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"Supernatural" Spin-Off Casts Its Leads

Dark Horizons - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:36

Australian actor Nathaniel Buzolic ("The Vampire Diaries," "Out of the Blue") and British actor Lucien Laviscount ("Episodes," "Coronation Street") have scored the lead roles in the upcoming spin-off series "Supernatural: Tribes" for The CW.

Set entirely in Chicago, the new series follows various powerful monster families waging a war to control the city, a fight that human residents are generally unaware of.

Buzolic plays David Hayden, a repentant shapeshifter and member of one of the ruling families who has been living as a human for some time.

Laviscount will play Ennis Roth, a police academy cadet whose fiancée was killed in the crossfire during a violent encounter between two of the feuding families. Ennis has now dedicated his life to ridding the city of their influence.

Source: Deadline

Categories: Science Fiction

Four Directors Up For "Doctor Strange"

Dark Horizons - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:36

Marvel Studios is reportedly considering four filmmakers to take on the role of directing their "Doctor Strange" movie. These four have reportedly either met or are about to meet with Marvel execs for the gig. So who are they?

Perhaps the best known is Jonathan Levine, the filmmaker behind cancer dramedy "50/50" and zombie rom-com "Warm Bodies".

There's also acclaimed Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel who directed the Oscar-nominated "A Royal Affair" and penned the screenplay for the original Swedish "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" adaptation.

The third is newcomer Dean Israelite, a short filmmaker who recently directed his first feature - the found footage time-travel movie "Welcome to Yesterday" due later this year.

Finally there's Mark Andrews, a co-writer and co-director of Pixar's "Brave" who also worked on the script for "John Carter" and wrote for TV series like "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" and "Samurai Jack".

"Kung Fu Panda" scribes Jon Aibel and Glenn Berger are also said to be under consideration to pen the screenplay alongside whomever is hired as director.

In the comics, the character is a self-centred New York surgeon robbed of his skills after a car accident. He soon finds his way to a healer in the Himalayas where he learned to tap into psychic powers to battle evil wizards and other wrongdoers.

'Strange' is a tricky beast to introduce into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "Thor" had the unenviable job of bringing the galactical sci-fi elements into the mix which it did successfully. 'Strange' has to introduce the other side of the equation - supernatural/mystical elements.

Source: Heat Vision

Categories: Science Fiction

New Poster: "Godzilla"

Dark Horizons - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:36

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures have unveiled a spectacular new one-sheet for their upcoming reboot of the "Godzilla" franchise scheduled for May 16th. Gareth Edwards helms this take which stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Juliette Binoche, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn and Sally Hawkins.

Categories: Science Fiction

"U.N.C.L.E.," "Focus" To Open Early 2015

Dark Horizons - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:36

Despite a few key shifts, Summer 2015 remains one of the most crowded seasons of tentpole films to date - so much so that some big films are being pushed to other months to fill in the gaps.

Warner Bros. Pictures has now scheduled two of its films to occupy the currently quiet early 2015 release schedule.

Guy Ritchie's "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," the big screen reboot of the 1960s spy series, will bow on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday frame of January 16th 2015. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer lead the cast about an American CIA agent and Russian KGB operative who team to stop the nefarious forces of T.H.R.U.S.H. from carrying out their evil plans.

The studio has also scheduled the Will Smith-led caper comedy "Focus" for a February 27th 2015 release. Smith plays a seasoned con artist who takes a gifted female protege (Margot Robbie) under his wing.

Source: Box-Office Mojo

Categories: Science Fiction

New Poster: "Guardians of the Galaxy"

Dark Horizons - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:36

Marvel continues rolling out the first marketing push for its "Guardians of the Galaxy this week. Along with some character intro videos they've also unveiled the first official one-sheet for the movie.

Categories: Science Fiction

"Sex and the City 3" In The Works?

Dark Horizons - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:36

Michael Patrick King, the "Sex and the City" producer who directed both big screen outings of that franchise, says that he agrees with actress Sarah Jessica Parker's assessment that there is "one more" film left in the franchise.

King tells EW: "I think there’s one chapter left... Sarah Jessica and I both know what that final chapter is. That doesn't mean it will or should be told, but I do think there's one story left. Whether it ever happens is a whole other situation. But there's four girls, and those girls are still in my mind. There are other stories to tell and characters that haven't even been written yet."

Despite the second movie not generating much critical or commercial heat, the iconic HBO series remains popular even though it has been ten years since its cancellation.

