Sunday, 12 January 2014

New to Theatres This Weekend: The Legend of Hercules, Lone Survivor, Her

As with last weekend, there is only one major release to speak of, but a handful of awards contenders are also getting significant expansions which should give moviegoers plenty of options to choose from. Renny Harlin’s The Legend of Hercules starring Kellan Lutz kicks off a new wave of sword and sandals flicks that will be hitting theatres this year, unfortunately it is currently sitting at 0% on Rotten Tomatoes (which isn’t particularly surprising). Elsewhere, Peter Berg’s Lone Survivorand Spike Jonze’s Her are finally in wide release while The Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and John Wells’ August: Osage County are at least playing on a few hundred screens as well. In limited release, we also have a pair of acclaimed foreign films with The Rocket and In Bloom. What will you be watching this weekend?

Knights of Badassdom Finally Gets a Release Date and a New Trailer

It’s been a couple of years now since we saw the first trailer for Joe Lynch’s Knights of Badassdom, a comedy about a group of LARPers who accidentally summon a demon and find themselves forced to take up arms against it. With a cast that includes Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, Steve Zahn, Ryan Kwanten and Danny Pudi, the movie seemed destined to be an instant cult classic until a strange thing happened… it simply fell off the face of the Earth. Rumours swirled about one of the producers hijacking the movie away from Joe Lynch, re-editing it and then trying to sell it all on his own.
The good news is that the movie has finally found a home with Entertainment One and it will get a release in early 2014. The bad news is that this is not Joe Lynch’s cut of the movie and based on the new teaser trailer they have released, some of the post-production work looks questionable at best. Knights of Badassdom will play theatrically starting on Jan. 21st through Tugg and then go the VOD route on Feb. 11th. Check out the new teaser trailer after the jump and see what you think.

Gerard Butler in Talks for Point Break Remake

Although the past few years haven’t been particularly great ones for Gerard Butler, the surprise success of Olympus Has Fallen has at least restored his status as a semi-reliable action star. This led to a handful of projects being offered to him in 2013 including sci-fi actioner The Raven, Alex Proyas’ Gods of Egypt and the Kane & Lynch movie (not to mention the upcoming Olympus Has Fallensequel, London Has Fallen). Now it looks like he has landed another high profile role in the upcoming Point Break remake. Butler is in talks to play Bodhi, the same character played in the original film by the late Patrick Swayze. Hit the jump for more details.
According to THR, Gerard Butler is in final negotiations to star in Alcon’s remake of Point Break. The movie is set to be directed by Ericson Core (Invincible) from a script by Kurt Wimmer (EquilibriumLaw Abiding Citizen). The role of undercover FBI agent Johnny Utah, played by Keanu Reeves in the original, has yet to be cast.
I guess I can see why Gerard Butler would be cast in the Bodhi role, especially after starring in the surfing drama Chasing Mavericks, but I’m still not clear on whether or not the bad guys are actually surfers in the remake. They keep saying that this new version is “set in the international world of extreme sports” which sounds pretty terrible. Either way, Butler clearly does not have have the same charisma as Swayze but hey, who does? Do you think Gerard Butler can pull off a decent Bodhi? Who would you like to see as the new Johnny Utah?

Friday, 10 January 2014

Paul Walker’s Character Will Not Die in Fast & Furious 7

After nearly a month of speculation about how they might handle the death of Paul Walker in the upcoming Fast & Furious 7, it seems that director James Wan and writers Chris Morgan and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum have finally come to a decision. It was recently announced that the movie would be pushed back to April 2015, giving them time to do rewrites and reshoots if necessary. Although there were some reports that they might scrap the whole movie and start over again, I think we all knew that was pretty unlikely. We are now hearing that they will salvage as much of the existing footage as possible and that Paul Walker’s character will not actually die in the movie. Obviously this seems like the ideal solution, but can it still make sense in the context of the entire film?
According to THR, the new plan is not to kill off Brian O’Conner in Fast & Furious 7, but rather to “retire” him. It’s unclear just exactly what that means but their goal was to “tweak the existing script so that Walker would remain a part of the story but could be written out, allowing the franchise to continue without him.” Some additional scenes will need to be written and shot, but there does not appear to be any need for stand-ins or CG work.
Although the exact details are still unknown, in theory, this feels like the most tactful and practical way to handle the situation. That being said, it really depends on how much flexibility the existing footage affords them. It would be unfortunate if they had to rely completely on other characters to explain everything that Walker’s character does. Do you think this sounds like the right way to go? How do you think they will explain the departure of Brian O’Conner in Fast & Furious 7?

