting films that defy traditional genre boundaries. His cult classic 1976-set Dazed and Confused is no exception.

I had heard Linklater last year during press rounds for Boyhood discussing his spiritual sequel to Boyhood and Dazed and Confused, but I had promptly banked it somewhere in the back of my mind and forget all about it.

Until today, that is.

With a cast of largely unknown young actors, Linklater looks to have made a fun and silly 80s-era comedy about a young man going off to college where he discovers women, beer, and drugs–the auteur’s American Pie, if you will. While I’m sure it won’t be getting Linklater back onto the red carpet, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of heart, relatable moments, and far more depth than the trailer suggests.

Everybody Wants Some hits theaters on April 15, 2016.

A Tribute to Star Wars: Dark Forces

Sure, nerds around the world may be united in their excitement for Star Wars Battlefront–but for me, it has been a time of longing for simpler times: 1995. In 1995, Han still shot first. Heir to the Empire was still canon. And Star Wars: Dark Forces was about to blow the mind of my 10 year old self.

While LucasArts had created a brand new engine for Dark Forces, it was essentially Bungie’s Marathon… except you killed Stormtroopers. Plus, it introduced the world to Kyle Kataran (who may or may not be a canon character now?). In other words, Dark Forces was awesome, with cool characters, slick level design, and enough nostalgia to fuel numerous sequels…including one of the best Star Wars games ever, Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. It was no Knights of the Old Republic, but it was damn good.

Enjoy this playthrough of the very first level:

What’s your favorite Star Wars game?

Trailer: The Revenant

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Rev·e·nantˈrevəˌnäN,-nənt – noun
a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.

Hot off the success of last year’s Best Picture winner Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu is shifting gears with The Revenant. The film is a period piece revenge thriller adapted by Iñárritu from Michael Punke’s 2003 novel based on the true story of 19th century fur trapper Hugh Glass.

Over the years, the project has gone through quite a few hands before ending up on Iñárritu’s lap. At one point, Park Chan-wook was attached to direct with Samuel L. Jackson to star. Later on, John Hillcoat and Christian Bale were in negotiations.

As you’ll see in the trailer, with the final product, Iñárritu has crafted what appears to be a spectacularly beautiful film starring Leonardo Dicaprio as the weary protagonist hellbent on revenge against his companions (one played by Tom Hardy) who rob and leave him for dead after he’s attacked by a grizzly. Needless to say, it looks fucking awesome.

The Revenant drops into theaters stateside on Christmas Day 2015.