"I'm sword to defend the tower, I'll stop at nothing to protect it." Sony has debuted a new featurette for The Dark Tower movie, adapted from Stephen King's book series. Directed by Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel, this cinematic version of the story is more sci-fi than fantasy, about a Gunslinger roaming an Old West-like landscape in pursuit of the man in black. The featurette gives a basic introduction to Idris Elba as the "Gunslinger" Roland Deschain, and his nemesis, Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black. The full cast includes Abbey Lee, Jackie Earle Haley, Fran Kranz, Tom Taylor, Katheryn Winnick, Alex McGregor, Nicholas Hamilton, Claudia Kim, and Michael Barbieri. There's tons of new footage in this featurette and you know, I actually think it looks damn good. I'm down for some ass kicking gunslingin'.
"The story. The themes. The stunning visual environments. It was a pleasure getting back to the world of Blade Runner again." Warner Bros has unveiled a behind-the-scenes featurette for Blade Runner 2049, the sci-fi sequel directed by Denis Villeneuve. This is easily one of our most anticipated, and the more they show us, the better it looks. Holy crap. This direct sequel takes place 30 years after the original story, and stars Ryan Gosling as the new LAPD Officer who must find Deckard, who has been missing all this time. Harrison Ford returns to play Deckard, and the new cast of 2049 also includes Ana de Armas, Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Mackenzie Davis, Robin Wright, Barkhad Abdi, Lennie James, and David Dastmalchian. All the footage in this looks stunning, and I love that everyone in this video talks about how daunting and impressive every aspect of it is. I'm so happy this movie looks this amazing. Cannot wait.
"I fight only to protect apes." 20th Century Fox has released a new featurette for War for the Planet of the Apes, focusing on the groundbreaking, unbelievable VFX work in the movie. Weta is the VFX studio responsible for bringing to life all of the apes in the movie, which is amazing because they didn't use a single real ape yet it's almost impossible to tell that they aren't real. Seriously. Weta has been improving with each of these three modern Apes movies, and this one has their best work yet. Andy Serkis returns as Caesar, and the cast includes Woody Harrelson as the Colonel. At this point, I really believe Fox needs to push Serkis for awards consideration, because it's jaw-dropping how much his performance makes Caesar feel real. I love that Fox is showing some of this behind-the-scenes footage now. Let's keep building up the hype.
"Avatar makes everything possible. There's no limit anymore…" Europacorp has debuted a fantastic new featurette for Luc Besson's Valerian, his epic sci-fi adventure hitting theaters next month. This extended featurette is an impressive recap/introduction, looking back to the original graphic novel that this is based on, showing behind-the-scenes of development and production, and ending with finished footage from the film. The space opera sci-fi movie stars Dane DeHaan as Valerian, and Cara Delevingne as Laureline, special operatives for the government of the human territories charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. They must travel to an intergalactic city full of different species called Alpha on a mission. I'm so excited to see this! If all the other trailers haven't interested you yet, maybe this will finally sell you on it.
"Strong women together are unstoppable." Fox Searchlight has released a new featurette for the fantastic documentary Step, profiling a step dance group at a school in Baltimore. This doc premiered at Sundance to rave reviews, and was one of the audience's favorites. It's one of the most energetic, inspiring, exciting documentaries I've seen this year and I highly recommend it. This featurette is more of an introduction to "step" and what it is, and where it came from, and why it's so important to these women. If you haven't seen the official trailer, you can check it out here after watching this promo below. Here's to hoping Searchlight can build up buzz and turn this doc into a big hit in theaters. It definitely has my support! Check this out.
"You have 576 possible webshooter combinations." Sony has released a boatload of marketing material for Spider-Man: Homecoming, with release less than a month away. The most important new promo is a 22 minute "Fan's Guide" featurette. It aired on Disney XD and is aimed at younger viewers, but still has lots of cool behind-the-scenes footage and details about the new Spidey movie. There's another featurette on the new Spidey suit (that Tony Stark helped build) and a fun TV spot, plus a few posters below. Tom Holland stars as Peter Parker, and the cast includes Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Jon Favreau as Happy, Michael Keaton as Vulture, Donald Glover, Robert Downey Jr., Martin Starr, Logan Marshall-Green, Angourie Rice, Hannibal Buress, and Zendaya. I actually have high hopes for this, it looks damn good.
