Ron Howard in talks to adapt Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Back in April, it was reported that Disney acquired the rights to Neil Gaiman’s fantastic children’s novel The Graveyard Book. When it was announced, Henry Selick – the stop-motion director behind The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and Coraline – was set to direct what would be another stop-motion film. Somewhere along the way, the project fell apart or Disney lost confidence.

But the project is seeing new life, according to the Hollywood Reporter, this time with Ron Howard in negotiations to direct what will be a live-action adaptation.

This is great news, of course. The Graveyard Book is the best children’s novel I’ve read since Harry Potter – and in many ways, it was a much more enjoyable read for me. The book follows a young boy named Nobody Owens who is taken in and raised by the inhabitants of an old graveyard after his family is brutally murdered by a man named Jack. Ghosts from all centuries, vampires, werewolves, and a variety of ghouls make up the rich cast of characters where it is the supernatural who fear the humans – not the other way around. It’s thrilling and scary and genuinely touching, hitting on some very mature themes and beautifully exploring the trials and tribulations that come with growing up.

The book also won both the Carnegie and Newbery medals for best children’s book.

Have you read the book? If so, what do you think of Howard behind the camera? And are you relieved or bummed that the film will be live-action rather than stop-motion?

Trailer: Emperor

Playing a quite convincing General MacArthur during the late 1940s American occupation of Japan, Tommy Lee Jones puts in another solid performance and Matthew Fox holds his own. Emperor is a Good-Morning Vietnam!-ish (minus the comedy) drama directed by Peter “Girl With A Pearl Earring” Webber. I managed to catch it at last years edition of TIFF and it is a solid bit of emotional/sentimental filmmaking that should appeal to The King’s Speech crowd even as it smoothens over many of the nuances of Japanese cultural strife of the era.

As the Japanese surrender at the end of WWII, Gen. Fellers is tasked with deciding if Emperor Hirohito will be hanged as a war criminal. Influencing his ruling is his quest to find Aya, an exchange student he met years earlier in the U.S.

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Trailer: Mud

It is Michael Shannon day here at Rowthree, as the trailer for Jeff Nicols’ thriller Mud pops up online. While Shannon is only is a supporting role here, the actor got is big break showcased in Nicols’ first feature, Shotgun Stories and of course starred in the very successful follow up panic-family-drama Take Shelter. Here the ubiquitous Matthew McConaughey takes the lead in what appears to be another excellent performance as a man living in hiding (in a boat) on the bank of a river in the middle of the south. He is discovered by two kids one of whom bears alarming resemblance to River Phoenix circa in Stand By Me; a film that seems to be a bit echoed here in tone (albeit with a modern timeframe.) The film made some waves at Cannes, but was curiously absent at TIFF last year. Can’t wait to see this when it is released this April. Reese Witherspoon and Sam Shepard (and the wonderful Joe Don Baker) also appear in the film, while one of the two kids (the one that doesn’t look like River Pheonix) was one of the brothers in Tree of Life.

Second trailer for Jackie Robinson biopic


When I saw the first trailer for 42, the upcoming biopic about baseball player Jackie Robinson, I was hopeful. With the new trailer, I’m impressed. Combining numerous things that I love – baseball, Harrison Ford, and demonstrating how idiotic white people are – the new trailer is slick.

Directed by Brian Helgeland (writer of the screenplays for L.A. Confidential, Payback, Man on Fire, and Mystic River), the film follows the early years of Jackie Robinson (played by Chadwick Boseman), the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. It’s a damn important story and one of which fewer and fewer kids today know the story. As for the film, not only is the trailer slick, I’m pretty excited to see Harrison Ford doing something other than phoning in a performance. Perhaps this is the start of a new era in his career.

Also, the Jay-Z was a superb touch to the trailer.

The film hits theaters on April 12, 2013… just in time for baseball season.

Trailer: Trance

Slick editing rhythms. Complicated heist gone awry. Underworld supplying the beats. This is Danny Boyle in his comfort zone, most definitely, but it also looks like he is still aiming to amp up the visual style (note the Sunshine / 127 Hours up-close camera work) and hall of mirrors pacing to make for an pretty entertaining little con-artist gambit that aims to mess with your head.

James McAvoy plays the mastermind behind bold bit of art thievery, that is until his partner, played by Vincent Cassel, turns on him but fails to acquire the artwork. McAvoy ends up with a memory wiping head injury, who goes to a hypnotist to recover the location of the art out of his head, but the therapist, played by Rosario Dawson is working for Cassel. Lots of twists and turns ensue. Fluff? Probably. Will it be good? I’m betting it will be. (Any movie that gives McAvoy a head injury is good in my book.)

Trailer: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone


Steve Carell. Steve Buscemi. Jim Carrey. Olivia Wilde. Alan Arkin. James Gandolfini. It’s quite an impressive cast that director Don Scardino (30 Rock, Law & Order) had at his disposal. While the plot sounds like an idea crafted for a Will Ferrell movie (and, in fact, it looks like Ferrell could indeed be substituted for any of the three magician characters and fit right in), one has to wonder if there is more to this movie than the trailer leads on.

From a script by actor John Francis Daley (Freaks & Geeks, Bones) and Jonathan Goldstein (Horrible Bosses), the movie follows two over-the-top Vegas magicians and lifelong friends (Carrell and Buscemi) who find themselves and their act increasingly irrelevant with the rise of a David Blaine inspired new “magician” (Carrey).

The trailer looks rather dull and predictable (with a few minor chuckles), but with a cast like this, it should be a movie to keep an eye on, as it could be – no pun intended – more than meets the eye.

Trailer: The Place Beyond the Pines

ryangMarch 29, 2013 is already marked on my calendar. The Place Beyond the Pines may currently be my most anticipated film of 2013.

Directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), the film stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, and Ray Liotta.

As for the story, it follows a motorcycle stunt rider as he weighs on whether he should commit a crime as a means of financially providing for his family.

And damn, does it look good. Like really good.

See for yourself. Check out the trailer and chime in with your first impressions!