As we inch ever closer to 2012, summer movies that have – for the past months and in some instances years – attempted to maintain total secrecy will begin to come into sharper focus, as studios carefully mete out official information, building anticipation for these heavy hitters of the blockbuster season. One such project that has existed within a haze of mystery, rumor mongering, and misdirection is Prometheus, director Ridley Scott's first science fiction film since 1982's Blade Runner. The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly contains a substantial article and photo spread, so today we have new scans from the film, featuring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Charlize Theron, Logan Marshall-Green, cool space suits, the bridge of the titular spacecraft, a giant head sculpture, and some very H.R. Giger-inspired production design.
A new trailer for Haywire, the first all-out action movie from director Steven Soderbergh, has arrived online today, and to say that it's a doozy would be a rather dramatic understatement. As it opens, the trailer pulls a clever trick, visually introducing the film's leading lady, MMA star Gina Carano, in fancy evening wear with Michael Fassbender, giving the distinct impression of a restrained relationship drama. Then, out of nowhere, the two start viciously beating the hell out of each other, and the trailer hops into high-action mode without ever looking back. Like the first trailer released over the summer, this one ably sells Carano as a true action star, and her character, Mallory Kane, looks to be an unstoppable whirlwind, a one-woman wrecking machine jarring loose our notions of what an asskicker looks like.
RoboCop, director Paul Verhoeven's 1987 action/science-fiction/satire is brilliant, an audacious and intelligent skewering of dehumanizing American consumer culture that is probably even more relevant now, 24 years later, than it was at the time of its release. As part of its post-bankruptcy strategy, MGM is moving ahead with a RoboCop remake that has been developing, in several different iterations, for years now. While nobody can match Verhoeven's lunacy, the studio made an inspired choice with Jose Padilha, the Brazilian director who would make his American debut with the tale of Alex Murphy. While it's still very early, the director has shared some crucial insight on his approach to RoboCop, and it sounds different enough to stand up as its own cinematic entity.
Over the summer, the prequel X-Men: First Class pulled a Batman Begins, performing well, but not phenomenally, and establishing a new direction for a franchise that was probably running out of creative momentum. It was something of a palate cleanser, a well-reviewed adventure with solid word of mouth to hook wayward fans back into the world of Marvel's mutants. It also ended with a promise of continued adventures for Michael Fassbender's Magneto and James McAvoy's Professor Xavier, we've seen precious little indication that 20th Century Fox would continue the series. An as-yet unconfirmed rumor suggests that a continuation of X-Men: First Class is in the works, with a writer familiar to the Merry Mutants at work on a sequel to the prequel.
Over the next month leading up to its release, Shame is going to get a whole lot of attention, and probably for all the wrong reasons*. The film has been tearing it up on the festival circuit over the last several months, earning ridiculous amounts of praise, with leading man Michael Fassbender's performance pretty much unanimously lauded as something truly special. Fox Searchlight has released the first domestic trailer for the film, which follows a sex-addicted New York whose carefully compartmentalized existence starts to come apart when his sister, played by the amazing Carey Mulligan needs to crash at his place for awhile. It's a well-put together trailer, promising Shame will be a riveting character portrait that portrays this man's sex addition as a true compulsion on the level of a consumptive drug habit.
For a dedicated and enthusiastic cinephile, there is no better place on Earth to lay your head than here in sunny Los Angeles, California. Not because of the Walk of Fame or any number or tourist attractions, but for the plethora of incredible screenings happening every single day at any number of incredible locations such as The New Beverly, the Nuart, the Aero, and, of course, The Silent Movie Theater. Non-profit Film Independent puts on a year-round weekly film screening series at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Wilshire, and the November schedule has just been released. As curated by luminary film critic and academic Elvis Mitchell (host of KCRW's excellent The Treatment), November contains a pretty remarkable lineup, including films such as The Descendants and Shame, along with appearances from George Clooney, Michael Fassbender, Jason Reitman, Steve McQueen, and Roger Corman, along with a showcase for Studio Ghibli, the legendary Japanese animation studio that is home to Hayao Miyazaki.
Tickets for non-members are $10 per person, unless you're a LACMA member, in which case they're only $7. If you're a senior or a student with a valid student ID, then that $7 price applies, as well. If you're a Film Independent, LACMA Film Club, or New York Times Film Club member, tickets are just $5.With the notable exception of Shame, pre-sale tickets for members on all films are now on sale at lacma.org or by calling (323) 857-6010. For non-members, tickets go on sale Thursday, October 20th at 5 pm. Tickets to Corman's World, The Descendants, and Jason Reitman's Live Read will be limited to two per purchase. As for Shame, tickets will be free for Film Independent, LACMA Film Club, or New York Times Film Club members, and can be reserved as of today.
Last month, the Steven Soderbergh-directed thriller Contagion made a surprisingly big pop-cultural impact for an uncompromising film about an event as unpleasant as a viral pandemic, but for his next feature, the auteur behind Traffic, The Limey, Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brokovich, The Informant!, Out of Sight, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape is having some fun with his first ever straight-up action movie, Haywire. Relativity Media has released a new official one sheet for the film, and it makes it abundantly clear that leading lady Gina Carano is not to be trifled with. The poster makes this point with a stylishly stripped-down approach.
When Alien arrived in theaters back in 1979, not only were audiences wholly and deliciously unprepared for the chestburster scene, but they also weren't expecting Sigourney Weaver's Ripley to end up being the character who escaped the Nostromo, as a then-unknown Weaver was surrounded by far more recognizable faces. Of course, Ripley went on to become something of an icon, and for his return to the science fiction universe of Alien, director Ridley Scott has created another strong female leading role. Noomi Rapace, the actress who first played Lisbeth Salander in the original Swedish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, stars in Prometheus as Elizabeth Shaw, and while the 3D science fiction-horor film remains oh-so mysterious, Rapace has revealed some key elements of Shaw's character, and she sounds familiar in some crucial respects.
Of all the mysterious high-profile movies set for 2012, Prometheus might just be the most mysterious. Unlike, say, a trilogy-capping superhero movie, Ridley Scott's first science fiction film in 30 years hasn't needed to film on any metropolitan streets, and the production has managed to keep story and shooting details well under wraps. The "It's not really an Alien prequel but yeah it's totally an Alien prequel" movie has been playing a shell game for months, disavowing information from all over the place and, by some accounts, actively spewing disinformation online to throw spoiler-hounds off the trail.
Famously verbose Lost co-executive producer and screenwriter Damon Lindelof, who rewrote Prometheus from previous drafts by Jon Spaihts, recently discussed the film at length, and while there are plenty of vague teases, Lindelof also verified some information and discussed story and characters, specifically those played by Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender.
Jose Padilha, the director responsible for the hugely popular Elite Squad films in his native Brazil, signed on to MGM's RoboCop remake back in March. Since then, he and screenwriter Josh Zetumer have been collaborating away on a new screenplay that abandons any and all development done under previous would-be remake helmer Darren Aronofsky. The big question is whether or not the duo will be able to create a worthy successor to Paul Verhoeven's wickedly satirical and staggeringly intelligent 1987 original, but of course the more frequently asked question is , "Who will play RoboCop?" Padilha himself set off an internet hyperbole-storm on Friday when he mentioned being a fan of Michael Fassbender, but he's now distancing himself from the casting question, while focusing on the more pertinent stuff.