New Trailer: W. (also YouTube contest)

The third trailer for director Oliver Stone’s (World Trade Center) presidential biopic W. has popped up and it looks to be a mash-up between the first and the second one. To me this looks like it could be a very entertaining, if incredibly biased, motion picture.

The film stars Josh Brolin (American Gangster) as George W. Bush, Elizabeth Banks (Meet Dave) as his wife Laura, Ellen Burstyn (The Fountain) as his mom Barbara, James Cromwell (Spider-Man 3) as his dad George H.W. and Jason Ritter (CBS’ The Class) as his younger brother Jeb.

Other cast members include Rob Corddry (Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay) as press secretary Ari Fleischer, Richard Dreyfuss (Poseidon) as Vice President Dick Cheney, Scott Glenn (Nights In Rodanthe) as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Toby Jones (St. Trinian’s) as Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, Thandie Newton (RocknRolla) as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Jeffrey Wright (The Invasion) as Secretary of State Colin Powell, Noah Wyle (NBC’s ER) as Secretary of Commerce Don Evans and Ioan Gruffudd (the Fantastic Four films) as British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Written by Stanley Weiser (Stone’s Wall Street), W. will premiere in the US on October 17th. Additionally, Oliver Stone has partenered with YouTube for a video-making contest. Go here for more info.

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Truckload of Links of the Week

The /Filmcast and the /Filmcast: After Dark.

/Film‘s David Chen interviews Eagle Eye director D.J. Caruso here and star Michelle Monaghan here.

Director M. Night Shyamalan is pondering an Unbreakable sequel here.

Shia LaBeouf (Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull) will star in the thriller Dark Fields here.

Keira Knightley (The Duchess), Eva Mendes (The Women), Guillaume Canet (The Beach) and Sam Worthington (Rogue) will star in “modern love story” Last Night here.

Anna Faris (The House Bunny) drops out of pornstar biopic here and lends her voice to a new animated flick here.

Another Fantastic Four cast member is doubtful a third film will happen here.

Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau (The Break-Up) will team up once again for Couples Retreat here.

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore are game for a sequel to The Big Lebowski here.

Michael Douglas (King Of California) is a Solitary Man here.

Bruce Willis (the Die Hard films) will direct his first film here.

David Spade (The Benchwarmers) will star in Divorced Guys here.

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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Movie Of The Day: The Punisher (2004)

Blade, released in 1998, was the precursor of a movement X-Men confirmed in 2000: movies based on comic books are the next big thing. Sure, comic book movies have been continuously made for a long time, but never in such numbers and on such a high profile. The publishing company Marvel Comics can largely be credited for this, as while they’d been pretty careless with selling their movie rights in the past, they started to take more control in the mid-nineties, resulting in the first few films to come out of the trend, including the two previously mentioned. It’s been non-stop since then, with 2008 seeing at least seven films based on comic books released in the world. The Punisher is also based on a Marvel property, which had previously been brought to the screen in a fun 1989 B-movie starring Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier).

Frank Castle is an FBI agent undercover on an arms deal in Tampa, Florida. The deal is busted, and an unexpected participant is killed in the process: one of local mobster Howard Saint’s sons. Stricken by grief, Saint sends his men to kill Castle and his whole family in Puerto Rico, where they are having a reunion. Castle miraculously survives the massacre, if barely, and is nursed back to health by some witch doctor dude. Driven by rage, Frank Castle returns to Tampa, seeking to punish Howard Saint and his organization for the harm they have caused. He is now the Punisher.

The Punisher was the directing debut for action screenwriter extraordinaire Jonathan Hensleigh (Next), who co-wrote the flick with Michael France (Fantastic Four). It stars Thomas Jane (The Mist), John Travolta (Hairspray), Rebecca Romijn (the X-Men films), Ben Foster (30 Days Of Night), Roy Scheider (Jaws 1 & 2) in a small role, wrestler Kevin Nash (Dead Or Alive) and country singer Mark Collie (Fire Down Below) among others. Trailer and review after the jump.

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Movie Of The Day: Eragon (2006)

After the first installments of Harry Potter and The Lord Of The Rings rocked the global box-office back in 2001, American  movie studios started buying the rights of every fantasy book they could find in the hope of striking cinematic gold. Barely any executive was able to shout “cha-ching” however, as only a handful of these opportunist films have proved successful, namely Disney’s The Chronicles Of Narnia and New Line’s The Golden Compass (sure, it bombed in the US, but it was huge everywhere else). Indeed, in their rush to shell out movies about magical worlds, studios seem to have mostly forgotten what made Potter and Rings so successful: it’s not only an established fanbase and an otherworldly setting, but mainly faithfulness, and a creative team truly invested in the source material.

Which brings us to Eragon, which is adapted from the first book in Chistopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle. The movie was directed by first-timer Stefen Fangmeier, a visual effects supervisor on films such as A Series Of Unfortunate Events, and adpated to screenplay form by Peter Buchman (Jurassic Park III). It stars newcomer Edward Speleers in the title role, as well as Jeremy Irons (Kingdom Of Heaven), Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil: Apocalypse), Robert Carlyle (28 Weeks Later), John Malkovich (Beowulf), Garett Hedlund (Death Sentence), Djimon Hounsou (Never Back Down), Rachel Weisz’s voice (Definitely, Maybe) and pop singer Joss Stone in her first (albeit brief) film role.

Eragon‘s story goes pretty much like this: Once upon a time, peace was kept by an order of knights with special abilities. One of these knights turned to evil however, and betrayed his comrades, killing them all (or did he?) and establishing himself as ruler of everywhere. Years later, a young blond male living at his uncle’s farm stumbles upon something stolen from the evil lord. After his family is killed, he is recruited by a wise old ex-knight and sets on a journey to join a small band of dedicated rebels, to whom the stolen item could prove extremely useful. Along the way, they will venture into one of the enemy’s fortresses to rescue the young princess who stole the thing in the first place. Sound familiar? Review and trailer after the jump.

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