New Trailer & Poster: Angels & Demons

Sony Pictures has just released the first trailer for Angels & Demons, the second film in the franchise following author Dan Brown’s hero, Harvard symbologist Robert Langon, after 2006’s The Da Vinci Code. Tom Hanks returns in the lead, as do most of Da Vinci‘s crew, including director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, who co-penned the adaptation with David Koepp (Ghost Town). Joining the cast are Ewan McGregor (Deception), Ayelet Zurer (Vantage Point) and Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia!). My one question is why did they make such a big deal of hiring a French actress to play Sophie Neveu in the first film only to have an Israeli portray Vittoria here?

This trailer is certainly riveting, and a much better one than that first look of The Da Vinci Code, which simply showed cracks in the Mona Lisa. I agree with the general feeling that Angels & Demons (which came before Da Vinci) is a much better novel than its more famous little brother, and interestingly enough, I found it also quite pro-christianity. Then again, I also felt that The Da Vinci Code wasn’t that anti-christianity. In any case, I wonder if Angels & Demons will be set as a prequel, or if it was reworked as a sequel. Angels & Demons will be released worldwide mid-May 2009. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Shakespeare is rolling in his grave

Julie Taymor (Across The Universe), aka one of the most overrated directors working today and ironically one of the most respected female directors ugh, is about to start production on her rape of The Tempest, adapted from the play by William Shakespeare (Romeo And Juliet). The film will star Helen Mirren (National Treasure: Book Of Secrets), Jeremy Irons (Appaloosa), Djimon Hounsou (Never Back Down), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Alfred Molina (The Da Vinci Code), Ben Wishaw (Brideshead Revisited), Felicity Jones (Brideshead Revisited) and possibly Geoffrey Rush (the Elizabeth movies).

Although the play centers on Prospero, an exiled duke-turned-sorcerer, Taymor — who likes to take an experimental approach to her stage and film projects — has rechristened the lead character Prospera so that Mirren can take on the role.

Shakespeare’s play mixes romance with fraternal politics and the supernatural. As revised for the screen, it will center around Prospera, her daughter Miranda (Jones) and a shipwrecked crew full of Prospera’s enemies.

The island’s other inhabitants include Hounsou as the deformed slave Caliban and Wishaw as the airy spirit Ariel.

On the ship are rising comedy star Brand, playing Trinculo, a jester; Irons, as Alonso, the King of Naples; and Molina as the drunken butler Stephano. Rush would play Gonzalo, a royal adviser and old ally of Prospera’s.

Sure the cast is good, but that’s never stopped a bad film and that’s all I’ve seen from Taymor. Is anyone else here disgusted at this travesty? Kenneth Branagh maybe?

Source

New Trailer and Poster: Inkheart

It seems ages ago that Inkheart‘s first trailer premiered, and that’s because, well, it was. Indeed, the fantasy film was to be originally released around Christmas 2007, but instead was delayed again and again, which usually isn’t a good sign but might be explained by the trouble New Line Cinema was having at the time.

The story centers around 12 year old Meggie and her father Mo, who has the power to bring characters from books into the real world when he reads aloud. Turns out Mo discovered his power when his daughter was only a baby, and accidentally sent his wife into a book while reading Meggie a story. That, and an evil dude wants to use Mo’s power.

Based on the first book of a popular German trilogy of fantasy novels written by Cornelia Funke (The Thief Lord), who serves as a producer for the movie, Inkheart was adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire (Robots) and directed by Iain Softley (The Skeleton Key). It stars Brendan Fraser (the new Mummy movies), Eliza Bennett (The Contractor), Andy Serkis (The Cottage), Paul Bettany (The Da Vinci Code), Helen Mirren (National Treasure: Book Of Secrets), Jim Broadbent (Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull) and Sienna Guillory (Eragon) among others.

I think the aforementioned first trailer was better made, but this still looks pretty good, I’m a sucker for (good) fantasy and I must say quite like some of the talent involved. What do you think? Does Inkheart have what it takes to join the closed circle of fantasy winners? The movie will premiere in Germany on December 11th, and will get releases in the rest of the world throughout early 2009.