Ridley Scott’s The Counselor to Get Unrated Extended Cut in February

Ridley Scott is certainly no stranger to the concept of director’s cuts and extended cuts; in fact, many credit him with popularizing the practice for better or worse. As it currently stands, at least eight of his films (maybe more) have been re-released in an alternate version of some sort, many of them seen as being superior to the original theatrical cut. With the chilly reception given to his latest film, The Counselor, this past October, you had to assume that there would be a new version of this on the way as well. Well, as it turns out, a longer cut of the film has just been announced this week, although it’s worth noting that it is not a “director’s cut.” Hit the jump for more details.
According to a press release from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, The Counselor is coming to DVD and Blu-ray Combo on February 11th. The Blu-ray release will include both the theatrical version of the film and a new unrated extended cut. The press release lists the extended cut as being 220 minutes long (3 hours 40 minutes), but before you get too excited / horrified, it seems likely that this includes some extra making-of footage that is also unrated. Further investigation indicates that the extended cut is 138 minutes long, which means we will still get 20 minutes of additional scenes.
Many people have already made comparisons between Cormac McCarthy’s screenplay for The Counselor and the final film, pointing out that there is plenty of additional insanity that we never got to see on screen as well as some additional clarity. Could this extended version of the film change some people’s minds about it or will it just make it more unbearable? I’m not sure, but I know I’m definitely looking forward to seeing it. Will you be watching the extended cut of Ridley Scott’s The Counselor?

Film Junk’s Best and Worst Movies of 2013

At this point I think most people are probably getting burnt out on year end lists, but before we can close the book on 2013 here at Film Junk we have to collect our own top 10 lists into one convenient, easy-to-read post. Here you will find a breakdown of our favourite movies of the year, least favourite movies of the year and also some separate lists for best documentaries of the year. For further discussion on how we arrived at these picks, you’ll need to listen toepisode #448 of the Film Junk Podcast. What were your favourite films of the year? Hit the jump to check out our best and worst movies of 2013.

Amityville Reboot Coming in 2015

With the first weekend of 2014 now officially out of the way, Dimension Films have not wasted any time planting a flag in the first weekend of next year. The horror movie that they have chosen to kick off the 2015 movie season will be a reboot of The Amityville Horror series entitled simply Amityville. Although it may seem like this announcement came out of nowhere, they have had a new Amityville movie in development for years now under the title The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes. As you can probably guess, it was going to be a found footage film but it completely fell off the map, leaving many to assume it had been cancelled. Now it has been resurrected under a different title with the same writer/director team still attached. The plot synopsis is as follows:

“An ambitious female television news intern, on the verge of breaking the most famous haunted house case in the world, leads a team of journalists, clergymen and paranormal researchers into an investigation of the bizarre events that will come to be known as The Amityville Horror… only to unwittingly open a door to the unreal that she may never be able to close.”
Amityville will be written and directed by Casey La Scala and Daniel Farrands with Jason Blum on board as producer. La Scala doesn’t have a ton of credits to his name aside from the skateboarding comedy Grind and an upcoming horror thriller called The Remaining, but Farrands wrote the screenplay for Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and directed a handful of horror-related documentaries including Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy and Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th.
It remains to be seen if Dimension will actually follow through with the project this time around. They had previously scheduled the movie for January 3rd, 2014 but then simply sat on it for a year. What do you think, is The Amityville Horror due for another reboot? Can the found footage format bring something new to the franchise?
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