Sunday, May 9, 2010

This Week in Movie News (Nerd News)

There's been some interesting news this past week, so let's get to it before the new week starts:

- Toby Jones to appear in CAPTAIN AMERICA as the villainous Arnim Zola. Hugo Weaving was cast as Cap's nemesis Red Skull last month, but it seems as though one antagonist isn't enough for Joe Johnston's film. For those unfamiliar with Zola - he's another Nazi, but instead of the physical terror that Red Skull brings to the table, Zola offers a more intellectual terror. He's a mad scientist type who carried out devious experiments for the Germans in WWII. His greatest feat is that he was able to project his lifeforce into some sort of robot. When said robot is damaged, he can just transport himself into some other form of technology, essentially making him immortal. I'm interested to see the relationship between the two villains in this film, but I can only assume it will be an amiable one (Nazis of a feather). For those unfamiliar with Jones, he's got an impressive resume. He's appeared in FROST/NIXON, W. and FINDING NEVERLAND. He's also an interesting looking fellow with a lot of character to him. I can imagine he'll make for a perfect mad-nazi-scientist.

- RISE OF THE APES, formerly CAESAR, formerly GENESIS: APES has a release date - June 24, 2011. That's soon! This film is truly going to get made after being dismissed so many times. APES will be helmed by British director Rupert Wyatt (THE ESCAPIST) and should start production fairly shortly. I've mentioned before that I'm pessimistic about this film considering its ridiculous plot, but there is some potential. Basically, I'm of the opinion that if it's bad (which seems about 90% likely) it's going to be very very bad, but if it's good it could be quite good. One bit of promising news to come out of this announcement is that WETA (LOTR, DISTRICT 9) will be creating the CG apes for the film. Also, it seems as though they're going to go with a story about genetic tampering instead of the time-travel plot from the original CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. I'm very curious to see how this will turn out.

- A trailer was released this week for Robert Rodriguez's next film MACHETE. The film actually began as a fake exploitation trailer featured in his and Tarantino's GRINDHOUSE double-feature, but Rodriguez was passionate about fleshing out the ideas full potential. To me, it looks like a lot of fun. The cast is crazy and when am I going to get the chance to see character actor Danny Trejo headline a film again. The trailer's release is incredibly appropriate considering Cinco de Mayo and that it seems to be addressing issues that are currently ongoing in the backwards, prejudice state of Arizona (which the trailer briefly addresses). MACHETE will be in theaters this September.

- Steven Spielberg has picked out his next live-action project: WAR HORSE. I say live-action because his next film is actually the first installment in the animated series TIN TIN based on the popular French cartoon. Spielberg has entertained numerous projects over the past couple years and his decision has been closely watched by his fans and film enthusiasts. Frankly, I'm not terribly interested. Despite his legendary status, Spielberg has been faltering this past decade. Since 2000, he's directed seven feature films and I only like two of them (MINORITY REPORT and CATCH ME IF YOU CAN). Particularly despicable was his last outing with the Indiana Jones series. I'll see what he's putting out, but I'm not getting my hopes up. The film we be based on a novel of the same name, a description of the book is as follows:

"In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?"

Look for WAR HORSE in August of next year.

- Speaking of Spielberg - For everyone who went out to see IRON MAN 2 this weekend (which was a lot of us) there was quite a treat in the form of a trailer for an upcoming film called SUPER 8. The debut of the teaser was not much of surprise considering its existence and spot in the trailer lineup was revealed earlier in the week, complete with wild speculation about what the film will be about. Entertainment site HitFix actually managed to guess everything incorrectly about the nature of the film. They thought it might be a CLOVERFIELD sequel - it's not. They thought it was likely not the film that J.J. Abrams was working on with Steven Spielberg - it is. They also assumed that Abrams would likely not be in the director's chair for this film - he is. This will be Abrams next project before he moves on to do the STAR TREK sequel. I'm not a huge follower of his, but he certainly made me a fan with STAR TREK last year. Its appropriate that he and Spielberg are in cahoots as it seems likely that Abrams might be the Spielberg of tomorrow.

The trailer for SUPER 8 caught my attention (and imagination) to say the least. Abrams seems to be returning to the same advertising tactic he utilized with CLOVERFIELD. Like CLOVERFIELD, the details gleaned from SUPER 8's trailer are a bit vague, but it looks to be a promising monster movie. I imagine the preview will hit the internet shortly. You can either wait for this, go see IRON MAN 2 (not a bad option), or just watch the bootleg versions available on YouTube. I won't describe the trailer because you can find that somewhere else, but I will say this - Area 51, train crash, something violently escaping train car.

The official plot description for the film as of today is this: "In 1979, a train carrying important cargo from Area 51 is destroyed, causing all contents to be unleashed upon the world." SUPER 8 hits theaters in Summer of 2011.

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