It's 11:11. Are you ready for a deep dive on Us? Our friend H. Nelson Tracey has unveiled another "Reading List" video for Jordan Peele's horror movie Us, which opened in theaters almost a year ago. Nelson goes through the movie and points out books, other visual patterns, and the repetition of 11:11 throughout it. "For this video essay, I point out some of the hidden books, as well as other clues and details hidden in plain sight you may have missed when you saw the movie." I always enjoy these hidden details video essays from Nelson. And this is a good compliment to other articles pointing out Peele's influences & Easter Eggs in Us.
"It is aggressive. You can't act that!" Paramount Pictures has revealed a new featurette about the making of Top Gun: Maverick, following the fantastic full trailer earlier this week. If you aren't sold on this sequel yet, you will be after this. The video shows us how they filmed this movie by mounting cameras inside actual fighter jet cockpits, so that the experience and the performances are completely real. They really feel all the G-Forces, they feel the intensity of the jet. What an awesome featurette, and boy does this looks incredible. Tom Cruise plays Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and Val Kilmer is also back; with a full cast including Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, and Ed Harris. Watch the full trailer again. I'm really, really looking forward to this even though we still have over 6 months to wait. But it seems like they're making this return to the old Top Gun world completely worthwhile. Check out the video.
"It's like a piece of theater every take." Universal has released an extensive making of featurette for Sam Mendes' war movie 1917, arriving in theaters on Christmas Day this month. We previously posted a behind-the-scenes featurette and two trailers, but this one is pretty much a Special Features video that is now online anyway. Set during World War I in the year 1917, the movie takes place over the course of one day, following soldiers on a "seemingly impossible mission" to deliver a message across enemy lines to stop an attack. With cinematography by Roger Deakins. Starring Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay, joined by a stellar ensemble cast with Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, Andrew Scott, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Teresa Mahoney, Daniel Mays, Anson Boon, and Richard McCabe. As a movie nerd, I dig these videos because I love hearing Mendes & Deakins talk about their process and how they made this.
"You can't run from Star Wars frenzy." Disney has unveiled a nostalgic featurette to promote the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which as we all know is meant to be the epic, grand finale to the Skywalker saga, which began in 1977 with A New Hope. This featurette takes us back through four decades of fandom, showing how far everything has come, along with tons of clips of all the pop culture references and influences Star Wars has had on culture ever since debuting 42 years ago. We're less than a month away to the release of The Rise of Skywalker, and Disney will continue to build up hype reminding us how much this series means to so many of us. The finale stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Domhnall Gleeson, Warwick Davis, Lupita Nyong'o, along with Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, and also Dominic Monaghan. If you're a life-long Star Wars geek like me, this video will definitely get you emotional. Enjoy.
Sony released Ang Lee's new sci-fi action movie Gemini Man in theaters a few weeks ago. Aside from the HFR cinematography, the film is boasting "groundbreaking" technology with its de-aging VFX. Gemini Man is about the world's best assassin, played by Will Smith at his current age (51), attempting to retire until he's pursued by a younger version of himself. He soon learns that they actually cloned him, and this younger "Junior" is exactly like him in every way. To create this character, Ang Lee filmed Will Smith in a motion-capture rig (with face-capture cameras) and then let the VFX artists work on their computers to de-age him. A few videos have arrived online over the last few weeks explaining the process, and showing before/after shots as well as a glimpse as the techniques they're using. I highly doubt these videos will convince anyone to see the movie, but they're fascinating to watch nonetheless because it's an advance process. Most of the de-aging VFX work was done by Weta Digital in New Zealand, still the best at what they do. Watch below.
"There is no better way to tell this story than with one continuous shot." Ohhhhh hell yes! Another one-shot movie coming up this year. Universal has debuted a fascinating behind-the-scenes featurette for Sam Mendes' latest movie 1917, set during World War I in the year 1917 - watch the intense full trailer now. The war movie takes place over the course of one day, following soldiers on a "seemingly impossible mission" to deliver a message across enemy lines to stop an attack that will kill their own soldiers. With cinematography by Roger Deakins, of course. The excellent ensemble cast features: Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, Andrew Scott, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, George MacKay, Teresa Mahoney, Dean-Charles Chapman, Daniel Mays, Adrian Scarborough, Justin Edwards, Gerran Howell, Anson Boon, and Richard McCabe. I love that they release these featurettes now, instead of saving them only for Blu-ray special features, because this looks magnificent. So much movie-making magic being shown! Wow.