Charles Darwin movie to star real-life couple

British director Jon Amiel (The Core) is currently in pre-production of Creation, a Charles Darwin biopic written by John Collee (Happy Feet). Darwin, who is of course best remembered as the man behind the concept of evolution, will be played by Paul Bettany (The Da Vinci Code) while Jennifer Connelly (Reservation Road) will portray his wife/cousin Emma. Interestingly, Bettany and Connelly also shtump in real life, however they’re thankfully not related.

Like all biopics, this is one movie that can go both ways, as those films can just as easily be fascinating or well-made but dull. There is however considerable talent involved here, and a subject whose controversy is undeniable, but if all else fails we’ll at least have the stunning Jennifer Connelly to look at for 90 minutes or so.

Creation (which was previously titled Origin) is expected to be released next year. In the meantime, you can next see Paul Bettany in the promising The Secret Life Of Bees starting October (trailer here) and wife Jennifer Connelly in the sci-fi remake The Day The Earth Stood Still this December.

Source

Coco Chanel biopic to lens mid-September

In case you didn’t know, several projects are currently being developed to capitalize on commemorate the Chanel brand’s 100 years of existence. The most legitimate one would be Coco Before Chanel, which will start shooting in France on September 15th. Why the most legitimate? Well, it’s a French movie (original title Coco Avant Chanel) and Coco Chanel was French. The 22 million dollar movie, which Warner Bros will distribute in the States, will be directed by Anne Fontaine (Nathalie…) and star the cute but ever-so-annoying Audrey Tautou (The Da Vinci Code) as the legendary fashion designer and Alessandro Nivola (The Eye) as her lover Boy Capel. Of course, everyone is unnecessarily wondering how the film will compare to last year’s big French biopic La Vie En Rose (original title La Môme) which chronicled the life of singer Edith Piaf.

Source

Did Jean Reno have a heart attack?

According to reports, 60 year old French actor Jean Reno suffered from a heart attack while vacationing at singer Johnny Hallyday’s home in St Bart’s with his wife Zofia. Reno went on to be airlifted to an ICU in nearby Fort-de-France. Thankfully, Reno was discharged from the hospital at 9 PM last night and is now fine. Reno’s publicist doesn’t seem to think so however, and has denied the incident:

‘He is vacationing in the Caribbean and went to a local hospital as a precaution for some discomfort he was feeling due to heartburn and gastroenteritis.

‘It was definitely was not a heart attack. He is fine and healthy and enjoying the rest of his vacation travelling in the Caribbean.

‘I think he was just enjoying vacation and probably ate a little too much spicy Caribbean food.’

Whatever, we’re just glad he’s OK. Jean Reno (born Juan Moreno), one of France’s most popular actors is probably best known to international audiences for his titular role in Luc Besson’s Léon: The Professional, and through his American movies, which include Mission:Impossible, Godzilla, Ronin, Just Visiting, Rollerball, Hotel Rwanda, The Da Vinci Code, Flyboys and the Pink Panther remake series. Many of his French movies are worth checking out including (but not limited to) The Crimson Rivers, The Visitors and Wasabi.

Fun Fact: Mr Reno and myself attended the same high school!

Source

New Trailer: The Secret Life Of Bees

Written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball), The Secret Life Of Bees is a forthcoming adventure/drama based on a bestselling novel by Sue Monk Kidd. Here’s the book’s synopsis, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina – a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introuced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna.

From the looks of the trailer, this seems like it could a nice movie, in a wholesome fun for the whole family kind of way (sort of like The Pursuit Of Happyness, which isn’t surprising since Will Smith is producing). Set for release in the USA on October 17th, The Secret Life Of Bees stars Dakota Fanning (Charlotte’s Web), who’s turning into a very pretty girl, Queen Latifah (Mad Money), Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), Alicia Keys (Smokin’ Aces), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda), Paul Bettany (The Da Vinci Code) and Hilarie Burton (The CW’s One Tree Hill).