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Director Marc Forster first earned international acclaim for compassionate dramas like Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland, and even Stranger Than Fiction, before moving on to the James Bond sequel Quantum of Solace.  He's currently in production on the epic zombie actioner World War Z with Brad Pitt, but his next film, Machine Gun Preacher, strikes the perfect balance between those early dramas and these global adventures.  Gerard Butler stars as real life figure Sam Childers, a former biker an drug dealer whose spiritual conscience was awakened by the plight of orphaned Sudanese children recruited by the Lord's Resistance Army.  Relativity Media has acquired the story of Childers' commitment to Sudan, and will release Machine Gun Preacher this fall.

Rogue of the Week: Jennifer Aniston

Thursday, 07 July 2011 16:00

This weekend's new R-rated comedy Horrible Bosses presents ample opportunities for dark comedy and unabashed bad behavior.  It's not, after all, simply a story of three terrible employers, but is actually about their three meek employees who conspire to live out the American Dream by murdering their bosses.  The content, along with Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis playing the schlubs looking to dabble in homicide and Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell as their bosses, provides ample opportunity for actors to cut gleefully loose.  While pretty much all the castmembers do so to varying degrees, it is our latest Rogue of the Week Jennifer Aniston who does so most successfully, playing way against type.

Over the last decade or so, the Comic-Con International in San Diego has increasingly become home to huge, attention-grabbing promotions for event films both based on comic book properties and simply appealing to the same demographic.  This year, for example, there are panels for the likes of The Amazing Spider-Man, Pacific Rim, Cowboys & Aliens, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

Of course, it is Comic-Con and thusly must, by definition, include some comic books.  DC Comics has attracted a boatload of attention since announced that 52 titles will have new #1 issues this September, with younger versions of their heroes, meaning major changes to DC continuity and style in the wake of this summer's Flashpoint crossover event.  DC has unveiled its official line-up of panels for San Diego Comic-Con.  Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras, artist Jim Lee, writer Grant Morrison, and more will be on hand, no doubt to shed new light on the revamped DC Universe.

If you have an acute case of Potter-fever, then the only real cure is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, but the big event's release is just about a week away.  Besides, the conclusion of the franchise based on JK Rowling's novels has serious side effects, like uncontrollable weeping and post-series depression.  To treat your potentially-fatal fever until July 15th, your doctor is going to prescribe these six new clips from Deathly Hallows: Part 2.  Beware, though, if you're allergic to spoilers, even if you've read the books you'll be seeing footage from all over the film, including pivotal scenes and a good joke or two.

After his success with The Fighter last year, director David O. Russell made a surprise move by signing to Sony's videogame adaptation Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.  Though he brought frequent collaborator Mark Wahlberg with him, fans of the game were irked by liberties Russell was looking to take with the property, and eventually he left the project due to creative differences.  According to Variety, Sony has found their new Uncharted director in Neil Burger, who most recently directed this spring's hit Limitless.

Relativity Media has unveiled the first official image from Haywire, an action-packed tale of espionage from Steven Soderbergh, the director behind Traffic, Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Out of Sight, and The Limey.  The picture introduces us to heroine Mallory Kane, the covert operative played by Mixed Martial Arts star Gina Carano in her feature debut.  Carano is handling her own stunts in the film, and based on this first look, she is more than proficient in handling a rather powerful gun. 

Throughout the Final Destination series, the Grim Reaper hasn't needed a huge amount of human assistance to finish off most of the survivors of catastrophes.  A faulty power cord, a well-placed laundry line, or a malfunctioning escalator seem to do the trick just fine, yet in Final Destination 5, survivors will begin picking people off in the hope that they can be spared Death's elaboration machinations.  Based on the second trailer for the not-really-titled Final Five, though, the Reaper is still in fine Rube Goldbergian form.  Word to the wise: if you recently made it through a major bridge collapse, other survivors of which have been dying left and right, do not, I repeat, do not get laser eye surgery or go to your acupuncture appointment.

With Warner Premiere's Batman: Year One, the 1987 four-part origin story by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli gets the direct-to-DVD and Blu-ray treatment.  The comic was a huge influence on both Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and given the presence of Catwoman, we might just see some echoes of Year One in net year's The Dark Knight Rises, too.  Warner Premiere has done a pretty good job with DC properties so far; in the case of Green Lantern: First Flight, they arguably did a better job than the big screen version.  So take some time to check out this first trailer for Batman: Year One, which gives a good idea of how Mazzucchelli's style will translate to animation.

Two-time Oscar winner and sixteen-time Oscar nominee Meryl Streep is arguably the single most respected actress currently living, and with The Iron Lady, she'll most assuredly earn even greater accolades and perhaps another Academy Award nomination.  No, she's not playing a dignified female version of Tony Stark.  In the film, the New Jersey-born Streep plays Margaret Thatcher, the often controversial conservative figure who served as the Prime Minister of the UK through the 1980's.  The first British teaser trailer for The Iron Lady has appeared, and it playfully takes it time revealing Streep, while making good use of the main titles from Clint Mansell's excellent score for Moon.

A decade ago, in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the only dwarf we really got to know across three epic films was Gimli son of Gloin (John Rhys-Davies), a boisterous dwarf who didn't like to be tossed, but knew when it was necessary.  While Frodo's quest involved all manner of races from Middle Earth, the unexpected journey undertaken by Billbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey finds him accompanied by no less than thirteen dwarves.  We've seen some of these dwarves sitting out of focus in the background of Bag End, but a new image from The Hobbit reveals dwarf brothers Nori, Ori and Ori with crystal clarity.

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