"The evil in Derry is lurking, so they have no choice but to finish what was started…" Warner Bros has released a new making of featurette for horror movie It: Chapter Two, the highly anticipated sequel to the first It movie from 2017. We also featured the full-length official trailer just a few weeks ago, and it looks horrifyingly awesome. The "Losers Club" from Derry, Maine, returns home after 27 years to the confront the creepy clown from their past. This featurette includes interviews with Stephen King and most of the cast. Starring James McAvoy as Bill, Jessica Chastain as Beverly, Jay Ryan as Ben, Bill Hader as Richie, James Ransone as Eddie, Andy Bean as Stanley, and Isaiah Mustafa as Mike; with Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Clown, plus Jess Weixler, Teach Grant, Jake Weary, & Xavier Dolan. The more they show from this sequel, the more excited I am. It's looking good, really good, hopefully scarier than the first.
"The drive of the human spirit is to explore." 20th Century Fox debuted a featurette for James Gray's extra heavy sci-fi film Ad Astra, which is confirmed to premiere at the Venice Film Festival this fall. We've seen two stunning official trailers for Ad Astra so far [here and here] but clearly there's more to come. This has a tiny bit of extra footage, focusing mostly on our Moon to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing in 1969. There's some beautiful shots in this, especially one that reminds me a bit of Wall-E with the moon dust. Everything about this looks mesmerizing, and the more they show the more excited I get. Brad Pitt stars as an astronaut who travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father. He uncovers extraordinary secrets which challenge the nature of human existence. Also starring Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, and Jamie Kennedy. With a score by Max Richter. Dive in.
"The concept of man being chased by himself – that's a really compelling idea for a story… Thanks to the technology, now it's possible." Paramount has released a behind-the-scenes featurette for Gemini Man, the next film from Ang Lee. The second trailer just dropped, so they're trying to keep us intrigued with this making of look at how they created a completely digital "younger" character for Will Smith to play off of. It touches upon the dual roles and how Smith shot this, but doesn't mention anything about HFR or shooting at 120FPS. This sci-fi action thriller is about an aging hitman who finds himself facing off against a younger clone of himself. The visual effects are being done by Weta Digital. The cast also includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Linda Emond, Ralph Brown, and Theodora Miranne. I don't think this is groundbreaking nor will it change cinema, as they say, but I still hope this turns out good.
"I hunt Terminators. You metal motherf*&ker!" Paramount has launched a badass new behind-the-scenes featurette for Terminator: Dark Fate, the big bad new Terminator movie taking us all the way back to James Cameron's original two movies. This promo is all about showing off how R-rated, intense, and action-packed this movie will be - it's relentless, they keep saying. It's a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but with all kinds of different characters including more Terminators. Linda Hamilton returns as the first Sarah Connor, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is also back again, along with Edward Furlong as the original John Connor. James Cameron is producing and is credited on the story - speaking in this video. The cast includes Mackenzie Davis, Gabriel Luna as another Terminator, Natalia Reyes, Diego Boneta, Alicia Borrachero, Steven Cree, Tábata Cerezo, Brett Azar, & Claudia Trujillo. Lock & load folks. "It's R-rated, it's grim, it's gritty, it's fast, it's intense." I hope this is as good as they're promising us here.
"The musical is timeless." Universal has revealed a behind-the-scenes preview for Tom Hooper's Cats, a new movie based on the classic Broadway/West End musical of the same name. This is just a teaser to get people excited about the actual trailer coming out in just a few days - and surprisingly it still doesn't reveal what any of the actual cats look like. Adapted from Andrew Lloyd Webber's epic musical, which opened on Broadway in 1982 and won three Tonys for Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Original Score. This fresh new take on Cats stars: James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Ray Winstone, Laurent Bourgeois, Laurie Davidson, and introduces Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward in her feature film debut. This first look has lots of footage of them training, and rehearsing, and dancing, but nothing from the movie itself - we have to wait to see that. The first official trailer is out now. Enjoy this making of look in addition to all that footage.
"All we can do is give our heartfelt interpretation of his life and his music…" Paramount has debuted a new featurette for Rocketman, the upcoming biopic about the life of famed musician Elton John, as played by Taron Egerton. The promo video explains that it's actually Taron singing the songs in the film, and even Elton was impressed by him. This is the latest film made by Dexter Fletcher (Sunshine on Leith, Eddie the Eagle, Bohemian Rhapsody despite not being credited). Paramount seems to be capitalizing on Bohemian Rhapsody's success and preempting any discussion on whether Taron is worthy enough for the role. The full cast includes Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin, as well as Bryce Dallas Howard, Richard Madden, Steven Mackintosh, and Gemma Jones. There's another trailer out later this week to build the hype even more.