The four women are the key to return and at last report actress Cynthia Nixon is the one uninterested in the idea, while the other three are onboard. Should they all agree, a lot of other elements have to come into play for a third film to happen.

Categories: Science Fiction

"Guardians of the Galaxy" Intro Videos

Dark Horizons - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:36

Marvel has unveiled five very short featurettes that introduces each of the main characters from the film. The clips combine footage from the trailer, interview sound bites, behind the scenes footage, and a couple of bits of new footage.

Perhaps the most revealing is the Rocket and Groot clips, the former giving us a first glimpse at Bradley Cooper doing voice work in the role. The latter has Vin Diesel talking about his strange role.

Star-Lord (Peter Jason Quill)

Gamora

Drax the Destroyer

Rocket Raccoon

Groot

Categories: Science Fiction

Review: Lone Survivor

Dark Horizons - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:36

Last year's "Battleship," directed by Peter Berg, was hands down one of the worst movies of the year. It was a stupid idea based off a simplistic board game that was full of enormous amounts of cheese and patriotic grandstanding. While pride in one's country is certainly not a bad thing, the ridiculous alien invasion story that surrounded it made such grandstanding laughable. When you combined that with lazy dialogue, contrived plot points and horrific performances, particularly from real life war veteran Gregory D. Gadson in one of the worst performances ever put to screen, you got something that was practically unwatchable.

Berg is now back with "Lone Survivor," another "Go America!" film that shares a fair amount of rough dialogue and cheesy moments, but these moments are offset by real actors giving gritty performances and action scenes that are truly intense. It's not perfect (and it's highly unlikely its limited release shoehorning into the last week of December is going to give it any awards recognition), but this is a major step up from Berg's previous travesty. This is actually quite good.

Based on a true story, "Lone Survivor" follows SEAL Team 10 on a mission dubbed "Operation Red Wings." Their goal is to capture or kill terrorist leader Ahmad Shahd. After a smooth drop into the nearby mountains, they identify their target on the grounds below. However, some unexpected civilians show up to put a kink in their plans. They have one of two options: they can either let them go and risk exposure or kill them and continue on with the mission. Refusing to kill civilians, they decide to let them go. Unfortunately, their radio equipment is malfunctioning and after those civilians notify the terrorists below, they find themselves in a firefight in the mountains.

"Lone Survivor" is not a pleasant film. Despite all the action, this is not a fun, stand-up-and-cheer "Rambo" type of action movie. It's intense and scary and, for a while at least, a slow-burner. This doesn't open with a slam-bang introduction, nor does it end with a high-flying conclusion. Instead, it starts out slow before finally erupting into violence. And when the bullets start flying, they don't stop.

The action never lets up, so the grip the film has on you stays there until the end. Slow beginnings like these require good acting to keep things interesting and this talented cast, which includes Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster, among others, is up to the task. Despite the cloying music and sentimental dialogue about their loved ones back home, they create real people out of these characters. By the time many of their inevitable deaths come, they mean something.

One of Peter Berg's biggest deficiencies as a director, at least in regards to "Battleship," was that he went too big. Everything was bombastic and in-your-face. He smartly goes the opposite route here. Much of the action consists of pop-and-shoot gunplay which requires a more focused approach than an explode-y Avengers-esque film, where the visuals can make up for a lack of substance, and he manages to pull it off. The sole flourish he occasionally includes are down-the-barrel shots, similar to a first person shooter video game, which feels a bit out of place in the context of both the story and style he implements elsewhere.

Bizarre stylistic choices similar to that are easily the film's biggest problems, including an over usage of slow motion, which is supposed to be dramatic, but instead only serves to pull you out of the otherwise gripping and realistic action. But the movie's intention is to highlight the heroic actions of these men who risked everything to live up to a well-intentioned moral code. They did the right thing and it cost almost all of them their lives.

These men are to be applauded and remembered because even though their job required them to be violent, they carried out that violence only when necessary and they valued the lives of the innocent, and the lives of their fellow soldiers, above their own. That's a noble thing. It's still a bit too Hollywood to resonate and that aforementioned patriotic grandstanding is so heavy-handed that it threatens to derail it, but in the end, "Lone Survivor" strives to tell a simple story of courage and nobility and it does it well.

Categories: Science Fiction

Review: Her

Dark Horizons - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:36

When it comes to full length directorial efforts, Spike Jonze can do no wrong. With only three previous films under his belt over a career that has spanned over two decades, it might be easy for one to assume that he doesn't have "it," that elusive spirit and wherewithal to really go for it and do something different.

