Opening tomorrow, January 7th is the medieval supernatural action thriller SEASON OF THE WITCH.
” Nicolas Cage (‘National Treasure’, ‘Ghost Rider’) and Ron Perlman (‘Hellboy’, ‘Hellboy II’) star in this tale of a 14th century Crusader who returns to a homeland devastated by the Black Plague. A beleaguered church, deeming sorcery the culprit of the plague, commands the two knights (Nicloas Cage, Ron Perlman) to transport an accused witch to a remote abbey, where monks will perform a ritual in hopes of ending the pestilence.
A priest, a grieving knight, a disgraced itinerant and a headstrong youth who can only dream of becoming a knight join a mission troubled by mythically hostile wilderness and fierce contention over the fate of the girl. When the embattled party arrives at the abbey, a horrific discovery jeopardises the knight’s pledge to ensure the girl fair treatment, and pits them against an inexplicably powerful and destructive force.”
Directed by Dominic Sena (KALIFORNIA) from a screenplay by Bragi F. Schut (THRESHOLD) , SEASON OF THE WITCH also stars Claire Foy, Stephen Campbell Moore, and Robbie Sheehan. Fan favorite Christopher Lee also appears.
From Relativity Media
Make-up/Fx Artist Steve Johnson’s Facebook Page displayed a number of pictures of suits that were developed for Warner Brothers’ Tim Burton directed version of the never-filmed SUPERMAN LIVES.
This would have been a film inspired by the Death of Superman arc in DC Comics, and would have starred Nicolas Cage (GHOST RIDER) as the Man of Steel.
I would speculate that these were to be Cage’s “resurrected” Superman outfits, after being “killed” by Doomsday. (Or was it a giant robot Spider?)
My opinion? Superman fans may have dodged a bullet with the collapsed of this film, based as much as from the casting, script excerpts and rumors as from these pictures. The suits actually look pretty good, but perhaps not acceptable as the iconic Superman.
There are a number of additional pictures at the site linked above.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ciaran Hinds (ROME, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS) is in talks to join the cast of GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGANCE. The role? The Devil himself.
Italian actress and singer Violante Placido (THE AMERICAN) reportedly also in negotiations to play the mother of a young boy, son of Hinds’ character. Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage), hiding out in Europe, wll be enlisted to stop the demonic father from possesing the child.
Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (CRANK, GAMER) plan to shoot the film for Columbia Pictures in Romania and Turkey, with a late November commencement in mind.
Neveldine and Taylor penned the screenplay, based by a story by David S. Goyer (BATMAN BEGINS).
The week of Tuesday, August 3 offers a hidden bat cave full of horror, fantasy, and science fiction films on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD – everything from contemporary costumed crime-fighters to Corman Cult Classics. Up first is Lionsgate’s release of KICK-ASS, starring Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong. Chloë Grace Moretz, Clark Duke, and Nicolas Cage. Available to rent or own via Video on Demand, KICK-ASS is also being offered on DVD and Blu-ray disc. The DVD is offered as stand-alone purchase and as part of the Blu-ray three-disk set, which also includes a digital copy of the film. Check out more details below:
BLU-RAY DISC SPECIAL FEATURES*
Ass-Kicking Bonus View Mode (Blu-ray Disc Exclusive) – Synchronous with the feature film, this innovative multi-media presentation incorporates video and audio commentary, behind-the-scenes clips and illustrative graphics with Co-Writer/Producer/Director Matthew Vaughn, plus cast and crew providing an all-access perspective on Kick-Ass
“A New Kind of Superhero: The Making of Kick-Ass ” documentary (Blu-ray Disc Exclusive)
“It’s On! The Comic Book Origin of Kick-Ass” featurette
Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Matthew Vaughn
“The Art of Kick-Ass” gallery
BD Touch and Metamenu Remote
Lionsgate Live™ enabled, featuring extra content for Internet-connected players
Enhanced for D-Box™ Motion Control Systems
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*
Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Matthew Vaughn
“It’s On! The Comic Book Origin of Kick-Ass” featurette
“The Art of Kick-Ass” gallery
*Subject to change
If that’s not enough superhero action for you, then check out HEROES: SEASON FOUR, available on DVD and Blu-ray disc. The DVD offers numerous four featurettes, deleted and extended scenes, a screen-saver gallery, and audio commentaries on the episodes “Once Upon a Time in Texas,” “Shadow Boxing,” “The Fifth Stage,” and “Brave New World.” The Blu-ray disc replicates these bonus materials along with bios on the characters and and additional feturette (“Behind the Big Top”), plus the usual array of interactive features for which the format is known: BD-LIVE, pocket BLU, Advanced Remote Control, Video Timeline, Mobile-To-Go, U-CONTROL, PICTURE-IN-PICTURE, and more.
