There are filmmaking contests, then there are real filmmaking contests. This is one of the best, a real chance to break into the industry and work with genuine talent. The top three winners of the fifth year of Jameson First Shot international short film competition supported by Jameson Irish Whiskey, Kevin Spacey and Trigger Street Productions, will be featured at an event this weekend in Los Angeles - called The Weekender. This year's three winners are: Cameron Thrower (from the US), Kat Wood (from the UK), and Jason Perini (from Australia). After submitting their original scripts, these three filmmakers were given a chance to actually produce and film their short films starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and produced by Trigger Street.
Good news, Godzilla fans! The new Godzilla movie from Toho Company in Japan will actually be hitting US theaters this year as well. Godzilla Resurgence, or Shin Gojira as its known in Japan, opens in theaters over there starting July 29th - this month. Announced during Comic-Con, anime distributor Funimation has revealed that they will be releasing Shin Gojira in US theaters sometime in "late 2016". The announcement was made on Funimation's Twitter, but no exact date has been set yet, though we expect to see it sometime late in the fall around November or December. We just posted the latest full trailer for Godzilla Resurgence this week and I think it looks badass, hearkening back to the original man-in-suit films from the 1950s-60s.
"You maniacs! You blew it up!" This is one film definitely worth seeing on the big screen. Fathom Events is hosting a special event screening of the original Planet of the Apes movie from 1968, starring Charlton Heston, Linda Harrison, Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall as Cornelius. The event is part of Turner Classic Movies' (TCM) yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series, and they will be showing this classic sci-fi movie in cinemas only two nights this month - on July 24th and on July 27th. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz will provide exclusive commentary before and after the film. It will be screening in more than 650 select movie theaters nationwide at 2:00PM & 7:00PM local time each day - Sunday & Wednesday. Don't miss it!
This is a rough week for cinema. Over the weekend, two outstanding, profound filmmakers passed away - American filmmaker Michael Cimino, and Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. Both of them have made a number of fantastic films that have rightfully earned a place in cinema history, and many cinephiles are feeling the loss of these two great storytellers. Cimino died on July 2nd at the age of 77 at his home in Los Angeles (via CNN). Kiarostami died on July 4th at the age of 76 of cancer at his home in Paris, France (via BBC). Both are being remembered in beautiful, heartfelt ways on social media (a few samples included below) and you can remember them as well by watching their films. Especially any of them you haven't seen.
Three cheers for art house cinemas! Following in the footsteps of Record Store Day and Free Comic Book Day, an annual event will be taking place this September called "Art House Theater Day". This special celebration of art house / independent cinemas will take place on September 24th, and this will be the inaugural year. The event has its own official website with details and theater listings, but we're not exactly sure if it will involve free screenings of movies. Maybe, but it's up to every individual theater to figure out what they're doing for AHTD. We've always been big supporters of art house cinemas and movie theaters of all sizes, and it's great to see a nationwide coordinated event to celebrate them. Add it to your calendar now.
Horrible news to report today. Actor Anton Yelchin has died in a freak car accident at his home today in California. He was 27 years old and already very accomplished, with lead roles in quite a few films. Reports indicate that he was killed by his own car, which rolled down a steep hill in neutral and pinned him against a brick pillar. "It appears he had exited his car and was behind it when the vehicle rolled down a steep driveway," the LAPD said in a statement (via Variety). Yelchin was born in Leningrad in the former Soviet Union, and his family moved to the United States when he was just six months old. He started his acting career at age 9, and has been landing prominent roles for the last 10 years. What a tragedy, so sad to hear.
It's official! Legendary composer John Williams has at least three more movie scores in the works. This week, Williams was honored by the AFI with a Lifetime Achievement Award at a grand ceremony filled with celebrities. During the event, members of the press had the chance to talk with him and they confirmed a few details. First, Williams will definitely be scoring Rian Johnson's upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII - arriving in December of 2017. That seems pretty obvious, especially considering his score for The Force Awakens earned him an Oscar nomination. Next, Williams also confirmed he'll be scoring the new Indiana Jones movie that was recently announced with Steven Spielberg returning to direct. Again, not a surprise.
