Kim Ji-Woon directs Arnie in The Last Stand Trailer

A favourite in these parts, South Korean director Kim Ji-Woon is the sort of genre-hopping director reminiscent of Danny Boyle or Gore Verbinski, his horror film A Tale of Two Sisters ranks amongst the best Asian horror movies to come out in he last 20 years, and his Gangster film A Bittersweet Life as sumptuous and magnificent as his kimchi-western The Good The Bad and The Weird is manic and kinetic or his serial killer satire I Saw The Devil was gory. For his English language debut, he has got the ex-Governator himself as the lead in a gun ‘n action picture. Schwarzenegger plays the sheriff in a small town that is the last stop before the Mexican border. He and his inexperienced staff have to stop a very well armed drug cartel from making the crossing. What is a pretty swanky collection of character actors, Forrest Whitaker, Harry Dean Stanton, Luis Guzman, Eduardo Noriega, Johnny Knoxville and Peter Stormare are on support in a movie that has a lot of guns, vehicles and explosions.

Seven Psychopaths Trailer Parses the Long Term Consequences of “An Eye For An Eye”

If there is a fun genre theme this year it is crazy events being kicked off by kidnapping or otherwise messing around with dogs. Quentin Depieux’s Wrong, UK Mock-doc Black Pond, and now Martin “In Bruges” McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths. This one wins to contest of most A-List character actors, featuring Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woodey Harrelson, Christopher Walken and Tom Waits. It looks to be a lot better version of the equally loaded and promising (but not great) Welcome to Collinwood from 2012 which also starred a younger Sam Rockwell.

A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu.

The film is playing the Midnight Madness sidebar at TIFF this year, and should be great with a crowd, particularly the pretty damn funny, ever so slightly Reservoir Dogs-y “Eye for an Eye” car conversation shown at the end of this trailer.

Teaser Trailer for Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow was the talk of the town a few years back when she won Best Director and Best Picture (among others) at the Oscars for her visceral war film The Hurt Locker. This year she’s back with another war-related film, the sure-to-be controversial Zero Dark Thirty (previously referred to as Kill Bin Laden), again working with her Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal.

The film is about the manhunt and eventual killing of America’s public enemy No. 1 Osama bin Laden. The project was already in the development stages as a film about the search for Bin Laden but the news of his killing, to be quite blunt, gave it the perfect conclusion.

The first teaser for the flick has appeared online which you can view below, complete with a gritty style and blacked out lettering. I’m getting a Homeland meets Body of Lies vibe from this one, what do you think?

Zero Dark Thirty stars Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler and Edgar Ramirez. It is scheduled for release in the U.S. on December 19th, 2012 (after being moved from its pre-election October spot in response to accusations of it being an Obama administration propaganda film) with other release dates sure to be announced soon.

Trailer: Trouble with the Curve

If you had thought that Gran Torino was Clint Eastwood’s last time in front of the camera, think again. He has returned – and this time in a film that he isn’t directing, his first time in front of the camera for a director other than himself since 1993’s In the Line of Fire. In this case, it happens to be for the directorial debut of Robert Lorenz, one of Eastwood’s producers and first assistant directors over the past fifteen or so years.

Trouble with the Curve looks more light-hearted than most Eastwood-starring movies. He stars as a retiring baseball scout who is reconnecting with his daughter, played by Amy Adams. If Eastwood isn’t enough to get your seat in the butt (and yes, even though he’s celebrity-endorsed that clown Mitt Romney, I’ll still see anything the dude does), the cast is rounded out with Justin Timberlake (come on… admit you like him nowadays), John Goodman, Robert Patrick, Matthew Lillard, and Clint’s son Scott Eastwood.

The film will be released in the US on September 21, 2012 and expand to other markets in the following weeks.

What do you think of the trailer? Wishing Clint would have hung up his hat or are you excited to see him grumble and mumble his way through another film?

10 Years

Channing Tutum is one of the very delightful surprises of 2012. After his successes in Haywire, 21 Jump Street and Magic Mike, it’s obvious the guy isn’t the action meat-headed type-cast we all thought he was going to be and he’s clearly going places; particularly looking at his upcoming filmography including collaborations with Soderbergh and The Wachowskis to name a few. /RunOnSentence

But every actor has got to go through some growing pains and mixed in with the Soderbergh vehicles, there is the potential for some stumbling blocks upcoming as well. Case in point, 10 Years.

