It has been a long road for the film adaptation of the critically acclaimed comic series Y: The Last Man, but it finally looks like things are starting to progress. Dan Trachtenberg has been announced as the director of New Line Cinema’s feature film version of the award winning series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra.
A commercial director, Trachtenberg was the co-host of The Totally Rad Show alongside Jeff Cannata and the Nerdist Channel’s Alex Albrecht. He also gained viral fame for his fan-made trailer for Portal: No Escape, which has more than 11.6 million hits on YouTube. You can check that out after the break.
For anyone who hasn’t experienced this fantastic comic, Y: The Last Man takes place in a not too distant future where a mysterious plague has killed every male mammal on Earth except for a snarky amateur magician, Yorick, and his pet monkey, Ampersand. The series won five Eisner awards and has been become beloved among the comic and literature communities alike.
In addition to Trachtenberg behind the camera, the movie adaptation has a script by Matthew Federman & Stephen Scaia. We can only hope everyone involved can do this epic story justice on the big screen.
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Matthew Vaughn is a frustratingly great director. He is great in regards to his four feature films all being excellent, and he is frustrating because the man seems to take great pleasure in agreeing to do awesome projects and slipping away from them so close to production.
For those of you who don’t remember, Vaughn was the original choice to direct X-Men: The Last Stand after Bryan Singer jumped ship to his Superman snore-fest. Everything seemed great in the X-Universe until, at the last-minute, Vaughn dropped out and Fox was forced to call in Brett Ratner who has a history of bringing in projects on time and on budget. Now X3 had an extremely mixed reaction (I actually loved it, ask me to defend it to a hater some time for raucous debate) but one thing is certain, the film suffered from Vaughn’s departure.
Fast forward a handful of years and Vaughn finally made his X-Film and it ended up being the best of the franchise and single-handedly saved the struggling mutants from an impending cinematic reboot fate. Now we stand at the precipice of another X-Film production with Vaughn at the helm and, wouldn’t you know it, the man bows out.
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George Romero’s second chapter in his Living Dead series, Dawn of the Dead (1978), picks up after the events of Night of the Living Dead (1968). Dawn of the Dead is a fantastic, gory and at times satirical look at America and especially at American consumerism. Despite it gruesome effects, many consider Dawn to be of the greatest horror films ever made and it still continues to hold records for its popularity in pop culture and rankings among film critics.
Set not too far after the events of Night of the Living Dead, Dawn opens where the United States (and possibly the entire world) has succumb to a phenomenon which has caused the bodies of the recently dead to return to life and to pray on the flesh of the living.
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In celebration of October and all things associated with Halloween, horror, and the macabre, this week’s pick is the John Landis comedy/horror classic An American Werewolf in London (1981). The film stars David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, and Jenny Agutter.
After making a name for himself in Hollywood with such comedy classics as The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), Animal House (1978), and The Blues Brothers (1980), director John Landis’ next project would further solidify him as one of Hollywood’s newest breed of film makers. An American Werewolf in London is a tongue-in-cheek film that has always been considered a comedy, but Landis says that it’s a horror film with comedic elements.
Landis had come up with the concept of the film while he was a production assistant in Yugoslavia working on the classic war film Kelly’s Heroes in 1970. While driving through the Yugoslavian countryside, Landis and his driver/interpreter came to a crossroad where they witnessed a gypsy funeral. Landis and his driver watched as these gypsies performed rituals over the dead man’s corpse in an attempt to make sure that he didn’t come back to life and caused mischief.
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2011 smashed one long-held cinematic rule, that on almost every occasion prequels suck. There were two very high-profile, very low expectation prequels that summer, and both ended up being franchise salvaging hits.
Sequels to those prequels have already been green lit and given release dates by Fox. The creative team behind X-Men: First Class were able to jump right into pre-production with almost all of the behind the scenes crew intact. The ride has been a little more bumpy for the next Apes film, with Rise director Rupert Wyatt jumping ship.
The rumors have been circulating for a while that Wyatt was on the way out, but it was only very recently made official. However, according to deadline, just as quickly as one director leaves another jumps in his place. That director happens to be Cloverfield helmer, Matt Reeves.
