Downfall Helmer Returns to WWII

Director Oliver Hirschbiegel, best known for his Oscar nominated biopic Der Untergang (aka Downfall) chronicling the final days of Adolf Hitler, is returning to Germany after 10 years to helm another World War 2 flick, though this time centered on the other side.

The film, simply titled Elser, was co-penned by Oscar nominated screenwriter Fred Breinersdorfer (Sophie Scholl: The Final Days) and his daughter Léonie-Claire. It will follow German carpenter Johann Georg Elser’s November 1939 attempt to assassinate Hitler. Find out more after the jump. Continue reading

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Movie Of The Day: Alexander (2004)

Back in 1964, the huge financial failure of The Fall Of The Roman Empire pretty much single-handedly buried the big-budget peplum genre, and it wasn’t until forty years later that new attempts at grand American sword and sandal epics were made. Indeed Gladiator‘s success back in 2000 slowly revived interest in the genre, which led to the release of no less than three such films in 2004: King Arthur, Troy and Alexander.

Existing in three (very) different cuts, the film is obviously based on the life of Alexander The Great and follows the Macedonian king through his childhood, youth and tenure as king, his loves, conquests and relationships with friends and family. Directed by Oliver Stone (W.), who co-wrote the film with Laeta Kalogridis (Pathfinder) and Christopher Kyle (K-19: The Widowmaker).

Alexander stars Colin Farrell (Pride And Glory), Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Val Kilmer (Felon), Anthony Hopkins (Fracture), Jared Leto (Chapter 27), Rosario Dawson (Eagle Eye), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Children Of Huang Shi) and Christopher Plummer (Closing The Ring) among others. Trailer and review after the jump. Continue reading

New Trailer and Poster: Valkyrie

This second, probably final trailer for Valkyrie, the new movie from director Bryan Singer (Superman Returns) and writers Christopher McQuarrie (The Way Of The Gun) and newcomer Nathan Alexander based on the true story of several German officers who plotted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944 looks like it was made specifically to please all those who were unenthusiastic about the first one, by adding a more cliché kind of tension and showcasing more action.

I thought the first trailer was more engaging, since this one really is a lot more stereotypical, but if it gets more people to go see it, then fine. Reaction to this movie so far has baffled me. That whole argument about already knowing the ending, isn’t that true about every movie based on a true story? And since when do people pay so much attention to accents when English-speaking people play characters of other nationalities? Anyway, star Tom Cruise (Tropic Thunder) had this to say in a recent interview:

You know, we spent a lot of time going back and forth over that. All of a sudden you’re listening to people trying to put on accents and Bryan finally said, ‘No, no, no.’ Just tell the story. We don’t want to do an accent movie, just try and find something neutral that won’t distract from the story and the characters.

Also the talent contained in this film is amazing. In addition to Cruise, Valkyrie stars Kenneth Branagh (Five Children And It), Terence Stamp (Get Smart), Tom Wilkinson (RocknRolla), Stephen Fry (St. Trinian’s), Eddie Izzard (Across The Universe), Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted), Bill Nighy (Hot Fuzz) and WW2 regular Carice Van Houten (Black Book) among others. It will be released in the US and Austria on December 26th, and most other countries in January or February 2009.

You can watch a well-made behind the scenes featurette after the jump. As for the poster, I think it looks pretty cool, but yet somehow feel it doesn’t really suit the film. What do you think of the new trailer and poster?

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Three more for Inglorious Bastards

French actresses Léa Seydoux (The Last Mistress aka An Old Mistress) and Anne-Sophie Franck (La Jungle) have recently joined the cast of Quentin Tarantino’s (Grindhouse) new World War 2 film Inglorious Bastards and the legendary Isabelle Huppert (I Heart Huckabees) is reportedly in talks to play a movie theater’s owner. The film starts shooting this October in Berlin.

Inglorious Bastards has been a pet project of Quentin Tarantino’s for years and will be a remake of an Italian film from 1978 that is also known as G.I. Bro, Deadly Mission, Hell’s Heroes and Counterfeit Commandos. Described as in the vein of The Dirty Dozen, the film will tell the story of a group of Jewish-American soldiers behind enemy lines (France specifically) who spend their time scalping Nazis.

The ever-growing cast also includes Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading), Mike Myers (The Love Guru), Eli Roth (director of the Hostel films), Samm Levine (Sydney White), Diane Kruger (the National Treasure films), Til Schweiger (King Arthur) and Mélanie Laurent (Don’t Worry, I’m Fine). It is expected to premiere at next year’s Cannes Film Festival.

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Yet another Inglorious one

The cast for Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards keeps growing as French up-an-coming César-winning actress Mélanie Laurent (Don’t Worry, I’m Fine) has signed on to play Shoshanna Dreyfus, a young Jewish girl who inherits a movie theatre in Paris and tries to avoid the Nazis (duh). The 25 year old Laurent isn’t Jewish, but I guess that’s beside the point.

Inglorious Bastards, which has been a pet project of Quentin Tarantino’s for years, will be a remake of an Italian film from 1978 that is also known as G.I. Bro, Deadly Mission, Hell’s Heroes and Counterfeit Commandos. Described as in the vein of The Dirty Dozen, the film will tell the story of a group of Jewish-American soldiers behind enemy lines (France specifically) who spend their time scalping Nazis.

In addition to Mélanie Laurent, the cast includes Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading), Mike Myers (The Love Guru), Eli Roth (director of the Hostel films), Samm Levine (Sydney White), Diane Kruger (the National Treasure films) and Til Schweiger (King Arthur). Inglorious Bastards will start filming next month in Berlin and is expected to premiere at next year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Fun Fact: Mélanie’s father Pierre Laurent is the French voice for many Simpsons characters including Ned Flanders, Apu, Barney, Reverend Lovejoy and Smithers.

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Movie Of The Day: The Dawn Patrol (1938)

Sorry it’s taken so long for a new “Movie Of The Day”. I’ve been quite busy in real life and trying to catch up with the plethora of movie-related news on the site.

Who said remakes were a recent trend? The Dawn Patrol, a World War I movie directed by Edmund Goulding (A Night At The Opera), is based on an eponymous film helmed by Howard Hawks (Scarface) a mere eight years before. Adapted by Seton I. Miller (Pete’s Dragon) and Dan Totheroh (The Devil And Daniel Webster), The Dawn Patrol is set in 1915 and relates the routine of fighter pilots enrolled in the 39th Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps, focusing primarily on two of its members.

The film stars some of the era’s biggest names, including Errol Flynn (The Adventures Of Robin Hood), David Niven (The Guns Of Navarone) and Basil Rathbone (a dozen Sherlock Holmes movies in the 30s-40s). Trailer and review after the jump.

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Witness a Miracle At St. Anna in five days!

Do you live in or near Paris, the city of lights itself? If so, you can be among the first few to view Inside Man director Spike Lee’s latest film, the World War 2 drama Miracle At St. Anna, which premieres today at the Toronto Film Festival.

The anticipated film will screen as part of a mini Spike Lee festival organized by the Cinémathèque Française. Go here to buy seats while you still can!

Miracle At St. Anna tells the story, through flashback, of four African-American “Buffalo Soldiers” who are trapped behind enemy lines in 1944 Tuscany, after one of them saved an Italian boy. It stars Derek Luke (Definitely, Maybe), John Turturro (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Stop-Loss), John Leguizamo (The Happening) and Kerry Washington (the Fantastic Four films) among others. Author James McBride wrote the script based on his own novel. Trailer after the jump.

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