Trailer: The Gunman

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Damn. The studio might have considered titling this movie Knights of Badassdom were it not already used. Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, and Idris Elba all in the same action flick? That’s too much manliness for even the manliest of men to handle.

Well, all right… maybe Sean Penn isn’t synonymous with badass – intense, sure, but badass, eh. Still, since The Gunman is basically just a lovechild of a Bourne movie and Taken (it’s even directed by Taken helmer Pierre Morel), it’s safe to say that Penn really just might reinvent himself with this badass action star persona after all.

I mean, do you remember Liam Neeson’s career before Taken? He was always intense and definitely cool, but that flick transformed him from Qui-Gon Schindler to Hollywood’s go-to old man action thespian.

Anyway, back to the The Gunman. The movie follows an international operative who just wants to retire peacefully with a beautiful woman young enough to be his daughter, but then things happen and people want to kill him and his lady is kidnapped so he has to go, like, get her back and kill people and stuff. With a specific set of skills that only he possesses. And a really groovy Hawaiian shirt.

Check out the trailer for The Gunman below. The movie drops on March 20, 2015.

Trailer: Sonic Highways

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Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters is no stranger to filmmaking. Besides all of his band’s rather cinematic music videos, last year, Grohl directed the superb documentary Sound City (which still proudly boasts a 100% rating on on Rotten Tomatoes) about the San Fernando Valley recording studio that rocked the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, Metallica and Nirvana. While it may have gone relatively unseen and won few awards, it’s unquestionably one of the greatest rock documentaries to ever grace the screen.

This year, the Grohl-led Foo Fighters have collaborated with HBO on a television show, titled Sonic Highways (like their upcoming album), that will chronicle their creation of their upcoming LP which was recorded in eight different recording studios in eight different American cities (Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington, DC).

As described by Rolling Stone, Grohl says of the show and album: “This isn’t just the making of our most ambitious album. This is a love letter to the history of American music.”

Sonic Highways debuts on HBO on October 17, 2014.

Philipp Meyer’s The Son to be adapted for AMC

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When Philipp Meyer quit his job on Wall Street to pursue writing, I’m sure he never expected his sophomore novel would not only be a Pulitzer Prize finalist, but also that it’d be adapted to the small screen with his intimate involvement by one of the hottest channels in television, AMC.

I first wrote about Philipp Meyer in 2009, after reading his excellent debut novel, the rustbelt Pennsylvania set American Rust, which at the time had been optioned for a big screen adaptation that is currently stuck in development purgatory.

Last month though, exciting news was announced by Deadline: AMC is developing a show based on his second novel, The Son, and Philipp Meyer himself will serve as executive producer.

Last summer, when I read his Texas-set, ambitious, brutal, and sometimes horrific sweeping epic The Son. I was blown away. I burnt through the 700+ pages in two sittings. The novel is not merely good… it’s a masterpiece. An instant classic. An important book in American literature that’s only going to continue to grow in significance as the decades pass. And while comparisons are silly, if you need one, it’s sort of like Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian as interpreted by John Steinbeck before being edited by William Faulkner.

When reading it, I thought the novel, like Blood Meridian, would be nearly impossible to adapt to the big screen. Even on television, which will provide the filmmakers with much more freedom than Hollywood would, it will be difficult as the story follows three distinct generations and time periods of a rising Texas oil empire: the ruthless Eli McCulloch, Eli’s son Pete, and Eli’s great-granddaughter Jeanne.

Meyer himself described it as a “partly historical novel about the rise of an oil and ranching dynasty in Texas, tracing the family from the earliest days of white settlement, fifty years of open warfare with the Comanches, the end of the frontier and the rise of the cattle industry, and transitioning into the modern (oil) age.”

What I find even more interesting, The Dallas Morning News ran an article yesterday describing how Meyer and writers like him are getting on board projects as executive producer.

Writers including Meyer, Brian McGreevy of Hemlock Grove, and Smith Henderson of Fourth of July Creek have formed a writers collective called El Jefe which, according to Meyer, was created to “help interesting, high-quality literary writers adapt, produce, and retain meaningful ownership of their own work for television and film.” Perhaps this was in response to the mess surrounding the American Rust adaptation that fizzled out.

The Son for AMC will be El Jefe’s first production. There is no word yet on casting or filming dates.

If you’ve read The Son, do you think even with Meyer’s involvement they’ll be able to effectively adapt it for television? Who could you envision in any of the lead roles? Chime in below!

Even if God existed, to say he loved the human race was preposterous. It was just as likely the opposite; it was just as likely he was systematically deceiving us. To think that an all-powerful being would make a world for anyone but himself, that he might spend all his time looking out for the interests of lesser creatures, it went against all common sense. The strong took from the weak, only the weak believed otherwise, and if God was out there, he was just as the Greeks and Romans had suspected; a trickster, an older brother who spent all his time inventing ways to punish you. -Philipp Meyer, The Son

Trailer: Nick Cave’s 20,000 Days on Earth

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Nick Cave is a badass among badasses.

You likely know him from his lucrative music career with his Bad Seeds or perhaps the experimental garage rock band Grinderman, the tunes of which have been featured on the likes of equally badass shows True Detective and Luther.

It’s also possible, being a film site and all, that you know him from his masterful film scores with Bad Seeds buddy Warren Ellis: the Australian western The Proposition (which he also wrote the screenplay for), Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. If you’ve somehow missed his music, you’ve probably also missed his ventures into the literary realm: his 1989 And the Ass Saw the Angel and 2009’s The Death of Bunny Munro, both great, dark, lyrical novels in their own right.

Needless the say, the term renaissance man was coined for people like Nick Cave.