Reeves is a fine choice to step into the Apes universe, as he is one of the few directors who has shown an ability to make a story his own while maintaining the previously established story. If Reeves manages to tap into the tone of Rise of the Planet of the Apes while bringing something new to the table we stand a great chance at getting another great flick.
This week’s Monday Pick is the 1984 multi genre classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Director/screenwriter W.D. Richter (Dracula (1979), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Big Trouble in Little China) created one of the weirdest and most beloved cult classics of the 1980s.
Peter Weller (Robocop) stars as the multi talented neurosurgeon, physicist, rock musician and comic book hero Buckaroo Banzai who battles aliens know as Red Lectroids from the Planet 10 who plot to take over the Earth. Buckaroo Banzai’s character was influenced by the 1930s pulp novels of Doc Savage, much like Lucas and Spielberg’s Indiana Jones that was influenced after the literary adventure character of Allan Quatermain.
Buckaroo Banzai has always been a favorite of mine since I first saw it in theaters in the summer of 1984. It’s a very interesting/hard film to describe to anyone who has never scene it. The premise is beyond absurd but that’s what makes the film so lovable. Banzai and his team of do-gooders known as The Hong Kong Cavaliers (a version of Doc Savage’s Fabulous Five) battle the evil Red Lectroids under the command of Lord John Whorfin (yes an alien leader named John) played to psychotic perfection by John Lithgow, who is actually an Italian physicist known as Dr. Emilio Lizardo. Yeah, it’s a little confusing but when you watch the film it all comes together.
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There are few actors as ‘hot’ as Ryan Gosling right now, the man has the work load of Ryan Reynolds with the industry cred Micheal Fassbender. Now he is looking to capitalize on that sizzle by making his directorial debut with How to Catch a Monster.
The film is neither a gritty noir about catching a serial killer, or a light-hearted sequel to How to Train Your Dragon, it is actually a dark fairy tale. Variety has the story, along with a former Gosling co-star who has been tapped for the lead:
Ryan Gosling will make his directorial debut with the dark fairy tale he wrote “How to Catch a Monster,” with Christina Hendricks set to star… [The] Story is set against the surreal dreamscape of a vanishing city and centered on a single mother of two being swept into a macabre and dark fantasy underworld while her teenage son discovers a secret road leading to an underwater town.
Wow, not at all what you might expect from the normally very serious actor. Conceptually it sounds a bit hectic, but if Gosling is half as good of a writer as he is an actor than there is a fair shot he can pull it off. A film like this will hinge on tone, so we will know very quick what kind of directing chops Gosling has. Also any film that casts the lovely Christina Hendricks as the lead already gets a +1.
This project is one we will be keeping a close watch on as it develops, so keep tuned to The Flickcast for any new updates.
In the least surprising news of the day, Joss Whedon has just been confirmed as the writer and director of The Avengers 2. It was always said that Whedon had the open door to come back if he so chooses, and now we know he did indeed choose to do so.
The Avengers 2 will be the culmination of Marvel’s ‘phase 2′ which is the series of Marvel Studios films that are coming after the grand epic that was The Avengers. Each ‘phase’ sort of works like major comic book events, with lead ups in various solo titles/films and eventually one grand event book/movie.
The news of Whedon signing on to the second Avengers movie was not a shock, but today’s news isn’t entirely without a surprise. Whedon is also signed on to develop a Marvel themed TV show for ABC. That is right. a Whedon created Marvel themed TV show coming to prime-time broadcast television!
Obviously this comes with no further information as of yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do some rampant speculation. This new series is likely to exist in the Marvel cinematic universe if they are bringing in Whedon to create it, which begs the question of who the series will be about. Chances are slim the show will be about The Avengers but what about another Marvel super team that has been rumored from time to time for their own film, The Thunderbolts.
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This week’s Monday Pick comes to us from the wonderful world of the king of Independent cinema, Mr. Roger Corman, who produced the low-budget version of Jaws, and that movie was the Joe Dante classic Piranha (1978). Cashing in on the “animals run amok” craze of the late 1970s, Dante and screenwriters John Sayles and Richard Robinson crafted a truly unique horror film that quickly gained a huge cult following.