But then you think back to those three movies, the meta films "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation" and the wonderfully imaginative, inventive and heartfelt "Where the Wild Things Are." Like that 2009 marvel, his latest, the futuristic sci-fi romance, "Her," is another film of unrivaled excellence, one that taps into ideas and themes in the way only the mind of Mr. Jonze can. It is hands down the best American movie of 2013.

"Her" follows Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), an increasingly lonely man whose wife, Catherine (Rooney Mara), has left him. Still clinging onto a relationship that has clearly ended, he refuses to sign their divorce papers. One day, in a desperate attempt to alleviate his loneliness, he decides to purchase an operating system that he can install and speak to, whom he calls Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). As the two speak, he begins to fall in love with her, despite the fact that she's nothing more than a computerized voice. She begins to reciprocate those feelings and finds in her a desire to be alive, which is obviously something she'll never be able to obtain.

That's a sad thought, to want something so bad, but know that it will never happen. But it's a beautiful sadness, one that is contemplative and poignant, especially because being alive is all Theo wants too. "Her" understands that being alive isn't simply in existing, but in the interactions with other people in our lives and the love that grows from those relationships. If we don't have someone to care about or that cares for us, are we really alive?

In a broader sense, the movie explores this idea through Theo's occupation as a letter writer, someone who manufactures sentiments for those who can't take the time to do it themselves. In this future, it's as if people can't even feel for themselves and need others to feel for them and in our fast moving, technical world, it's not beyond the realm of possibility for something like this to happen. In a sense, it already has. For example, how often do people actually call their loved ones these days? Most send texts.

Our conversations have not only devolved into online communication. They're also being limited to 140 characters thanks to the likes of Twitter, one of the most popular social media sites around. "Her" imagines a world where human interaction has reached a near non-existent point, where even when it does happen, it's mainly small talk. One early shot when Theo is riding the subway, everyone within the frame is talking, but not to each other. They're all talking to their devices plugged into their ears. It's a striking and haunting image.

But within all this thematic exploration is a human story about love and its messy existence. Even this so-called "perfect love," the one that is programmed to say and be everything Theo could ever want and need, proves to be fleeting. What happens is something of profound sadness, though it nevertheless ends on a hopeful note, Theo having finally recaptured his humanity, even if it took a program to help him do it.

Rounding out a nearly flawless movie is the wonderful (occasionally diegetic) score. One of the most marvelous scenes in the film comes when Theo is standing on the beach talking to Sam through his earpiece. She asks him what it's like to actually be there, breathing in the fresh air and feeling the sand beneath his toes, so he plays a piece of music for her in an attempt to capture it. Although great on its own serving as support for the events portrayed onscreen, scenes like this give the score so much more meaning to a movie already chock full of ideas and ruminations.

"Her" is the perfect follow-up to "Where the Wild Things Are," another movie that expressed the kind of sadness and loneliness that a person can feel at a certain point in their life. Of course, that movie had its detractors, so I imagine this one will as well, but those people will be missing the entire point of it: to remind us that to love and to be loved is to be alive. Through the heartbreaks and the crippling sadness that love sometimes brings, it remains the sole reason to be alive in the first place. Sappy though it sounds, "Her" approaches it in a way that can only be described as divine. Nobody should miss this movie.

Categories: Science Fiction

Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Dark Horizons - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:36

It’s hard to watch a movie with a lot of pretense. When you watch one that has really fooled itself into thinking it’s something special when you know full well that it’s not, it brings forth a peculiar kind of embarrassment. You start to feel bad for the filmmakers because their expected feedback is not going to match the feedback they actually receive. Such is the case with Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” an adaptation of James Thurber’s 1939 short story of the same name (which was previously adapted to film in 1947 with better results). It’s still a movie that is easy to enjoy, but it’s far from the poignant tale Stiller undoubtedly wanted to tell.

The film follows our titular protagonist, Walter Mitty (Stiller), a man who lives many different lives: the one that is real and the ones in his head. He’s a fantasizer and is known to zone out at random points in his days, heading off on grand adventures that allow him to life and feel how he wants to. In real life, his day-to-day is decidedly humdrum working as a negative asset manager for Life magazine that the new management is going to turn into an online exclusive publication.

This means many folks are going to be losing their jobs, though they don’t know who. His job is already up in the air, but when he can’t find one photo that renowned photographer, Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn), sends in, the one he claims is the absolute best photo he’s ever taken and should be the cover for the final issue, Walter decides to take action. He doesn’t know where Sean is, but he nevertheless hops on a plane and follows his only lead to find him.