THE GHOST WRITER also hits store shelves in DVD and Blu-ray editions. Though not a horror film, Roman Polanski’s excellent adaptation of the Robert Harris novel, is thematically consistent with the director’s classic horror films, ROSEMARY’S BABY and DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES. The story follows a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) helping a former prime minister (Pierce Brosnan) write his memoirs; unfortunately, sinister forces are interested in the contents of the manuscript, whose previous ghost writer drowned under mysterious circumstances. THE GHOST WRITER generates more than enough paranoid tension to qualify as a “scary movie,” even if the scares are of the thriller variety. AFTER.LIFE – which stars Christina Ricci, Liam Neeson, and Justin Long – arrives on Blu-ray and DVD and having had a limited theatrical release earlier this year. Despite an intriguing premise, this morbid little indie horror film with art house aspirations is ultimately disappointing. Bonus features include a theatrical trailer, an interview with director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo, and an eight-minute featurette somewhat pretentiously titled “Dwelling Into the After.Life: The Art of Making a Thriller.”
Roger Corman’s Cult Classics is at it again, offering elaborate DVD and Blu-ray releases of exploitation titles of the type that do not normally receive the lavish treatment. This time out we have PIRANHA on Blu-ray and a Lenticular Cover DVD, HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP on Blu-ray and DVD, and a double bill DVD of DEATH SPORT and BATTLE TRUCK. The later of is only marginal interest, but HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP deserves its place in history for taking the implications of old monster movies (which inevitably had the monster sweeping the leading lady off her feet) and seeing them through to their logical conclusion. Both Blu-ray disc features a new high-def transfer of the uncut international version; deleted scenes; trailers, TV and radio spots; an interview with producer Roger Corman; and a making-of featurette. The DVD duplicates the bonus material, with standard-def video quality. PIRANHA is one of the best films ever to come out of Corman’s New World Pictures, a fun and fast-paced horror thriller about scientifically altered killer fish, starring Bradford Dillman and Heather Menzies. (It is highly doubtful that the upcoming 3-D remake will be an improvement.). The film was previously the subject of a special edition DVD. The Blu-ray ports over the old features (audio commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, bloopers) and adds some new ones: a making-of featurette, still and poster galleries, radio and TV spots, and additional footage that was inserted into the version of the film broadcast on network television. As with HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP, the DVD duplicates the bonus features; both discs offer a new anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85), but of course the Blu-ray features higher video quality.
As for the rest:
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH comes out in a new Blu-ray release that ports over the old DVD bonus features, adding only higher video quality and a new game.
PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, the 1951 film version of the classic story about the immortal sea captain, starring James Mason and Ava Gardner, arrives in a new Blu-ray release.
I AM LEGEND is resurrected in an Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray set.
A handful of other titles: METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN; HOBOKEN HOLLOW (with Dennis Hopper); and OPEN HOUSE.
What did we ever do to producer Jerry Bruckheimer that he should want to pay us back by taking the beloved “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” episode from FANTASIA (1940) and turn it into a soulless summer snooze-fest that virtually defines everything wrong with would-be blockbusters? The new live-action version of THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE has a trailer just barely good enough to make you hope there might be some fun to be had with the concept of a geeky college kid learning magic from a wizard, but almost every good moment has been squeezed into the coming attractions (and in fact some don’t even make it into the actual film). Viewers tricked into attending this magic show will marvel only at seeing their money go up the filmmakers’ sleeves.