The film centers around a young woman named Maggie McKeown (Heather Menzies) who is hired to find two missing teenagers who were hiking in the vicinity of Lost River Lake. Maggie enlists the help of a backwoods drunk named Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman) to be her guide and to help her find the two missing teens. Paul and Maggie’s search brings them to an abandoned military installation with a giant pool filled with salt water. Maggie and Paul enter the facility and find a series of mutant specimens and preserved experiments. Maggie finds the master control in order to drain the pool and see whether or not the teens possibly drowned. Maggie pulls the lever and is suddenly attacked by the facility’s caretaker who is knocked unconscious, as he was trying to stop the pool from draining.
Maggie and Grogan take the man back to Grogan’s cabin where he has sustained further injuries after he crashed Maggie’s jeep in an attempt to flee. The man is tied down to a bed and is frantic when he awakens and learns that the pool had been drained. Grogan decides to take the injured man down river in a homemade raft. As the three trek down river, the man introduces himself as Dr. Robert Hoak (played by Dante alumni Kevin McCarthy) a military scientist who explains that the pool was filled with genetically engineered piranhas for a project codenamed Operation: Razorteeth, a plan which was to introduce the deadly strain of fish that could survive in the coldwater river systems of North Vietnam.
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Martin Campbell’s particular skill set seems to be geared towards remaking something. He is best known for his two James Bond reboots, Goldeneye & Casino Royal, both of which routinely rank among the best Bond adventures.
When he tries to make an original movie, or at least one with out cinematic forebears to stand on, he makes Green Lantern. So consider it a positive turn of events when Deadline reports that Campbell is getting back in the reboot game:
Martin Campbell [will] revive the cult 1978 adventure/sci-fi series Blake’s 7. Writer Joe Pokaski will pen the re-imagining of the original series created by Terry Nation, a prolific UK TV writer who also created the Daleks for the classic BBC series Doctor Who. Campbell is attached to direct the Blake’s 7 reboot, which is being shopped to U.S. networks.
If Campbell’s revival can connect with modern thematic elements and topical stories like the Battlestar Galactica relaunch did, this has all the makings of a great new show. There is a reason why those classic old series still resonate today, and if given the proper respect we could see something special.
Or we could see dreck, the man did do Green Lantern after all, and he still has some time left on his director jail sentence for that one.
Stay tuned to The Flickcast for any future updates on this potential project as it makes the rounds at US networks.
We are just a little over a week removed from learning that Edgar Wright has not one, but two new movies in the works. One seems to be a traditional Edgar Wright-Simon Pegg project, The World’s End, and the other is the potentially huge Marvel ‘phase 2′ movie, Ant-Man.
Well Mr. Wright must have been downright bored in the last few, relatively, slow years for his work. Deadline is reporting that Wright is set to direct a secret new project for J.J. Abrams:
Paramount Pictures is mobilizing a sci-fi film called Collider, and it is a collision of several of the top guys in the genre. Edgar Wright will direct the film, and he is co-writing the script with I Am Legend‘s Mark Protosevich. Wright is producing with his longtime Big Talk Productions partner Nira Park and JJ Abramsthrough his Bad Robot banner.
No word on when he plans to shoot this new sci-fi project, but the most logical assumption would be after Ant-Man. Of all these potential movies, the Marvel adventure is the only one that is likely on a strict timeline, even though it was the one and only announced film with out a release date.
Looks like Edgar Wright will be a busy guy in the next few years, we are all winners for that. Stay peeled to The Flickcast for any updates on this impressive slate of upcoming films.
Steven Spielberg is gearing up for his next major tent pole blockbuster. Summer 2014 is going to begin with a bearded bang with Robopocalypse, and it looks like Spielberg might have found his lead.