One of my favorite films of 2016 was Matt Ross' Captain Fantastic, starring Viggo Mortensen. It's the kind of film I can put on any day and it makes me happy, I adore it, and I was so happy to see Viggo get an Oscar nomination for his performance. Not only is a great film, but it has so much to teach us about raising kids, keeping an open mind, learning more about the way we interact in this world, and fighting against a capitalistic society. Fellow cinephile H Nelson Tracey, who writes for the site Cinemacy, has created a video essay breaking down and examining all of the books shown and literature referenced in the film. There's quite a few books referenced in this film, and if you're looking for some extra summer reading, this is a very good place to start. As I'm a very big fan of this film, I couldn't help sharing this video. Check it out.
"That's all completely real, there's no sort of trickery in that sequence." This is awesome! Sony has dropped a new making of featurette for Edgar Wright's Baby Driver showing how they pulled off some of the crazy car chase action sequences in the movie. Start by watching the trailer, then follow up with this featurette. They show bits of the driver training, as well as the actual filming rigs and techniques used on set to make this all seem real. And craziest of all is that half of it is real, they shot on location in Atlanta and most of the car stunts were real. Ansel Elgort stars as Baby, with a cast including Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, with Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx. I am so so excited to see this. Can't wait!
"I'm here to keep 3D alive, and the only way to make it the best experience for you, is to shoot it natively." Paramount has released a new making of featurette for Transformers: The Last Knight, and it's pretty much nothing but Michael Bay talking about filming this new sequel. As much as I know that most of us are not that excited for this movie, this is one of the best featurettes I've ever seen. There's tons of cool behind-the-scenes footage, it's almost all Bay showing us a look at his workplace(s), and it's not made up of existing footage that we've already seen in other trailers. This stars Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, John Goodman, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Isabela Moner, Santiago Cabrera, and Liam Garrigan. Maybe this will change your mind about this movie? Have fun.
"The all-new Walter. Created to serve." 20th Century Fox has revealed a brand new promo video for Alien: Covenant, introducing the newest version of the android made by Weyland-Yutani. The term used by the company is "synthetic", and the character is again played by Michael Fassbender. In Prometheus, he was called David, but in this movie he's known as Walter - so this video is all about meeting Walter. "Walter is the world's most advanced synthetic companion, designed to help you achieve a better human experience. Each model is individually calibrated to serve its owner's unique set of needs and preferences." There's a new website as well to custom build your own Walter. I like this marketing - it connects back to Prometheus and the marketing for David (and the TED Talk) and it's a a very clever world-building concept. See below.
"This may not look like a great deal of complexity to your viewers…" Weta Workshop is one of the coolest places, along with ILM. As a preview for the upcoming live-action Ghost in the Shell movie, Tested host Adam Savage went down to New Zealand for a personal tour of the Weta Workshop to get a closer look at the various props and practical effects and other toys used to make the movie. This video focuses entirely on the robot geisha seen in the trailers, with the face that opens up. Savage talks with Weta's Richard Taylor about creating the robot geisha and the various development processes. I wish there was more in this video about other props and pieces from the movie, but hopefully we'll see more of them later. Take a look below.
"I feel like I'm on top of the world, because this is just mind-blowing." Marvel has released a new behind-the-scenes production featurette for Avengers: Infinity War, the next big superhero crossover movie hitting theaters in the summer of 2018. The video is more of an announcement of the start of production - filming began on January 23rd, 2017, under the working title Mary Lou, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Georgia. Filming is expected to last until October/November 2017 - which is an extremely long shoot, but they're shooting the next two back-to-back. The Russo Brothers are directing, and instead of being split into two parts, it will be one big movie. This video features Kevin Feige, with appearances by Chris Pratt (Star Lord), Tom Holland (Spider-Man) and Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man) as well as a few others. Fire it up.