Of course, in true Hollywood storytelling fashion, his motivation stems not from his desire to keep his job, but from his pretty co-worker crush, Cheryl (Kristen Wiig), who urges him to become more adventurous. Their relationship is smooth and easy to watch, if a bit frustrating. Cheryl clearly has an affection for Walter, so his timidity comes off as forced, which is a criticism that is indicative of the film as a whole. The film isn’t as funny as it thinks it is nor as imaginative as it wants to be, as laughs come infrequently and the imagination on display fails to captivate.

Nevertheless, part of the fun of the film comes from the mind game it plays: are these grand adventures we’re witnessing real or are they simply something that is playing out in Walter’s mind? When Walter brings home a longboard he got in Iceland to give to Cheryl’s kid, is there a chance that it’s really just something he bought down the street at a local skate shop? The problem is that if it’s real, it’s a bit bland and if it’s in his head, it’s lacking the excitement and imagination that was so prevalent in the film’s opening moments.

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” has an inspiring message of living your life and simply going for it, whatever that “it” may be, but it’s surprisingly thin for a movie so singularly focused on it. Furthermore, the blatant product placement does everything it can to obscure that message. When Walter calls Cheryl from Iceland and he tells her he’s in a Papa John’s, she doesn’t express her disbelief that he actually took the initiative to do something spontaneous. She just talks about her amazement that they have a Papa John’s in Iceland. “They have those there?” she says. Moments like these are distracting and insulting inclusions that detract a significant amount of charm from the overall product.

But even with all the complaints, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” isn’t a bad movie. It’s merely a lackluster one, one that receives more criticisms than praises only because the final result is such a letdown from the promising idea. It still has a good amount of heart to it, particularly from the delightful Wiig who somehow manages to create an interesting and empathetic character out of thin material, but “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is just missing that extra, unexplainable quality that real special movies have.

Categories: Science Fiction

Luke Evans for "Desolation of Smaug"

Dark Horizons - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:36

Though he spent years treading the boards of the London stage, when the film world came calling for the affections of Welsh thespian Luke Evans, he embraced it … and how.

Evans has done no less than three film or TV projects a year since 2010. From a breakout leading man role in "Tamara Drewe," to playing the hunkiest of "The Three Musketeers," the Greek god Zeus in "Immortals," a disturbingly efficient serial killer in "No One Lives," and the villain of this past Summer's "Fast and Furious 6." He's also set to take on two more iconic roles next year in "Dracula Untold" and the reboot of "The Crow."

With "The Hobbit" though, Evans steps into what will probably be his most visible role to date - Bard the Bowman. One of the true iconic characters from the original Tolkien novel, he leads the defense of Laketown when Smaug emerges from the Lonely Mountain to attack it. Though not appearing in the first film, Bard makes his first appearance in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," before becoming one of the biggest characters of the final film of the trilogy.

I've been a fan of Evans for some time. Not only is he extremely easy on the eyes, I'm impressed with the range of roles he's had so far and I'm very keen to see where the future takes him. So it was a special thrill when I finally got to chat with Evans in person on the film's set in New Zealand last year. One unexpected factoid for fellow fans - the guy has surprisingly large hands (always a good sign).

Evans auditioned for "The Hobbit" back in January 2010 and then didn't hear anything for well over a year, until one day came that changed his life:

"I didn't hear a single thing. Not one thing for a whole year and a half. And then I was just about to start a movie called No One Lives in Louisiana, in New Orleans. And three days before I left, before I got on the plane, I had a phone call saying that Peter wanted to meet me and test me for the role of Bard.

And I was like, "What? So it was the biggest, the most scariest decision of my life to have to say, 'I can't get to New Zealand to test for Bard. I have to get on a plane to start another job.' So he very kindly said, 'Well, if you can't come to New Zealand, then you can do it in London.'

So I tested in London and then they sent the screen test over to Pete on a Saturday night. I tested on a Saturday afternoon, Saturday night he went to New Zealand, they watched it because they were up, we were asleep, I woke up on Sunday morning with the offer. And then I got on a plane and went and played a psychopath for three months. So it was quite weird, but that's how it works sometimes."

One surprise for Evans was that he never had many scenes with any of the other main actors, partly due to the story's nature and partly due to the scale issues of his human role vs. the various dwarf and hobbit roles. That also means the film felt quite different to shoot than he expected:

"The most surprising thing for me is to be on such a huge movie and not feel like it's a huge movie most of the time. The Kiwis, in general, have a very cool way of making you feel like you're part of the team. There's no hierarchy.