Cannes once again makes a political statement - as they did with Dheepan last year and Winter Sleep (from Turkey) the year before. Winners of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival awards, including the coveted Palme d'Or, were revealed at a glamorous ceremony in Cannes featuring Donald Sutherland and George Miller. The big winner is Ken Loach for his film I, Daniel Blake, about an aging man in the UK who struggles to get welfare because of a very broken system. This is the second Palme d'Or for Ken Loach, who won for The Wind That Shakes the Barley in 2006; he has also received four other awards in Cannes previously. A few of my other favorites, including The Red Turtle and Captain Fantastic, also won awards this year. See below.
Well, there we have it. Sources are reporting that it's now official that young actor Alden Ehrenreich will play young Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars spin-off movie. As we already know, co-directors Chris Miller & Phil Lord are working on the new Han Solo solo movie, due in theaters in 2018, and they've been hard at work casting the various roles. Ehrenreich beat out strong contenders like Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, Emory Cohen and plenty others for the Solo gig. Many cinephiles should quite familiar with Alden Ehrenreich as he was in one of the best scenes of the Coen Brothers' recent Hail Caesar!, and was in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine before that. He's an excellent choice.
Briefly: Finally, we have an actual release date! Buried in the latest IMAX financial report (via The Film Stage) is mention of an actual release date for Terrence Malick's long-awaited IMAX movie Voyage of Time. We've been talking about this ever since The Tree of Life was released in 2011, as it was made around the same time and apparently some of the footage in the IMAX film was used in that film, too. IMAX will release "a documentary film, Voyage of Time," on October 7th, 2016. No other details were included, like a running time. Narrated by Brad Pitt & Cate Blanchett, the doc is an "examination of the birth and death of the known universe" - a voyage over millions of years, which was condensed into a sequence in Tree of Life.
Step aide Christopher Nolan, it's Clint Eastwood who is stepping up and making a movie shot entirely with IMAX cameras. Following the success of American Sniper, Eastwood is now working on his next film Sully, about airplane pilot Captain Sully as played by Tom Hanks, and apparently he's shooting most of the film using IMAX cameras. Variety reports that IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond has confirmed that Eastwood loves the cameras and in fact it may be the first film that will be released fully IMAX after being made entirely with IMAX "technology". Eastwood's longtime cinematographer Tom Stern shot the film on ARRI ALEXA 65 & XT. Not many other details are known yet, but the film has already finished shooting. Read on.
Briefly: It's official! Universal and producer Frank Marshall have announced that Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayona (full name: Juan Antonio Bayona) will direct Jurassic World 2. Bayona is currently finishing up work on his next feature, A Monster Calls, which looks fantastic and is also being distributed by Universal through Focus Features. At one point he was also set to direct the World War Z sequel, but it sounds like this will be next. No other specific details have been revealed beyond the fact that Bayona is directing. Colin Trevorrow, who directed Jurassic World, commented on Twitter that he will be collaborating with Bayona on this sequel. Bayona broke out with the horror The Orphanage and followed that up with The Impossible.
Whoa! Get ready to spend a lot of time on Pandora over the next decade. At CinemaCon 2016 in Las Vegas, James Cameron made a surprise appearance at the convention during the 20th Century Fox presentation. He was there to talk about the theatrical experience and how important it is to preserve that, but also took a moment to provide an update on Avatar. While we know they have been planning three sequels, Cameron admitted that they just kept writing more and more and now they are planning four Avatar sequels. The first one will be out in Christmas 2018, the next one in Christmas 2020, and the final two in Christmas 2022 and 2023. This is going to be one crazy epic sci-fi saga going head-to-head against Star Wars. Excited yet?
Every year, cinephiles wake up early to catch the announcement direct from France of the films playing at the Cannes Film Festival. For the 69th Cannes Film Festival taking place this May they've revealed a fantastic selection of films premiering. For 2016 they've programmed quite a few prominent returning filmmakers along with some exciting newcomers. Steven Spielberg's new adaptation The BFG will premiere Out-of-Competition, along with Shane Black's The Nice Guys and Jodie Foster's Money Monster. In the competition, they're showing new films from Andrea Arnold, the Dardennes Brothers, Xavier Dolan, Jim Jarmusch, Jeff Nichols, Park Chan-wook, Paul Verhoeven, and Nicolas Winding Refn. Full list found below.