With only a handful of festival screenings under its belt, hence not much talking about it on the internets, it’s difficult to get a handle on exactly what the film is. On its surface, it appears to be another in this new trend of “massively cast, multiple, loosely-related story threads dramedy” (or MMLD) sub-genre pieces (e.g. Love, Actually, Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve). These types of films always hinge on a holiday and thereby trick audiences into feeling like they’re obligated to see them on the weekend that coincides with that particular holiday. The three films above are three very distinct levels of quality; starting with great and moving very quickly to garbage – so the trend does not buckle favorably towards this. On the flip side, 10 Years is not a holiday movie but it does revolve around a very specific type of event. Also, in general I’m pleased with most of the releases from Anchor Bay, so somebody must’ve seen something of merit here. So what can we expect with 10 Years?

Jake is deeply in love with his girlfriend and ready to propose—until he runs into his high school flame for the first time in ten years. Jake’s friend, Cully, married his cheerleader girlfriend and has been looking forward to the ten-year high school reunion so he can finally apologize to all of the classmates he bullied in high school. However, after a few too many drinks, the jock-turned-family man ends up reverting back to his old ways instead. Meanwhile, longtime rivals Marty and A.J spend the night still trying to one-up each other to impress the coolest girl in class, who now has a secret. The famous one of the group, Reeves, is now a well-known musician, but is still too shy to talk to the high school crush who inspired his one hit wonder.

Fascinating. Sounds like it really has a lot to say. Perhaps the cast will make it delightfully charming and worth ten dollars. Well, outside of Tatum and Rosario Dawson, I’m not seeing anyone here that really warrants a hip-hip-hooray:
Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Chris Pratt, Justin Long, Oscar Issa, Kate Mar, Ron Livingsto, Lynn Collins, Ari Graynor, Anthony Mackie, Max Minghella, Aubrey Plaza, Scott Porter, Brian Geraghty, Aaron Yoo, Eiko Nijo and Nick Zano.

Considering the movie was officially released in 2011 and I haven’t heard word one about it until today, does not bode well.

Upcoming advanced screenings:
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I didn’t write this post to drum up (potentially) unwarranted hatred towards a film that has yet to be released officially (maybe it’s amazing, who knows?). More, I wanted to ask about Channing Tatum and where his career is headed and also to ask readers about these MMLDs and whether you enjoy them and/or think they are a viable entity in the world of cinema for any length of time.

First Look: Daniel Day-Lewis as Abe Lincoln

We don’t always post single first look photographs here in the third row, but when we do, it’s Daniel Day-Lewis knocking our socks off with some sort of transformation And here, courtesy of EW, we have our official first look of DDL in full makeup and costume as President Lincoln.

According to the article, Lincoln will focus on “the last four months of the president’s life and the political strategizing he undertook at the close of the Civil War to ensure that slavery would be forever outlawed.” Steven Spielberg said of it:

“Our movie is really about a working leader who must make tough decisions and get things done in the face of overwhelming opposition … [The film begins with] Lincoln’s realization that the Emancipation Proclamation, the thing he is most known for, was simply a war powers act that would easily be struck down by any number of lawyers after the cessation of hostilities after the Civil War. He needed to abolish slavery by constitutional measure — and that’s where we start.”

Spielberg also said that while he did refer to DDL as “Mr. President” on set (along with referring to all actors by their character names), a lot of the hooplah about DDL’s immersion into his roles is “more about gossip than it is about [his] technique” and DDL was “always conscious of his contemporary surroundings.” So, sorry for those of you imagining him giving brilliant speeches to cast and crew off-camera as well as on.

Lincoln opens on November 16, 2012 with a monster supporting cast that includes Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, Lee Pace, James Spader, John Hawkes, Bruce McGill, Walton Goggins, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tim Blake Nelson, Gulliver McGrath, David Oyelowo, and Hal Holbrook. I’m sure most of us will be there opening day.

Trailer: Liberal Arts

How I Met Your Mother Fans might be surprised to discover that Josh Radnor – aka Ted Mosby – has began to prepare himself for a career after his sitcom. So far, he’s written and directed two films. The first, Happythankyoumoreplease was a moderate hit in indie circles although it received less than stellar reviews from critics.

His sophomore effort as a writer-director may prove that Radnor has refined his writing-directing skills since, as he was able to round up a cast that includes Elisabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, and Michael Weston. IMDb also lists Zac Efron in the cast, although he is nowhere to be seen in the trailer, leading me to believe his role is little more than a cameo – probably another college-aged kid Radnor’s character encounters at some point.

