"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." -Inception

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tom Holland cast as the newest Spider-Man!

(Photo: Marvel / Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America)
For the third time in the past 13 years, we will see yet another young actor take on the mantle of the iconic character Spider-Man onscreen. After Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, 19-year-old Tom Holland (The Impossible) has been cast by Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios to play young Peter Parker in the next stage of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Captain America: Civil War and an additional stand-alone film.

A new director, Jon Watts (Cop Car), has been named for the next Spider-Man film releasing on June 28, 2017. This is a new direction for the web-slinger who will receive the cinematic reboot for the third time. The Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man trilogy with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst grossed nearly $2.5 billion worldwide.  The 2012 reboot directed by Marc Webb and its 2014 sequel took Parker back to high school with British actor Andrew Garfield and a new/old flame Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). While the pairing of Garfield-Stone worked mainly due their on and off screen chemistry, the films made half of what the first trilogy grossed.

Sony Pictures abandoned any further sequels planned and instead the character is now set to step into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and fight alongside the Avengers. This new move also means a new backstory for Peter Parker after he will be reintroduced in Captain America: Civil War. There's no doubt that Tom Holland is a fine young actor, but I'm hoping he will be able to stand out in the overly crowded Captain America sequel. As for the new Spider-Man film, I don't know how many times they can spin the same story over and over again, but I'm sure Hollywood will find a way to bring us to Peter Parker's journey into Spider-Man in theaters one more time. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

First Teaser Trailer: Kung Fu Panda 3

Last week, DreamWorks Animation unveiled new stills and characters in the first look of the upcoming Kung Fu Panda 3. As the story hinted at the end of Kung Fu Panda 2, a whole new world inhabited by pandas was yet to be explored by our lovable lead, Po (voice of Jack Black). In the first teaser trailer released today, after a requisite fighting sequence showing us the returning characters Furious Five in action (plus Po and Master Shifu), we finally see the big moment when Po comes face to face with his long-lost father Li Shan (voice of Bryan Cranston) and it's everything we've come to love and expect from this winning series.

The reason why the Kung Fu Panda series still resonates amongst viewers is that despite everything he's achieved, Po remains the adorable goofball we first laid eyes on. He's a skilled martial arts warrior but he will stop along the way to eternal glory to finish that bowl of dumplings he's just seen. With what we've just seen from the teaser, good old dad seems to be exactly like his son Po. I think it's safe to say that we can count on hijinks a plenty in Kung Fu Panda 3 releasing January 29, 2015. The film is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni.

First Look: Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Dilwale!

A couple of days ago, Shah Rukh Khan posted a photo on Twitter that detailed his and one of his earliest co-stars Kajol's journey together. 22 years and 6 films later, they will work together again in Rohit Shetty's Dilwale releasing December 18, 20, 2015. They last worked together in Karan Johar's My Name is Khan (2010) and many thought it would be a Dharma Productions film that would cast them once again. Their much anticipated reunion (for fans, at least!) could not come sooner.

(Photo: Red Chillies)
 This first photo released of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol shows the pair in scene set in Bulgaria. Dilwale also costars Varun Dhawan and Kirti Sanon, while Shah Rukh Khan has previously worked with Shetty in Chennai Express, this will be the first time Shetty will be directing Kajol.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Animated Trailers: The Peanuts Movie, Hotel Transylvania 2 and The Secret Life of Pets

An old classic, a sequel and an expose of the hidden of life of pets! Blue Sky Studios, Sony Animation and Illumination all have new trailers out for their upcoming animated films.

Coming out in a crowded November with The Good Dinosaur, Spectre and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, the world's most loved underdog Charlie Brown and his equally lovable dog Snoopy decide to turn around the bad luck that always seems to surround him. There's a pretty new girl who moves in on the block and if he can muster up the courage to say hi, Charlie Brown might just have a new friend. In the gang's first 3D adventure and their first big screen adventure in 35 years, Charlie Brown is going to transform himself into a winner. The Peanuts Movie, directed by Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who!), brings up favorites we all grew up with: Schroeder, Sally, Linus, Peppermint Patty, Pigpen, Lucy  and of course Charlie Brown and Snoopy. This film gives Blue Sky Studios a great chance to show a whole new generation the iconic and endearing characters created by Charles M. Schultz.

The Drac Pack returns in Sony Animation's Hotel Transylvania 2 in the first teaser trailer for the film. New to being a grandfather, Drac (voice of Adam Sandler) wants to show his half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis the ways of being a vampire. If only little Dennis would learn how to fly! He better learn soon because Drac's father Vlad (voice of Mel Brooks) is coming for a visit and he's not going to like the hotel being open to humans now.  Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, Hotel Transylvania 2 releases in theaters on September 2, 2015.

Ever wondered what your pets do at home all day when you're at work? Illumination's The Secret Life of Pets will take us behind those cute eyes and show us exactly what your little furball is up to. Featuring the voice talents of Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Eric Stonestreet, Ellie Kemper and Jenny Slate, the film is about a terrier, Max, who questions his place in his owner's life when he brings home a mongrel named Duke. Debuting next summer, The Secret Life of Pets might just unveil some mysteries your pets don't want you to know.

