Monday, August 9, 2010

There Is Something for Everyone

A promo trailer for a project called Samurai has just debuted. This will be the directorial debut of Jerry O'Flaherty, who has worked for years as the art director on Epic's Gears of War video game series. They're developing a samurai vs ninja action movie using hyper-stylized action straight from Zack Snyder's 300. But the kicker is that they're using the Unreal 3 video game engine to render the props and environments. And it's pretty damn impressive to see, although it's not in high def.

This trailer for Samurai was a "no-budget piece shot in two days with a volunteer cast of five people against a white background. The background plates were created in Unreal with the intent of sharing all of the environment assets (rendered at higher res for the film) between the movie and the game. Okay, so this is just another one of those fantastic proof-of-concept trailers, but it really is awesome and I've got to share it with you guys

I have been hearing a bit of industry buzz recently surrounding a project called Oblivion from Tron Legacy director Joseph Kosinski. Oblivion is a futuristic science fiction love story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where most people live above the clouds, far from the ""inhospitable place" that the surface of Earth has become. An earthbound soldier who repairs drones that patrol and destroy a savage alien race discovers a beautiful woman who crashed in a craft. They take an epic adventure that changes his world view. It is an original idea conceived by Kosinski and described as "a very spare science fiction film, with a small cast but big ideas and big landscapes."

The project was initially announced by Kosinski in late 2009 but has developed in the last year and he has began shopping the project to studios. I can certainly see why there is a bidding war over this, as it looks amazing and sounds like it has a good story, too.

The art was done by Andree Wallin. The graphic novel will be released later this year. The full book will be 128 pages featuring artwork that spans two pages.

When their country is invaded and their families are all taken, eight unlikely high school teenagers band together to fight. The cast includes Rachel Hurd-Wood, Phoebe Tonkin, Caitlin Stasey and Lincoln Lewis.  

Tomorrow: When the War Began is both written and directed by Australian screenwriter Stuart Beattie, who is making his directorial debut with this film after writing scripts for all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Collateral, 30 Days of Night, and G.I. Joe. It's based on popular Australian novel series of the same name by John Marsden. It hits theaters in Australia on September 2nd this year.

Robert Rodriguez's Machete, directed by Ethan Maniquis and starring Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Steven Seagal and Michelle Rodriguez. After being betrayed by the organization who hired him, an ex-Federale named Machete (played by Danny Trejo) launches a brutal rampage of revenge against his former boss. The screenplay was written by Robert Rodriguez and is an expanded version of the "fake" Machete trailer Rodriguez made for the release of Grindhouse in 2007. It hits the theaters in September, 3rd this fall.

Directed by the Dowdle Brothers (of Quarantine), Devil is the first movie in Shyamlan's The Night Chronicles, which is a series of three films where he comes up with the idea and hands it off other filmmakers to complete. The concept in this is that a group of people end up trapped in a elevator learn that the devil is among them. I love the way this starts, and the whole trailer is just Twilight Zone-esque, with some extra intensity and lots more. 

Exam is both written & directed by first-time British director Stuart Hazeldine, a writer who worked on Alex Proyas' Knowing. The concept in this is that eight candidates for a "prestigious job at a mysterious corporation" are brought into a room and given a blank exam paper and told to answer the question to pass the test. Ah but what is the question?

Ryan Reynolds stars as a U.S. contractor working in Iraq awakes to find he is buried alive inside a coffin. With only a lighter and a cell phone it's a race against time to escape this claustrophobic death trap. Buried is directed by Spanish filmmaker Rodrigo Cort├ęs, of the films 15 Days, The Contestant, and Dirt Devil previously. The screenplay was written by first-time writer Chris Sparling. Buried hits theaters in October.

I Spit on Your Grave starring hottie Sarah Butler is an upcoming horror remake of the 1978 popular cult movie of the same name about a writer who's brutalized during a cabin retreat gets revenge on her attackers, who left her for dead. I Spit on Your Grave will arrive in limited theaters, unrated, starting on October 8th in the fall. 

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, the horror remake produced by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth The Hobbit), directed by first-timer Troy Nixey, and starring Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and the young Bailee Madison. This is a remake of the 1973 TV movie Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, about a young girl (Bailee Madison) sent to live with her father (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes) discovers creatures in her new home who want to claim her as one of their own.

Don't let anyone tell you what it is… That's the new tagline the Sundance documentary that became a huge sensation for its riveting storytelling and controversial nature. A reality thriller that's a shocking product of our times, Catfish is a riveting story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue. 
From directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, Catfish documents  Ariel's brother, Nev, a New York-based photographer who becomes pen pals with an eight-year-old girl from Michigan who sends him paintings of his photos. It's a very contemporary feeling film as the filmmakers make copious use of Facebook, Google Earth, Gmail, Google Street View, and YouTube in their film as support of its topic.

David Fincher's The Social Network, the Facebook movie starring Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg. directed by Oscar nominated filmmaker David Fincher, of superb films like Alien 3, Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button previously. The script was written by screenwriter and producer Aaron Sorkin, of A Few Good Men, "The West Wing", and Charlie Wilson's War previously. It's based on Ben Mezrich's novel titled The Accidental Billionaires, about the founding of Facebook: "A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal." Sony is bringing The Social Network to theaters starting on October 1st this fall.

This is one upcoming independent film that I can't wait to finally see! From one of my favorite filmmakers, Sofia Coppola (of The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, and Marie Antoinette fame) comes a new film Somewhere. Somewhere takes place at the famous Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood (seen above) and stars Stephen Dorff as a "bad-boy actor" stumbling through life who lives in excess at the luxury hotel, but an unexpected visit from his 11-year-old daughter, played by Elle Fanning, forces him to reexamine his life.

It just feels like it could be fun, but in the smart Sofia Coppola kind of way, like Lost in Translation. Not much is known yet about the movie (or the actual plot) besides the fact that it contains a whole handful of appearances from special guests and actors like Benicio Del Toro, Michelle Monaghan, Laura Ramsey, Chris Pontius, and even a score by French rock band Phoenix. I've been anxiously waiting to see the film ever since I first heard about it last year. Looking forward to seeing this, so stay tuned for more updates.


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