After a prologue showing Balthazar (Nicolas Cage) capturing and containing the evil Morgana (Alice Krige), the story has physics student Davd (Jay Baruchel) identified by Balthazar as the “Merlinian,” a word so silly you wonder if the screenwriters are thumbing their nose at the audience. The Merlinian, it seems, is the only one with the power to destroy Morgana, which is really important because Balthazar’s old rival Horvath (Alfred Molina) is eager to release her so that she can resurrect a bunch of dead wizards and basically bring about the apocalypse, just because that’s the kind of thing villains of this type do. Dave thinks the magic thing is pretty cool, but he’s a bit of a slacker when it comes to practice, because he would rather spend time with Becky (Teresa Palmer), an old friend from grade school, with whom he has recently reconnected. Yeah, the world may be ending, but that’s no reason to interrupt your social life! THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE is remarkable consistent in its enervated presentation. There is no attempt to make us truly fear the coming confrontation with evil, nor is there much in the way of self-satire. Instead, the film settles for a vague kind of jokiness that seems distantly related to BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (Dave’s just an ordinary kid, who happens to be fated to face the forces of evil). The “Karate Kid” relationship between Dave and Balthazar never really materializes; the training scenes just sit there like a hat with no rabbit, and the attempt at emotional bonding is tossed off with such indifference that you suspect the filmmakers themselves must believe in magic – i.e., that some miracle would turn all of this dross into gold.
Baruchel gives more or less the same performance he delivered vocally in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, which is at least enough to generate a few laughs – just about the only bright spots in the film. Cage coasts through trying to look cool; he barely even tries to register the script’s shifts from “humor” to “sentiment.” It’s as if he is belatedly trying to save his acting credibility by not wasting his talent on unworthy material, but he hasn’t quite taken the big step toward adopting a camp attitude to express his contempt for the lousy movie he in which he is appearing.
Molina fares slightly better as the villain, but his best moments are in the previews – basically a handful of good lines that never add up to a compelling character. Toby Kebbell is mildly amusing as his young assistant – who fritters his genuine magical abilities away on a career as a flashy professional magician – but the character is wasted. The same can be said for Alice Krige (the Borg Queen from STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT) and for Monica Bellucci (BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, the MATRIX sequels), the latter of whom shows up as Balthazar’s love interest almost as if she were an afterthought in the screenwriters’ minds.
THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE is virtually pockmarked with special effects, but except for a Chinese-type dragon and a metallic flying eagle, none of them are memorable; they simply shoot across the screen at regular intervals to interrupt the narrative tedium with a slightly different sort of tedium. With all the available CGI technology, it’s amazing that no one thought to orchestra a really great scene around it, let alone figure out how to build the effects toward a crescendo.
At times the action seems to have been generated at random to fill up the running time and give the characters something to do. You will lose count of the number of skirmishes between Balthazar and Horvath, with Dave in between, dodging plasma balls and other magical firepower. A sequence based on episode from FANTASIA is dropped in for not much more reason that to justify the use of the title THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE. And in a transparently desperate effort to keep Becky involved in the climax, Dave has her climb an antenna tower to disrupt a magical stream of energy that is being relayed around the world – a scene knocked in a handful of shots that generate no suspense but lots of incredulity.
Rather like the recent THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE, THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE is an exercise in not trying very hard – sort of a cinematic version of FIELD OF DREAMS (“Just shoot it, and the audience will come”). This approach can sell tickets to pre-sold viewers eager to visit their favorite characters on screen, but it’s hard to imagine anyone so besotted that they would fall for this second-rate magical routine. In the end, this sorcerer’s biggest trick will be making the audience disappear.
THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE (2010). Directed by Jon Turtletaub. Screenplay by Matt Lopez and Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard; screen story by Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal & Matt Lopze, suggested by the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” episode of FANTASIA. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Tersa Palmer, Toby Kebbell, Omar Benson Miller, Monica Bellucci, Alice Krige, Jake Cherry, James A. Stephens.
The Hollywood Reporter says that Nicolas Cage is in “early negotiations” to return as Johnny Blaze in GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGENCE. CRANK writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are said to be in talks with Columbia to direct the film, which has a script written by David S. Goyer (BATMAN BEGINS). The duo also wrote JONAH HEX (2010), which bows this Friday.
Cage’s first outing as the supernatural Marvel Comics hero had a mixed critical and fan response, but grossed nearly $230 Million worldwide.