Which animated trailer are you most intrigued about?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

First Teaser Trailer: Disney's Zootopia

Two days ago, the first look of Zootopia's lead characters, Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps, were introduced and today the first teaser narrated by the wily fox Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman) has been released. The teaser basically sets up the modern world that these anthropomorphic animals inhabit. The look of this teaser is wry yet funny and hits all the right notes.

Lots of characters of all shapes and sizes in the animal world traverse by. But we're really interested in Nick and Judy and their antagonistic first meet cute. Let's see how these two end up saving the day when Zootopia releases in theatres on March 4, 2016.  

New Photos: DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 3

DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 3, landing an early release next year, showed off some photos from the upcoming film in USA Today. In the series, Po (voice of Jack Black) believes that he is the last of his kind and his father Mr. Ping (voice of James Hong) found him as a abandoned baby.  However, the previous film revealed that Lord Shen (voice of Gary Oldman) was trying to destroy the village that Po and his family lived at. Po finally learned that his parents sacrificed themselves to save him.

Po and his father Li. (Photo: DreamWorks Animation)
But that's not all folks! The last scene of Kung Fu Panda 2 showed Po's biological father (and a whole village FULL of pandas) sensing that his son was still alive. Kung Fu Panda 3 expands on that last scene as Po finally gets a reunion with his father Li (voice of Bryan Cranston) and gets to live, for a bit, with pandas who look just like him.

Meet Mei Mei! (Photo: DreamWorks Animation)
He even meets Mei Mei (voice of Rebel Wilson) who becomes quite interested in him. But Po remembers he still has obligations alongside the Furious Five: Tigress (voice of Angelina Jolie); Monkey (voice of Jackie Chan); Mantis (voice of Seth Rogen); Viper (voice of Lucy Liu) and Crane (voice of David Cross).  The gang, with help from Master Shifu (voice of Dustin Hoffman), have to fight the new big bad, a supernatural villain named Kai.

Frolicking baby pandas in the river. (Photo: DreamWorks Animation)
But before that, Kung Fu Panda 3, directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni, promises a film filled with lots of panda babies. Nelson even went to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan, China to observe pandas in their natural habitats and saw nurseries filled with adorable baby pandas. More film time devoted to baby pandas is a-okay by me. 

The film is scheduled to release on January 29, 2016. Let's hope the release date sticks this time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Trailer: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

 The final saga of The Hunger Games series comes to a close with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. The last teaser trailer debuted yesterday and as usual, it’s delighted fans with the promise of a definitive battle between the rebels and the Capitol. This time around Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is ready, really ready to end things once and for all with President Snow.

The stage has been set up and the trailer shows up a brief glimpse of the calm before the storm with Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Annie's (Stef Dawson) wedding. All too soon, Katniss is on the battlefield leading the rebels through the Capitol. We see tender moments with Primrose (Willow Shields) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) before it's time to fight. All our of main characters and actors are back in this ultimate ending to The Hunger Games series, one last blowout, it seems.

I remember reading the final few chapters and taking a pause for a minute, the material gets dark very fast  and I'm wondering if this cinematic version will stay true to the original story. Directed by Francis Lawrence, with a screenplay from Danny Strong and Peter Craig, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 releases in theaters on November 20, 2015

First Look: Disney's Zootopia

(Photo: Disney)
USA Today unveiled the first look of Disney Animation’s upcoming Zootopia, a buddy comedy with a twist. Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), a fox and Judy Hopps (voice of Ginny Godwin), a rabbit team up to solve a big case. Co-directed by Byron Howard (Tangled) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph), Zootopia is based a modern world inhabited with animals.

First reaction… this looks wonderful, it echoes its own Robin Hood in the look and feel of the characters and I’m glad Disney is creating different and original content in animation as the rejuvenated production house has given us some amazing stories and characters in the past year. Zootopia, Disney’s 55th animated film, releases in theaters on March 4, 2016.

Awards Season Trailers: Suffragette, Bridge of Spies, The Martian and more!

It’s June, you know what that means. It's time to roll out trailers for films releasing in the latter half of the year that could potentially have an awards presence. Hence, you’ll find Hollywood’s A-list Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Matt Damon all featured in the trailers for Suffragette, Bridge of Spies and The Martian respectively. The films below all come with good pedigree with award-winning and nominated directors, screenwriters, and actors showcasing their latest work.

The early struggle of the British women’s suffrage moment and their fight for equality is the focus of director Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) and screenwriter Abi Morgan (The Hour). The mostly British cast, minus Meryl Streep, of Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw and Romola Garai show how dangerous and brutal a fight the feminist movement had to have an equal voice. Streep, who plays British activist Emmeline Pankhurst, can be counted as an honorary Brit, after all, she did win her third Oscar for portraying the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Come awards season, Suffragette could land potential nominations for best film and lead and supporting nominations for its actresses. The film releases in theatres on October 23, 2015.