Deadline is reporting that secret meetings have been held and Spielberg has decided who he wants to star in his new film:
Chris Hemsworth will be working with Steven Spielberg. I’ve learned that, amid much secrecy (including assumed names), Spielberg met and now wants Hemsworth in his next helming effort Robopocalypse, the big technothriller which is sure to become the director’s next big global popcorn film
Hemsworth is about as big as they come these days, and as Marvel’s phase 2 chugs along his star power will only rise. Signing on to join Spielberg is exactly the kind of career move that can move a guy past flash in the pan and into full fledged stardom.
This is all rumor and speculation at this point, as no contract is currently signed. However, if Steven Spielberg taps you on the shoulder and says, ‘Hey kid, wanna star in my next movie‘ you only have one logical response.
No word yet on if Hemsworth’s character wields a mighty hammer, axe or any other bludgeoning melee weapon. For that info you must stay tuned to The Flickcast.
Kenneth Branagh has one of those careers that every struggling actor waiting tables in Los Angeles dreams of having. He is an extraordinary actor who has mastered The Bard and eventually turned himself into a well-respected director.
He is in his ‘tent pole’ era as a director right now, coming off of Thor his next project is a reboot of Jack Ryan for Paramount. Variety is reporting that Branagh might have finally found himself a villain for the project:
Paramount didn’t have to look far for the villain in its untitled Jack Ryan reboot, as the studio is in negotiations with Kenneth Branagh — who’s also directing the film — to star opposite Chris Pine in the action thriller that aims to reinvigorate the blockbuster franchise.
Directing a major blockbuster-to-be and being able to insert yourself as the main bad guy of the piece? Like said, the career every aspiring actor dreams of having.
As a wonderful, British, actor Branagh is a uniquely qualified for the bad guy role. In my estimation this reboot is shaping up rather nicely.
Expect the next Jack Ryan adventure to hit theaters some time next year, and stay tuned to The Flickcast for any other news about Branagh deciding to write the score of the film himself too.
This one actually kinda stings, even if the writing has been on the wall for a little while now. The idea of a Sam Raimi directed epic fantasy opus set in the Warcraft world was something of a cosmic no brainer that should have been.
CraveOnline was able to grab a quick quote from Sam Raimi at his Oz comic-con press conference:
“Actually, they don’t have me directing World of Warcraft anymore because when I took the Oz job, they had to move on to another director,” Raimi said. “They had to start making it.”
Damn. If anyone is familiar with the roots of Warcraft, the RTS titles Warcraft 1 and 2, then you recall that Bizzard wore its affection of Army of Darkness on its sleeve. The tone of the games matched up rather perfectly, and if you clicked certain characters long enough you would occasionally be treated to quotes from the film.
So it seemed a natural to bring Raimi in to attack the big budget fantasy blockbuster, as his style shares roots with the source material itself. It was also an exciting proposition to see Raimi play around in such a vast fantasy playground.
Alas it seems as if the closest we will get to the latter is the upcoming Oz film and the former will never come to pass. Stay tuned to The Flickcast for any future developments on this project, particularly who has the balls to direct the damn thing.
John Lasseter once said that no sequel would ever be made at PIXAR with out the original director’s involvement or explicit permission. It is that mandate that has caused the biggest no brainer at PIXAR, Incredibles 2, to not happen… yet.
I say yet because it almost seems as if PIXAR is now dead set on returning to all of its former glorys. Deadline is reporting that Finding Nemo Director Andrew Stanton might be returning to the ocean for another Nemo based adventure:
[Deadline has] been hearing for months that he would come aboard to direct the sequel to Disney-based Pixar‘s Finding Nemo, with the idea that Disney would give him another shot behind the camera on a live-action film.
Finding Nemo is my favorite of the PIXAR catalog and often ranks among my top five favorite films of all time. So I like to think I can speak with some authority on the film, and a sequel is kind of baffling to me.
I have immense trust in Andrew Stanton, and I don’t hate the concept of a return to the sea, it is just hard for me to see the scenario for a return. Nemo ends in kind of a perfect place, and given the character growth in the film, another adventure to find Nemo would seem rather cheap.
It is said that Stanton has a concept that Disney loves, so perhaps he cracked that code. Or maybe he is just returning to the Nemo ‘universe’ and has a whole different type of story to tell. We can only wait and see.