Negotiations are still in the early stages, but the article says that Sony/Columbia hopes to begin production by late fall, in order to keep the film rights and fit Nicolas Cage’s availability.
It’s unknown at this point whether any of the other characters introduced in GHOST RIDER (2007) will be included in the sequel.
Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Michael De Luca and Steven Paul are producing.
David Goyer and GHOST RIDER director Mark Steven Johnson are invovlved as executive producers.
I thought the first film was decent enough, though it had a kind of TV movie feel at times, outside of the big FX set-pieces.
According to New York Magazine’s Vulture blog comic book movie sequel, GHOST RIDER 2, is definitely on its way. After the first film made $270m worldwide way back in 2007 a sequel is finally coming together, with or without its star, Nicolas Cage (KICK-ASS, THE WICKER MAN).
Work on GHOST RIDER 2 has been fast-tracked since copyrights holder Columbia now has until November to start the thing or the rights go back to Marvel (who are know owned by Disney). Scott Gimple and Seth Hoffman (FLASH FORWARD) have apparently just finished a new draft of the script which is being watched over by David S. Goyer, and the studio have a shortlist of directors (which doesn’t include original director Mark Steven Johnson) for the film.
There’s doubt over whether Cage will return as the titular GHOST RIDER since he’s currently busy with promotional duties on THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE and might be involved with NATIONAL TREASURE 3. Since Cage was probably the biggest selling point for the first film it’ll be interesting to see how Columbia deal with this one.What do you think, does the prospect of a GHOST RIDER sequel excite you? Will you miss Cage in the central role?
The folks over at Sci-Fi Wire have an exclusive new trailer for Jon Turteltaub’s (NATIONAL TREASURE, COOL RUNNINGS) fantasy blockbuster, THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE, which you can see for yourselves below:
THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE is is a live action re-imagining of the Mickey Mouse Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment in Disney’s FANTASIA, which in turn is based on the late 1890s symphonic poem by Paul Dukas and 1797 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ballad (thanks Wikipedia). This version of the story is being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and stars Nicolas Cage as the sorcerer and Jay Baruchel as his apprentice.
I’ve come to expect great special effects from a Bruckheimer film but the ones shown in this new trailer are particularly impressive. Not only are they technically lavish but Turteltaub also seems to be doing some really inventive things with the effects. We also get a good look at the central antagonist, Maxim Horvath, who is being played by Alfred Molina seemingly in full on SPIDER MAN 2 baddie mode. If there’s anything about this trailer that leaves me with any doubts about the film it’s Jay Baruchel who just seems to be plain annoying every time he opens his mouth.
THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE is due for release on the 16th of July. EDITOR’S NOTE: We had trouble getting Sci-Fi Wire’s video to show up on the website’s front page, so the video up top is the International trailer, which is essential the same. Below you can find the embed for the version from Sci-Fi Wire.
Walt Disney Studios releases this live-action fantasy film, allegedly a remake of its animated namesake, the Mickey Mouse sequence from 1940’s FANTASIA (an adaptation of Paul Dukas’s orchestral work, itself based on Goethre’s poem “Der Zauberlehrling”). It’s all about a sorcerer (Nicolas Cage) who is facing off against an evil nemesis (Alfred Molina), so he finds an apprentice (Jay Baruchel) to aid in the conflict. Monica Belluci, Robert Captron, Toby Kebbell, and Alice Krige fill out the cast for director Jon Turtletaub, working from a screenplay by Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard and Matt Lopez, derived from a screen story by Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal.
Release date: Originally announced for Friday, July 16, THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE opened on Thursday, July 15, beginning with screenings after midnight on Wednesday evening..
KICK-ASS is inventive, cool and funnier than a Bugs Bunny Saturday morning cartoon.
Over the last decade it has become an industry standard for studios to release at least one superhero film as a tent-pole for their summer schedule. More recently, having been kick-started by SIN CITY, a new trend has surfaced: releasing smaller budgeted, more violent comic book adaptations around the Easter holidays. Films such as 300 and WATCHMEN aren’t particularly suitable for summertime, in which cinemas are dominated by mass-appeal blockbusters; these films stand more of a chance in an earlier slot in the year.
