Videodrone's take on the biggest, best, coolest and culty-ist home video releases of the week
The new "Jane Eyre" and John Carpenter films, early features by Stanley Kubrick and Roman Polanski, and "The Big Lebowski" on Blu-ray are just a few of the highlights on home video released this week.
"Jane Eyre" (Universal) is the best kind of reminder why the classics remain alive after centuries and can be effectively remade every generation or so. The co-production with BBC films is perfectly cast (Mia Wasikowska as Jane, Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester), beautifully produced and terribly engaging, and one of the best British literary adaptations since the 1995 "Pride and Prejudice" mini-series. Videodrone's review is here.
The Robert Redford-directed "The Conspirator" (Lionsgate), about the trial of the sole woman charged with conspiring to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln, failed to find drama in the true story according to MSN critic James Rocchi, while "Something Borrowed" (Warner) is more romantic comedy fluff with Kate Hudson.
Horror movie master John Carpenter returns with "The Ward" (Arc Entertainment), his first feature in ten years, and while MSN film critic Glenn Kenny finds the material wanting, he praises Carpenter as "comfortable, confident, ready to do what it is he does." More at Videodrone's "Expert Witness" post.
Foreign title of the week is "Queen to Play" (Zeitgeist), with Sandrine Bonnaire finding a flair for chess with Kevin Kline as her gruff tutor. Also new is "The Bang Bang Club" (eOne), about young combat photographers capturing the chaos of post-Apartheid South Africa, and the post-apocalyptic vampire thriller "Priest" (Sony).
The project will mark his first film since 2007's 'Redacted'
On aging gracefully, dressing awkwardly and Anne Hathaway as the faux-love of your faux-life
After the magical realism of the Beatles-inspired "Across the Universe" and the high-stakes suspense of "21," Jim Sturgess now stars in "One Day," Lone Scherfig's adaptation of the best-selling novel by David Nicholls, where Sturgess's Dexter and Anne Hathaway's Emma fall in love over 20 years of July 15ths. It's a carefully-crafted performance as Dexter moves up and down the wheels of fortune and karma -- and through the years. We spoke with Sturgess via phone about "One Day," which Britpop idol the artificially-aged Mr. Sturgess most resembles and the varied reception 'Acros the Universe" still gets.
Were you aware of Mr. Nichols's book before the script came? It feels like one of those books that really took Britain by storm.
Sturgess: I wasn't really around in England that much around that time, so I didn't know anything about it at all. The first I heard of it was the script. The script came on my desk directed by Lone Scherfig, who I knew from 'An Education,' so that was really what got me interested. I read the book after. I went and had a meeting with Lone in London, and then she gave me her copy of the book, so I started reading it after that.
Did you know about the essential model of the structure of it when you started reading it? Did you know that it was going to jump forward year by year on that specific date, or did that unfold for you the way it might unfold for the audience?
Sturgess: That just came. I knew nothing about it at all -- literally just said 'One Day' on the front, 'To be directed by Lone Scherfig; Focus Features,' it just (gave) you the who's involved kind of thing. I read it, and the script, which is a nice way around of doing it, really. I wasn't going, 'What happened in that bit? What have they done to that bit?' I just read it and took it at face value, as the audience watching the film. I really enjoyed it as a good script. I knew that it had engaged me the way that they had done it.
The film is still about vampires and werewolves
In advance of the next entry into their wildly popular "Twilight Saga" franchise, Summit Entertainment has just sent over a batch of new images from the upcoming film, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1." These new photos place a heavy emphasis on the long-desired honeymoon for Edward and Bella, so expect Twilight fans everywhere to swoon over seeing the happy couple swimming, playing chess, and going a bit too fast in a speedboat.
But there are also a few images that hint at the drama to come - a worried Bella clutching her tummy is a nod to the unexpected consequences of Bella and Edward's honeymoon in paradise. If you're not aware of what happens in the book the film is based on, you're like wholly unprepared for the massive battles that are waged, both on a very personal level for the star-crossed lovers and on a worldwide scale for vampires and werewolves everywhere.
Summit has also crafted a new official synopsis for the film: "In 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1,' Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), plus those they love, must deal with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon, and the tumultuous birth of a child… which brings an unforeseen and shocking development for Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). With more of the romance, passion, intrigue and action that made 'Twilight,' 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' and 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' worldwide blockbusters, 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1,' based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling book series, begins the conclusion of the tale of vampire love, boundless friendship, acceptance, and finding your true self."
The films are based on the worldwide best-selling series from author Stephenie Meyer. The last two films in the franchise are directed by Bill Condon, with a script by Melissa Rosenberg (who has been all of the "Twilight" film adaptations).
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" will open on November 18. Check out the other new images after the break.
But is this a sequel or a prequel? A reboot or a remake? What?
We’ve known since March that Warner Bros.’ financing and production company Alcon Entertainment was working on securing a rights package (one that included rights specifically for prequels and sequels, not remakes) for Ridley Scott’s iconic sci-fi thriller “Blade Runner,” but news has been quiet since then. Not so today. Deadline reports that the film’s original director, Ridley Scott, is set to direct and produce a new “Blade Runner” film that “advances [the] seminal and groundbreaking science fiction film.”
The exclusive news doesn’t come with many details – it’s unknown if this next film will be a sequel or a prequel, whether any of the original cast will be involved, and how much it will reach back to the film’s source material, Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Considering that the first film was only very loosely based on that work, it’s safe to say that we probably won’t get too much more Dick in this new film. The only thing we do know is that it will not be a remake, at least as far as Alcon’s rights package guarantees that.
The original “Blade Runner” was released by Warner Bros. in 1982, and the Harrison Ford-starring film was adapted by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction). It also routinely tops "best of" lists and was, in 2007, "was named the 2nd most visually influential film of all time by the Visual Effects Society." As Deadline notes, the film was not a blockbuster at the time of its release, but it has clearly gained a huge amount of respect in the intervening thirty years.
Film is already Woody Allen's highest grossing U.S. hit
If you somehow missed Woody Allen's spring gem, "Midnight in Paris," Sony Pictures Classics is giving you a second chance. SPC will re-expand the film to an upwards of 600 additional theaters, giving the surprise hit show times at over 1,000 theaters. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the expansion will kick in to gear next Friday, August 26. This will serve as the film's second wide release, pushing it back into the realm of its previous largest release (1,038 theaters). The film has been in release since May 20, but it's kept up steady business, currently ranking as Box Office Mojo's sixteenth best weekend theater average moneymaker.
The film has made nearly $50 million at the American box office, giving auteur Allen his biggest U.S. take in his long and varied career. With the expanded release, SPC will also amp up marketing, pushing out a new TV campaign that asks audiences who previously saw and loved the film to "take a friend to Paris." New marketing and an expanded showing schedule hint at SPC's plans for angling the film as an Oscar contender, a not wholly crazy idea for the project.
The film stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Adrien Brody, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, and Tom Hiddleston in an utterly delightful and unexpectedly charming tale. Wilson is the standard Allen surrogate, a writer whose ultimate dreams of living out a happy (but penniless) existence in Paris are at odds with the ambitions of his fiancee (McAdams). The two take a trip to the City of Lights, and Wilson discovers that his literary and artistic heroes (even the dead ones) just may support his dreams. If you have not yet seen the film and don't know what direction Wilson's character's wonderings and wanderings take him, don't spoil the film for yourself, check it out. It's one of summer's true crowd-pleasers.