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Follow Our Coverage of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival
After rumors swirled that Simon Kinberg was going to step up for the next round of writing for the first standalone Star Wars spin-off that will be directed by Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards, another writer has the job instead. Gary Whitta finished his job on the first draft of the script for the film rumored to be about the heist to obtain the plans to the first Death Star, and now THR reports About a Boy and Disney's new Cinderella screenwriter Chris Weitz will next step up to take a crack at the script. That seems like an odd hire for Star Wars, but Weitz did get an Oscar nomination for About a Boy, so it's not exactly bad news.
It's been seven years since the spooky home invasion thriller The Strangers hit theaters, and the long-expected sequel is finally coming together. The Wrap reports The Strangers 2 now has a director in Marcel Langenegger, who directed the thriller Deception starring Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor. The story picks up where the first film left off, this time seeing the masked killers (known as Man in the Mask, Pin Up Girl and Dollface) setting their sights on a family whose teenage children have just discovered their recent handy work in a mobile home park run by their uncle. Can this be just as creepy as the first?
In the world of indie films, the coming-of-age storyline is a popular one. But because we're all different, maturing in ways that aren't identical, that makes for a variety of great stories with similar themes. In this case, director Marielle Heller launches her career with The Diary of a Teenage Girl, based on the graphic novel of the same name by Phoebe Gloeckner, which follows 15-year old Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) growing up in the heart of San Francisco in the drug friendly 1970s, quickly and aggressively exploring her sexuality. However, making things complicated is the fact that this happens with Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard), the boyfriend of her mother (Kristen Wiig). The result is a stupendous film.
Back in 2012, news surfaced of a developing comedy at Warner Bros. Pictures from Adam Sandler called Ridiculous 6. However, last fall, that project was revealed to be dead. But when the project was nixed, we actually thought there was a good chance the film would get revived as part of Sandler's new deal with Netflix to star in and produce four original films for the streaming service. And now The Wrap has learned that Ridiculous 6 will indeed be Sandler's first movie for Netflix through his Happy Madison production banner, and he's assembled a huge cast of his usual suspects, but also some satisfying talents too. Read on!
Way back in 2011, Harry Potter franchise star Emma Watson was attached to a new adaptation of Beauty and the Beast from director Guillermo del Toro. However, in the years since, the film has never really gained any traction in development, mostly because del Toro is just too busy. At one time Watson was also supposed to head to Disney to lead their live-action Cinderella adaptation, but she never closed a deal. Well, now she's headed to the House of Mouse for real this time as Disney has just announced that she has now signed on to lead their new live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast being directed by Bill Condon.
We've already seen a good amount of footage from The Avengers: Age of Ultron thanks to the teaser trailer and the most recent second trailer, but one thing we haven't seen is a sweet shot of all the superheroes together. But that changes today with the cover for the latest issue of Empire. It's a Photoshopped image of them together, so it's not from the movie, but it's cool to see Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) standing with new characters like Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). But no sign of Paul Bettany as The Vision yet. Look!
While we're in the mountains covering the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, last night Hollywood had a big night with the ceremony for the 21st SAG Awards, honoring acting in film from 2014. After winning the Golden Globe, deserving Best Actor nominee Michael Keaton didn't end up taking home the prize for Leading Actor. Instead, that honor went to Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything, which was a bit of an upset since Keaton was the favorite. But Birdman still ended up taking the SAG equivalent of Best Picture since it won the award for the entire ensemble cast. Anyway, see the rest of the winners below.
A few years ago at Sundance, director Craig Zobel unleashed his film Compliance upon audiences, earning rave reviews and critical responses from those who felt it went too far. Zobel, who has a steady hand and refined vision, returns to Sundance this year with Z for Zachariah, and adaptation of a book that takes place in a very small town with the few remaining people that have survived after a nuclear apocalypse. The central character is Ann, played by the astonishing Margot Robbie (from The Wolf of Wall Street), who ends up in a bit of a love triangle after two different men show up. This invigorating sci-fi is my kind of film.
Sundance 2015: National Lampoon's 'Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead' is a Must-See Lesson in Comedy History
Sadly, for anyone under the age of 30, the name National Lampoon is synonymous with terrible straight-to-DVD comedies, with the exception of the more celebrated films of the Vacation franchise (the original and Christmas Vacation). However, National Lampoon has a legacy that stretches decades as it served as the launching point for some of the most iconic talents in comedy, both in front of the camera and behind it. Without National Lampoon, there may not be a "Saturday Night Live" or Ghostbusters. The documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead takes an in-depth look at the rise and fall of the adult humor magazine.
If you have more than a passing interesting in independent film, you've undoubtedly heard of filmmakers Jay and Mark Duplass. The two have been responsible for indies such as The Puffy Chair, Baghead, Cyrus and Jeff Who Lives at Home, and now they're bringing their film talents to Netflix as THR reports the duo have just struck a four-movie deal with the streaming media provider. They will be small-budget films that will be exclusively release on Netflix, and there's no timetable for them to start releasing them as the Duplass brothers are also busy on the TV side with their outstanding new HBO series "Togetherness."
One of my favorite romantic comedies of all time is When Harry Met Sally. It's classic, timeless and delivers the perfect depiction of friendship between the opposite sexes, dating and relationships. And while countless films have tried to duplicate the brilliance of director Rob Reiner and writer Nora Eprhon, many of them fall tragically short. But thankfully, we have Sleeping with Other People from Bachelorette writer and director Leslye Headland, and this is hopefully as close as we'll get to what is essentially a remake of the aforementioned 1989 romantic comedy staple. But the film has a style and attitude all its own.
Wow. This was the film I was waiting to discover at Sundance 2015. Rick Famuyiwa's Dope is one of the best films I've seen at Sundance so far: refreshingly unique, incredibly smart, hilarious throughout, edgy, and subversive in the way it challenges typical cliches of urban storytelling. Dope is a coming-of-age film about a kid from "the bottoms" in Inglewood, California who is a big geek, not the expected thug, and in his final year of high school ends up in a wacky debacle that may help him end up right where he belongs. It's awesome, really, this film rules and everyone is going to be talking about it. I loved it, from the soundtrack to the performances, it's a breakout from this year's festival and should connect with many movie lovers.