In the film, a 35 year old (played by Radnor) returns to his old college where he finds himself falling for a 19 year old sophomore student (Olsen). Then there are lots of feelings. Then the characters sometimes discuss those feelings.

The vibe from the trailer is that you’ve seen movies like this a thousand times – which means that it will be the strength of the actors that determines whether it hits the right notes or not. The film will be released in the U.S. for a limited run on September 14, 2012, so we will find out then.

River Phoenix is coming to the big screen once again in Dark Blood.

We first heard about it around a year ago, but now it’s official: River Phoenix’s final film is complete. It’s been nineteen years since River’s tragic death, but director George Sluizer (The Vanishing) has announced that despite filming being unfinished when River died, he has been able to piece together a movie and will premiere it at the Netherlands Film Festival on September 27th.

A glance at the Wikipedia entry for Dark Blood provides the story:

Phoenix played Boy, a youthful widower who lives as a hermit on a nuclear testing site, waiting for the end of the world while making dolls that he believes have magical powers. He comes to the aid of a couple (played by [Jonathan] Pryce and [Judy] Davis) when their car breaks down as they are traveling through the desert.

The claim by Sluizer at the time of revealing he was going to finish it was that River’s brother Joaquin Phoenix would do some voicework, since the two have similar voices. This resulted in the Phoenix family releasing a statement countering this, saying there had been no “communicating with River Phoenix’s family in regard to releasing River’s last film” and that the Phoenix family had “not been in communication with the director nor will they participate in any way.”

So, what Sluizer did to complete the film remains to be seen. In the meantime, you can watch a rather intriguing teaser trailer to hold you over. It looks bizarrely rad.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Andrew Dominik is Back with “Killing them Softly” [trailer]

It’s been five years. Five years. Five years since Andrew Dominik last directed a feature film. That film was of course far and away the best film of 2007: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Some of us were wondering if Andrew had given up on film making altogether or if we had the beginnings of the next Terrence Malick on our hands. Now, while the quality of his films will still remain to be seen (he’s only had two), it does look as if at the very least, we’ve got a director who simply likes to take his time in between projects. Here’s hoping that philosophy will for him as well as it seems to for Malick.

Andrew Dominik has once again teamed up with Brad Pitt for his latest thriller comedy, Killing them Softly. Pitt plays Jackie Cogan; a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game. Slowly the film evolves into social commentary about our (the U.S.) faltering nation. Set in 2008 amidst the presidential election and the economic frustrations, Killing them Softly proves to be a most interesting excursion for the director and the rest of the cast which features Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn and Sam Shepard.

Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think….

International Trailer: Skyfall

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since we’ve seen Daniel Craig suit up for the role of James Bond (unless you’re counting the humorous bit during the Olympics opening ceremony, of course) in Quantum of Solace. Having a few years to rewatch it and Casino Royale a handful of times, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Skyfall – particularly because I’ve been curious to see what Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road), a real character driven story-teller, could do with the British spy.

While I hesitated saying it for some time, I feel confident in pegging Casino Royale as my favorite Bond movie (sorry From Russia with Love… I still love you). It’s follow up was a bit unremarkable by comparison, but still a solid action movie. With Skyfall, my expectations are high… and if the latest international trailer is any indication, it could very well meet them. The film begins opening worldwide in late October and will hit U.S. and Canadian theaters on November 9, 2012.

What are your thoughts on the latest trailer? A young Q? Javier Bardem’s villain? Daniel Craig’s Bond in general?

Hugh Laurie bangs his best friend’s daughter

While House was one of the most formulaic shows on television, there is almost universal acceptance that Hugh Laurie’s portrayal of the miserable Vicodin-addicted medical genius made for one of the great characters in television history. So when the show had its series finale a few months ago, many wondered what would become of Hugh Laurie.

The Oranges provides us with our first look. In it, Hugh Laurie plays David Walling, who seems like a nice guy, but he’s really just a dick, kind of like Gregory House minus the medical genius part. He’s a dick because one day, he ends up banging his best friend’s daughter. The movie, it seems, focuses on the fallout.

Despite only lukewarm reviews so far for those who caught it at last year’s TIFF, what really sticks out for me here is the cast. Besides Laurie, the film has his daughter played by Alia Shawkat (of Arrested Development fame), his wife played by Catherine Keener, his best friends played by Oliver Platt, his wife played by Allison Janney, and the rest of the cast rounds out with Leighton Meester and Adam Brody. The trailer itself isn’t remarkable, but there’s plenty of promise here. And frankly, I’m rooting for Hugh Laurie.

The Oranges opens up in the U.S. on October 5, 2012.