With his latest project, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance and won the directing award, he has teamed up with British directors and frequent collaborators Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard to craft a surreal, pseudo-documentary that follows a fictitious 24-hour period in his life. In 20,000 Days on Earth, reality blurs as we witness Cave going about his daily routine, engaging in Q&As, driving with Ray Winstone and Kylie Minogue, and performing with the Bad Seeds on stage.

As Rob Nelson of Variety described it: “This innovative study of Nick Cave playfully disguises itself as fiction while more than fulfilling the requirements of a biographical documentary.”

The film will be touring the United States this summer before being released in theaters across the UK on September 19, 2014.

Trailer: The Knick (Season 1)

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While it was widely publicized that Steven Soderbergh was retiring from filmmaking after he made comments about how he’d prefer a bullet in his head to doing another location scout, the reality after he clarified his comments was that he planned on taking a break, large in part due to his frustration with the corporate Hollywood system. In his newly acquired spare time, he would paint, work on Broadway shows, and, hey… maybe even join the cool kids and do some television.

Enter Cinemax. Soderbergh isn’t the first filmmaker to realize that some of the best work in being done on the small screen. With The Knick, he decided to join the ranks of Frank Darabont, David Fincher, and Guillermo del Toro and make something exciting and fresh without all that Hollywood red tape stifling his creativity.

The Knick stars Clive Owen as Dr. John W. Thackery, a surgeon at the Knickerbocker Hospital in early-1900s New York City, a time when an understanding of medicine was beginning to evolve rapidly.

It looks dark. It looks interesting. It looks gruesome in all the best ways. It’s like a Gilded Age Grey’s Anatomy. If the one-minute teaser is to be trusted, it looks like Soderbergh may have created something really special here.

Check out the trailer below and leave your thoughts on Soderbergh’s latest project in the comments!

Got a Problem? Call the “The Equalizer” [trailer]

“The Equalizer” is a show I thought I remembered quite well from my childhood. But sitting down and actually thinking about it, I don’t remember as much as I thought I did – outside of the opening credits sequence, which had me terrified to ever ever visit New York City. But I do seem to recall that Edward Woodward played the role with very little action. He solved problems with fine pistol work and some detectiving but mostly psychological intimidation. He was kind of old, so he didn’t really get into a lot of martial arts combat or fisticuffs. It seems that the new Denzel version of The Equalizer may be going down the road of the latter… but maybe not.

Have a look at the trailer below and see what you think. I do like Denzel. He’s one of the few I’ll see just about anything that he’s in, just because he’s in it. That said, this trailer doesn’t get me too excited. It looks like just another guy kicks the bad guys’ asses (Taken 3?). Also, can we get a moratorium on the “Sherlock” vision thing now? It was refreshing at first, but now it’s been done a few times and starting to get pretty stale.

Still, I’ll be in for this. I’m sure it’s a good watch and time will tell. But I think I would’ve preferred a more subtle angle for The Equalizer. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film also stars Melissa Leo, Chloë Grace Moretz and hey, it’s Bill Pullman!

 

TV Teasers: Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick

Likely, landing in the medium that is best suited for his current working style, Steven Soderbergh’s TV series set in New York’s Knickerbocker hospital in the early 20th century. This is back when “Surgery wasn’t always science,” as the Godardian titles jump on the screen in the first promo. Tucked under the seat are several more. The series stars Clive Owen, is premiering on Cinemax and, if all these 15 second teasers are accurate, it looks to be rather bloody.

(Hat tip to Film Junk for this.)

Would you like to know more…?

“Penny Dreadful” Trailer

Some time in the recent past, I mentioned that I may be forced to go see the inevitable shitstorm that is going to be the sequel to 300, simply for the need of a an Eva Green fix. Turns out I may get a much more pure fix simply by subscribing to Showtime.

All of the creative stars are aligning for me to absolutely love this horror, mini-series starting up in May. Sam Mendes is executive producing and Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) will be directing the first two episodes. And of course there is the aforementioned Eva Green factor.

Some of literature’s most famously terrifying characters, including Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the novel Dracula. become embroiled in Victorian London.

The show will begin airing on Showtime on May 11th. Have a look at the trailer below and sound off with the creepy, gothic love.

Blu-ray Review: The White Queen

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Directors: Colin Teague, James Kent, Jamie Payne
Writers: Philippa Gregory, Emma Frost, Malcolm Campbell
Producer: Gina Cronk
Starring: Rebecca Ferguson, Amanda Hale, Faye Marsay, Eleanor Tomlinson, Juliet Aubrey, Janet McTeer, Max Irons, James Frain, Aneurin Barnard, David Oakes
MPAA Rating: 18A
Running time: 580 min.


Author Philippa Gregory has been writing historical based romance for decades and though adaptations of her novels have come before, none have managed to garner much attention or fanfare. BBC, the go-to for period dramas, took on the task of adapting Gregory’s “The White Queen,” the first in a trilogy of novels set during the War of the Roses. What’s interesting about Gregory’s take is that the story is told from the point of view of the women who toiled behind the scenes to shape not only their lives but history.

“The White Queen” opens shortly after Max Irons is crowned as King Edward IV. A womanizer, he falls for a beautiful widow who stops him on the road pleading for her husband’s lands and moneys be returned to her so that her sons may have something to inherit. Smitten, Edward spends the night with Elizabeth Woodville (newcomer Rebecca Ferguson) promising to make her queen, a promise he delivers on against everyone’s wishes. As Queen, Elizabeth proves to be a force to be reckoned with, guiding Edward in affairs of the state which pit her against Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick who is known to many as “the Kingmaker” for his ability to make and dethrone kings as it pleases, or more accurately, benefits him.

Would you like to know more…?