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

Nick Fury’s role expanded in Iron Man 2

Popular actor Samuel L. Jackson (Lakeview Terrace) has recently stated that, as expected, his Nick Fury role that was no more than a cameo in this summer’s early hit Iron Man, and which almost nobody saw because it was after the credits, will be much larger in the sequel, which is expected to hit screens in May 2010. According to Jackson, this comes straight from director Jon Favreau’s mouth, and really it’s to be expected since Iron Man 2 will be the last present-day-set Marvel film leading into The Avengers as The First Avenger: Captain America will be set during World War 2 and Thor, well, is about a god in Asgard. In related Thor news, Daniel Craig (the current James Bond actor) has recently turned down the chance to play the lead.

Movie Of The Day: Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

In early August 1945, the USA dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively ending the Second World War. A little more than a decade later, fresh off his acclaimed Concentration Camp documentary short Night And Fog (original title Nuit Et Brouillard), French filmmaker Alain Resnais (Last Year At/In Marienbad) was asked to direct another short documentary, about the atomic bomb. Unconvinced, Resnais ended making not only his first feature-length film, but his first work of fiction as well, Hiroshima Mon Amour (literal translation Hiroshima My Love).

Written by celebrated author Marguerite Duras (The Lover), the film tells of the love story between a French actress shooting a film in Hiroshima and a Japanese man she spent the night with, during her last day in town before returning to Paris. The unexpected emotions stir up some old painful feelings from the actress’ past, and serve as a metaphor to Hiroshima’s tragedy. It stars Emmanuelle Riva (Three Colors: Blue) in her first film role, Eiji Okada (Woman In The Dunes) who had to learn his dialogue phonetically, and Bernard Fresson (Brotherhood Of The Wolf) among others. Trailer and first five minutes of the film’s infamous fourteen minute long opening sequence 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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Eagle Eye wins weekend in the US

As expected, Eagle Eye, the new thriller from Disturbia director D.J. Caruso took the top spot at the US box-office this weekend, making more than 29 million bucks. The romantic comedy Nights In Rodanthe came in second while last week’s big winner Lakeview Terrace dropped to third place. Finishing up the top 5 are the Christian-themed drama Fireproof, which did incredibly well consider its theater count, and Burn After Reading, which is holding quite well. Interestingly, Miracle At St. Anna, the World War II film from Inside Man director Spike Lee flopped big time, entering at number 9 with only three and a half million.

Full top 20 with earnings after the jump. Continue reading

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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New erotic thriller from the director of Basic Instinct?

Dutch director Paul Verhoeven (Hollow Man) has been approached by Relativity Media to direct The Untitled Wendy Miller Thriller, a film described as a blend of Risky Business and Fatal Attraction which follows a student who gets in over his head after sleeping with the principal’s wife.

This will mark the acclaimed director’s return to the “erotic thriller”, a subgenre surprisingly difficult to get right judging from its catalogue, but which Verhoeven mastered with the 1992 controversial hit Basic Instinct.

This project may take a while to get off the ground as Paul Verhoeven has quite a few other ones lined up since he returned to America after spending some time in Europe to make the Dutch World War 2 film Black Book which you should really watch, including the long-gestating sequel to The Thomas Crown Affair.

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