In case you didn't know, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the original slasher film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And for those who just haven't enjoyed the various remakes, reboots and sequels over the past decade or so, we have some good news. The original film from director Tobe Hooper will be hitting theaters again this summer, looking better than ever with a fully restored version that goes back to the original 16mm A/B rolls. Shock Til You Drop has news of the restoration which is actually premiering at SXSW tonight at 9:30pm at the Topfer Theatre after being worked on for 40 hours a week for five months.
We're still a couple months away from seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hit theaters, but while director Marc Webb was down at South by Southwest, he participated in a Q&A where the webslinging hero came up, and there's a couple interesting tidbits that fans will be interested in hearing. First of all, anyone who has seen the countless trailers knows that there's a lot of villains in this sequel, and that's something previous superhero franchises suffered from, including Sam Raimi's adaptation of the webcrawler in Spider-Man 3. But Webb isn't worried about overkill, and is confident they've done it right.
Though Paramount Pictures had some trouble bringing Max Brooks' novel World War Z to the big screen (it mostly worked out in the end), that's not stopping Sony from picking up a forthcoming graphic novel from the author. THR has word that the studio has picked up The Harlem Hellfighters, a story about the real-life African American infantry unit from World War I. Much like the true story about the racial barrier breaking Tuskegee Airmen in WWII, this follows the Army's 369th infantry division, which spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture.
Briefly: Not to be confused with the other indie Sundance '07 horror thriller The Signal, a triptych set of stories, this is one full-length sci-fi indie feature that just premiered at Sundance 2014. Another one of our favorite Sundance films (my review) this year finally gets a release date, as Focus Features has announced that William Eubank's The Signal will hit limited theaters starting June 13th, 2014 this summer, with wider expansions June 20th and June 27th. In The Signal, three college students on a road trip across the Southwest experience a detour; the tracking of a computer genius who has already hacked into MIT and exposed security faults. The trio find themselves drawn to an eerily isolated area when suddenly, everything goes dark. The film stars Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp and Laurence Fishburne. More soon.
Briefly: We're happy to report that one of our favorite films out of Sundance 2014 finally has a distributor and will be hitting theaters this fall. Picturehouse, the 2013-rebooted version of the classic indie studio, has acquired all US rights to The Guest, from writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard, behind You're Next previously. The film was a huge hit at Sundance this year, playing in the Midnight Madness category, starring Dan Stevens (from "Downton Abbey") as a soldier who arrives at the home of the Peterson family, and begins protecting them. It's awesome, a throwback to 80's action and yet still so much kick ass fun, and I'm so glad it will be out this year. No release date it set yet, however Picturehouse is planning a fall release.
Tommysaurus Rex and Tom McCarthy - sounds like a perfect match. Over at Heat Vision they're reporting interesting development news on a comic book adaptation that's been in the works since 2004. Universal first acquired the rights to adapt Doug TenNapel's graphic novel Tommysaurus Rex back in 2004, ten years ago, for around $1 million. The project has been bouncing around at the studio ever since, but now they've picked up Tom McCarthy, an actor/writer/producer and director who will be co-writing the script and possibly directing the movie, too. Now I actually have some hope this might turn out pretty damn good.
After piloting a giant robot in Pacific Rim, fighting Dark Elves in Thor: The Dark World and fighting apartheid in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, British actor Idris Elba is heading into the jungle. Deadline has word that Elba is in final talks to take on the role of the villainous tiger Shere Khan in Disney's new adaptation of The Jungle Book from Iron Man director Jon Favreau. It is said that Elba will "perform the role and provide the voice" so it sounds like there will be some motion capture used on this film to have human actors play the animals, much like Andy Serkis has done Rise of the Planet of the Apes or King Kong.
Briefly: After getting picked up about a year and a half ago by The Weinstein Company, and getting jockeyed around with 20 minutes being cut from the film and a new edit being tested and shot down in favor of director Bong Joon-ho's original cut, Snowpiercer is finally coming to the United States. Last month we learned the director's cut of the film will see release, and Radius-TWC has just given the film a limited theatrical release on June 27th, and if the distribution arm follows suit, the film will likely hit VOD the same day. With Captain America: The Winter Soldier coming in April, it's a good year for Chris Evans.
The building block game Minecraft just got picked up for film treatment, and now the hit Playstation 3 video game The Last of Us is poised to hit the big screen as well. Deadline has word that Screen Gems, the company behind the Resident Evil franchise, will distribute a live-action adaptation of the pandemic ravaged open world game with Sam Raimi and his Ghost House Pictures banner producing. The game studio Naughty Dog will have their co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra working as the "creative architects" along with the game's creative director Neil Druckmann and director Bruce Straley.
Briefly: We're happy to report some acquisition news for a unique film out of Sundance that needed a good distributor. The Wrap is reporting that Lionsgate has acquired US release rights to the film The Voices, directed by Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis, Chicken with Plums) from a screenplay by Michael R. Perry. The film stars Ryan Reynolds as a cheerful factory worker who is actually a serial killer that talks to his pets, a dog and a cat. The film received quite a few positive reviews, I wasn't sure what to make of it, but The Film Stage's Jordan Raup called it "one of the most unbridled, troubling, and hilarious films of recent years". No actual release date it set yet, however we expect Lionsgate to put it out in theaters sometime later this year.
Late last year we learned that Juan Antonio Bayona, better known as J.A. Bayona, would step into the director's chair for the gestating sequel to World War Z at Paramount Pictures. However, before that project gets off the ground, The Wrap reports Bayona has been tapped to direct A Monster Calls, based on the novel of the same name by author Patrick Ness of the Chaos Walking trilogy. The project sounds remarkably different than his work on The Impossible as it follows a young boy dealing with his mother's debilitating illness and the bullying of his classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales.
Though Leonardo DiCaprio is no longer part of The Deep Blue Good-by adaptation with James Mangold attached to direct, the actor is still attached to star in and produce the Warner Bros. adaptation of Jo Nesbo's thriller Blood on Snow (or Blood on the Snow as it was reported last fall), which was written under the pseudonym Tom Johansson. Now Deadline reports Safe House director Daniel Espinosa is on board to develop the film to direct. However, since this is the first in a two book series, we're not sure if both books will be combined into one single film, or if there's the chance for a two-part film adaptation as well.
Briefly: We're still waiting for the exact release date to be confirmed, however the good news is that Amplify and Well Go USA Entertainment have partnered to distribute the new Terry Gilliam sci-fi film, The Zero Theorem, starring Christoph Waltz. Deadline is reporting that they'll be releasing Zero Theorem later this summer, likely July/August, as the two distributors are aiming for "theatrical distribution late summer." The film already premiered at the 2013 Venice Film Festival and will open in the UK this March, but hasn't had any US release set yet despite making a Comic-Con appearance in Hall H last year. The first full trailer + TV spot for this latest Gilliam sci-fi mind-bender debuted a few months ago. Stay tuned for an exact date.
Briefly: If you somehow missed the big news, Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave just won Best Picture at the 86th Academy Awards this past weekend. As expected, Fox Searchlight is banking on all the awards buzz (since it also won at the BAFTAs, the Indie Spirits, and Golden Globes) and re-releasing the film in theaters this weekend. EW.com (via The Film Stage) reports that 12 Years a Slave will be re-released in over 1,000 theaters this weekend, likely being pushed as the Best Picture winner. The film has already made $50 million at the box office and is out on DVD/Blu-ray, but it still worth seeing in theaters. In addition to Best Picture, actress Lupita Nyong'o won Best Supporting Actress, and I was rooting for Chiwetel Ejiofor, too.