It was a nice surprise to be so far away from home but feel very much like you're part of a group of people who are very happy to be here and that's quite nice.

I've been here since August last year, and just to think about what we've done, just in my experience on this, and these guys were here longer than me, and I was lucky to do the locations and stuff, it's amazing to think all of those things have just been for one movie. It's insane. But yeah, it was great."

Another surprise was all the green screen work he had to do. Despite being in numerous blockbusters before this, he has done far more green screen work here than on anything else to date:

"I was never prepared for the green screen. Not the green screen, I've done a lot of green screen, but this scale mocon thing, your slave mocon, when you're in one room and they are in another room and there's a camera slaved to another camera. It's even hard to explain it to anybody. I wasn't prepared for that, but that was a weird bit."

The character is one of the few major human characters in the film, that makes him quite different from the dwarves, elves and hobbits:

"He's dealing with arrogant elves and very bombastic dwarves, but he's a Human. He's very Human in his emotions. He's just very honest, he's a very sincere human being and he doesn't really want to fight with anybody, he just wants to get on and rebuild the lives for his children and the people around him."

In terms of onscreen interaction, most of his scenes were with Gandalf, Thranduil and the dwarves. His first scene on set saw him working opposite Sir Ian McKellen:

"It's just a weird thing, isn't it, when you've seen it for ten years and all of a sudden you're actually on set and he's looking at you with the white eyes and Ian's sort of-- It's brilliant."

Evans only has praise for his director Peter Jackson and his work methods:

"He has the knack to make you feel very comfortable, very confident in what you're doing. But he's also able to come on set and just completely strip it to pieces and you still feel like you know what you're doing.

He sort of goes, 'No, well, think about this and change this and do that,' and completely changes what you are doing, but you still feel like your input has created the scene, but he can come in and tweak it and change different things, give you different thoughts to think about while doing the scene. He manages to be able to capture in one scene ten times more ideas than I naturally would have just been able to produce on my own.

Pete likes choice, he's famous for that. And he likes to have lots of options so that when he gets to the cutting room, he doesn't think, 'Oh, God, I should have done that.' And that's what's great about him. And it's also nice for the actor because you know that you can try different things out.

As an actor, it's lovely to have that sort of input from a director, but feel that you're still in control of what you're doing and that you're not being completely trampled on. Because there's no getting away from it that Pete knows what he's doing. And I don't know how he even keeps sane with the amount of things that he has to process on an hourly basis with these two films."

One surprise to him is that he gets to keep his Welsh accent for the film, as opposed to the standard RP accent he's had to do for most of his roles so far:

"I had a phone call with Philippa Boyens [writer] on the phone the night before my audition, and she said, 'We want you to go in and do it in your Welsh accent.' And I was like, "Really? I've never done a Welsh accent ever in anything." Even though it's my accent, most people want to stamp it out. And she said, 'No, we like it. We really like it. So can you just do the scene in a Welsh accent?' And they loved it.

So for the first time in my film career I'm speaking in a Welsh accent and what's interesting about that is that it has a huge effect on the story of Dale. Because I'm an ancestor of Dale, I come from Dale, my ancestors are from Dale. And so they made everybody who has ancestry of Dale Welsh.

So now there's people in Lake-town who speak with a Welsh accent and you know that they have great-great-great-grandfathers or grandmothers that were actually from Dale. So all my children are Welsh in the film, I'm Welsh, and so Dale will always be Wales to me, which is a really nice thing."

Evans is acutely aware of the rabid fan base of a film like this, and isn't exactly sure what reactions to expect when his work hits the screen:

"Most of the time, you do films and they can be big, big films, but you rarely are aware of the fan base that comes with it. And with this film, you can't get away from it. I'm very aware of theonering.net and just the fascination and the following it's had for all these years.

It's just very exciting to think I might have a Lego character and go to ComicCon. I mean, I've been to ComicCon, but never with something like this, and I'm really excited about it.

I think it's a lovely thing when there's this energy, a good energy about something you're doing, and we already know there's huge support for the film and everybody is as excited as we are. We're desperately waiting to see the film, so I can't imagine what the fans are like."

Categories: Science Fiction

Trailer: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Dark Horizons - Tue, 02/25/2014 - 15:41
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Trailer: Godzilla

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Trailer: The Protector 2

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Trailer: Not Safe for Work

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Trailer: Noah

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Trailer: The Sacrament

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Trailer: Divergent

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Trailer: In the Blood

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Trailer: Jinn

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