New entry in this strategic release model is KICK-ASS, based upon Mark Miller’s extremely violent comic book of the same name and directed by Matthew Vaughn (LAYER CAKE, STARDUST). The story concerns Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training, or meaningful reason to do so. KICK-ASS does exactly what it says on the tin and, although it’s let down by a few tonal missteps, is best summed up as a wildly entertaining synthesis of SPIDER-MAN and KILL BILL.
Make no mistake, KICK-ASS is tremendously violent, and it doesn’t give a damn if you’re offended by it. Bullets fly, legs are severed and, in one of the film’s most splatter-hungry moments, a man is blown up in an industrial microwave. To make matters worse (read: better) a lot of the time the pain is being dealt out by a twelve year-old girl, uttering profanity-ridden punch lines such as, “OK you c*nts, let’s see what you can do now”. The film then, is clearly not one to take grandma to see on the Sunday matinee.
The ensuing fight scenes are some of the best I’ve seen in years: inventive, cool and funnier than a Bugs Bunny Saturday morning cartoon. The two stand-out sequences would have to be the first involving ‘Hit-Girl’ (the previously mentioned twelve-year-old, played by Chloe Moretz) – which is hilariously abrupt and highly visceral – and the slick and satisfying one-take attack by ‘Big Daddy’ (Hit-Girl’s father and partner in crime, played by Nicolas Cage) upon a warehouse full of gangsters.
KICK-ASS is more than a collection of Tarantino-worthy action set-pieces, however; most of the story focuses on Dave’s adolescent trials and tribulations. They aren’t, as you might expect, riddled with Peter Parkeresque clichés and outdated morality struggles; the story attempts to take a more modern and humorous look at today’s teenagers. Dave isn’t a loner or a complete loser but isn’t exactly one of the popular kids either, marking a refreshing twist in genre conventions.
The insertion of pop-culture references such as YouTube and MySpace, as well as a sub-plot which sees Dave pretend to be gay in order to get close to the girl of his dreams, make the film much more culturally relevant. KICK-ASS also works very well as an amusing parody of superhero films, beginning with a false-start involving an Armenian teenager testing out his Icarus-inspired costume and plunging head-first into a taxi rather than soaring into the skies.
In fact, Vaughn has so much to pack into KICK-ASS that it could have easily become an overly long mess of ideas. The director pulls it off, fortunately, by employing a swift and energetic pace that keeps almost the entire narrative intact in less than two hours – a worthy achievement in and of itself. The soundtrack is similarly energetic and fun, comprising of a selection of modern licensed tracks, which give the film an extra sheen of cool. The film is also impressive from a technical standpoint, taking most of its stylistic cues from the medium it’s adapting.
Caption cards reading “Meanwhile” and “Six months later”, a bright and bold colour pallet, as well as a gorgeously animated flashback, all aid in creating the look of a comic book come to life. The acting is first class, and you can tell everyone involved had a blast making the thing. Aaron Johnson does a good job of making Dave’s somewhat senseless actions seem empathetic, and Chloe Moretz seems an actress wise beyond her years; she makes you truly believe a twelve-year-old girl could kick that much ass. Nicolas Cage is also in rare comedic top form here, with a perfect deadpan delivery and brilliant parody of Adam West’s Batman.
For the most part, KICK-ASS is a very faithful adaptation of the comic book, and for that alone it should be praised. Most of the films pitfalls, however, occur when it chooses to stray too far from the source material. Notable changes to the relationship between Dave and his love interest, Big Daddy’s history, and the ending of the story only make the film cheesier and more fantastical than it needed be. For a film seemingly so intent on creating a semi-realistic world in which real people try to be superheroes, additions such as a jet-pack with mini-guns attached simply seem unnecessary (even if they are fun in their own way).
Additionally, the conclusion of the Dave’s romantic aspirations clashed with the overall tone of the film, and there is also a slight awkwardness to some moments in which tragedy and comedy are blended. Nevertheless, KICK-ASS is the most invigorating and exciting comic book adaptation to come along for a long time and is certainly not to be missed.
KICK-ASS (2010). Director: Matthew Vaughn. Writer: Jane Goldman (screenplay) and Mark Miller (original comic). Cast: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz and Nicolas Cage.