All Aboard the Elle Fanning Hype Train

Elle Fanning isn’t exactly a new kid on the block.  In fact, her first film was a full 15 years ago, when she was the two-year-old version of Lucy Diamond Dawson in I am Sam.  Since then, Fanning has often portrayed younger versions of her older sister Dakota, but her filmography extends well beyond playing second-fiddle.  Her breakout role was likely her turn as Alice Dainard in J.J. Abram’s Super 8, which I enjoyed just fine.  But, it is her most recent work that augurs greatness.  Maleficent was a strong performance, and she also managed to be the second best actor in Trumbo, behind the Oscar-nominated Bryan Cranston.  Then there was The Neon Demon.  After gushing about this film, I decided to look more closely at the career of Fanning, and I was surprised to find her starring in seven films between now and the end of 2017!

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Second-Hand Sundance: Streaming Services Spend Big and Other Stories

The Sundance Film Festival is the largest independent film festival in the United States, and every year near the end of January, thousands descend upon Utah to watch the latest offerings of independent filmmakers from all over the world. Indie darlings like Little Miss Sunshine often debut at the festival, and there is always at least one hot ticket that leaves everyone scrambling. Many of the filmmakers are seeking distribution, so beneath the surface of the program itself there is a lot of wheeling-and-dealing. This year was no exception, but the denizens of the Sundance bargaining tables looked a little different this time around. Indie studios like A24 and Fox Searchlight were still there, but the big players were Amazon Studios and Netflix, with each of the streaming services purchasing rights to five films! Continue reading “Second-Hand Sundance: Streaming Services Spend Big and Other Stories”

Ben Affleck to Direct, Co-Write, and Star in Standalone Batman Film

The rumor mill has been churning of late with regards to the standalone Batman film. The expected timeline for new Batman appearances in the DC Cinematics Universe (DCCU) are actually fairly complex, though. Of course, the first look we get at the rebooted Batman with Ben Affleck will come next March 26th with the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Then, in August of 2016, Batman will appear in some fashion in Suicide Squad, but this role is expected to be ancillary. Once we get into 2017 and beyond, we have three announced films: The Justice League Parts One and Two, and an untitled Batman standalone film. Rumors are that the film will simply be titled, “The Batman”, but that has yet to be confirmed. What has been confirmed, though, is that Ben Affleck will not only be in front of the camera for the reboot, but also behind it and in the writers’ room with DC’s Geoff Johns.
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Duncan Jones to Squeeze in Blade Runner Homage, “Mute”

In an Empire exclusive interview at Comic-Con preview night, Duncan Jones revealed that his oft-delayed Indie sci-fi film Mute may finally have its shot. Jones has previously created two of the best science fiction films of the new millennium in 2009’s Moon and 2011’s Source Code. Both of those films were pleasant surprises. Source Code looked very foolish from the trailers, but other time-travelling movies could learn a great deal from how Jones navigates the difficulties with that particular subgenre (I’m looking at you, Terminator: Genisys). And, of course, Moon is a refreshing, feature-length bottle episode starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey’s voice. It would be a fantastic piece of work from any director – it was Jones’ first film.
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Star Trek Less “Trek-y”, Guardians of the Galaxy More “Emotional”

Over the last week or so, details regarding a pair of space adventure sequels have started rolling in, and while there isn’t much to interpret as of yet, I do think it is interesting to consider the choices being made by these two franchises. I am speaking, of course, of the Star Trek franchise, and the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, both of which are set to release films in the next two years (the former in July 2016, the latter in May 2017). It is interesting to consider these franchises side-by-side, as both are basically space operas but differ wildly in terms of tone and execution. And, despite being the more nascent franchise, I am of the opinion that it is the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise which actually has a brighter future – especially with regards to the next entry.
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First US Trailer for “Legend” Focuses on Tom Hardy’s Portrayal of Kray Twins

If you’ll recall, a couple of weeks ago The Martian was moved up over two months for an October 2nd release. There, it will compete with the Robert Zemekis film The Walk and Brian Helgeland’s Legend, starring Tom Hardy (twice). And, while we’ve had a couple of different looks at The Walk (which I always want to call “The Wire” at first – I wonder if that will ever stop), we only got our first full look at Legend late last week with the first official US trailer, and it looks like October 2nd is shaping up to be a spectacular weekend for film fans. Have a viddy:
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