James Marsh’s 2008 documentary Man on Wire on Phillippe Petit’s daring walk between the World Trade Towers already won the Best Documentary Oscar. Now, director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future) is retelling Petit’s story from his book, To Reach the Clouds. With Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit and Oscar winner Ben Kingsley, The Walk recreates his famous 1974 walk in breathtaking 3D and will be showcased on the large screen IMAX format. Best of all, the film gives Gordon-Levitt the chance to show off his French accent. The self-confessed Francophile has been a fluent French speaker for years. Take that, Bradley Cooper! The Walk, with Zemeckis’s previous Oscar and Golden Globe wins, might gain best film, director and lead actor nominations for Gordon-Levitt. It releases in theatres on October 2 and will have its premiere as it opens the New York Film Festival on September 25, 2015.

Based on writer Jon Krakauer’s (Into the Wild) book Into Thin Air, Everest details the 1996 fatal climb to Mount Everest. A strong ensemble cast of Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson and Jake Gyllenhaal take us throw the harrowing expedition which takes a turn for the worse once a severe snow storm hits. Directed by Baltasar Kormakur (2 Guns) and co-written by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and William Nicholson, Everest also features a score by Oscar-winning composer Dario Marianelli (Atonement). Lately, most true life stories get recognized for their screenplay and direction, Everest too could like be nominated for the same. I have a feeling it could also squeeze through the technical categories, especially for VFX, if all the superhero films don’t crowd it out. Everest releases in theatres on September 18, 2015.

This is collaboration number 124578 between director Steven Spielberg and actor Tom Hanks. No, not really, but the Spielberg-Hanks partnership goes way back to 1990 when they first worked together a little film called Joe Versus the Volcano. (Sidebar: This ‘little’ film is a gem, do watch it if you can.) Based on the true life story of the 1960 incident when an US spy plane was shot down in Soviet airspace, Bridge of Spies is also adapted from the book of the same name by Giles Whittell. Co-starring Mark Rylance, Amy Adams and Alan Alda, this Spielberg-directed cold war thriller could land plenty of nominations during awards season. The prolific Coen brothers, Ethan and Joel, have contributed to the screenplay and composer Thomas Newman could earn his 13th Oscar nomination for the score. Could the 13th time be the charm? Bridge of Spies releases in theaters on October 16, 2015.

We just saw Matt Damon play a stranded astronaut in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. He’s back to repeat the experience, this time on the red planet, Mars, closer to home. Directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator) and featuring a screenplay by Drew Godard (World War Z), The Martian is based on the popular novel by Andy Weir. The film costars Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara and Chiwetel Ejiofor in this intense story of a man surviving and trying to find his way back to Earth. Damon could find himself once again competing for lead actor and this film, like Everest, will feature prominently in the technical categories like sound and VFX as well. The Martian releases in theaters on October 2, 2015.

These are just five of the many award hopefuls releasing in the second half of the year. What film are you most looking forward to?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Eddie Redmayne cast as Newt Scamander

Newly minted Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne has a new role - that of intrepid adventurer Newt Scamander in new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trilogy being penned by JK Rowling.  Redmayne's name had been whispered around as the lead for months now; the news was just made official yesterday.

The prequel will find Newt in 1930s New York on a journey that will probably be catalogued in the textbook that Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger end up reading at Hogwarts. Additional details about the story or more characters isn't official as yet, but the film promises to be about characters and creatures set in the wizarding world we have to know and love.

The original Harry Potter team is back for this trilogy as well. Director David Yates who closed out the series with the last four films returns in the director's chair and David Heyman will produce these prequel films once again. Rowling takes on the role of screenwriter for the first time. Fans are really excited about this, knowing the level of detail she usually includes in her stories.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them releases next year on November 16, 2016.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New Teaser Trailer: The Good Dinosaur

The new teaser for Pixar's The Good Dinosaur wants you to envision a world where dinosaurs where never wiped out by an asteroid. What would the world be like then? What indeed... sorry, I'm just lost in my imagination here. I'm a big fan of Pixar and I think I've made my love of dinosaurs quite evident on this blog. Between Jurassic World and now The Good Dinosaur, it's going to be a good year at the movies for us dinosaur fans.

Directed by debutant Peter Sohn, who's voiced several Pixar characters over the years, namely Emile from Ratatouille and helmed the short Partly Cloudy, this animated feature is finally making its way to theatres. Sohn took over from previous director Bob Peterson who was removed from the project midway causing the film to have a delayed release amidst restructuring. The Good Dinosaur will also be coming on the heels of Inside Out which received rave reviews at the Cannes film festival and both films look to restore Pixar as the number one animation studio after its self-imposed hiatus.

The trailer shows us the first look of some of the dinosaurs featured in the movie, namely our lead character Arlo who goes on an epic encounter and makes a human friend along the way. With the voice talents of Lucas Neff as Arlo, John Lithgow, Judy Greer, Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Hader (his second Pixar film after Inside Out) and Frances McDormand, The Good Dinosaur releases this Thanksgiving. As long as Pixar continues to pursue unique and original stories, we, the audience is always eager to see more. I can't wait to see The Good Dinosaur.
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