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Film News Roundup: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Griffin Conlogue ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Writer

What turned out to be quite a slow news week still had some interesting tidbits.  Avatar sequels and Ellen’s return to the Oscars not included, here are the biggest (and not always best) pieces of film news from last week, 7/29-8/4.  Let’s cover The Good, The Bad (mixed responses), and The Ugly (the train-wrecks).

The Good

Thank you so much, China.  With little box office success state-side, Pacific Rim had to rely on its success overseas.  Now that it has become Warner Bros.’ largest opening ever in China, a sequel is now likely. Even though the film will probably break even rather than turn a profit for Warner Bros., positive reviews from critics and strong interest in keeping a positive relationship with del Toro could definitely drive the studio to green-light a sequel. It would be wise to lower the budget and find a co-financer the second time around, however.

Some incredible casting news surfaced for Christopher Nolan’s next film, Interstellar.  Joining Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, and Casey Affleck are David Oyelowo and Wes Bentley.  Oyelowo is most famous for strong performances in Jack Reacher and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  Bentley’s addition is probably the bigger news as he was thought to be an up-and-coming superstar after his role in American Beauty.  After struggling with substance abuse issues, his career potential seemed like it would never be realized.  Last year’s The Hunger Games, however, has revitalized attention for the actor and probably helped land him the role.  Interstellar hits theaters November 7, 2014.

The Bad

Chris Evans is preparing to make his directorial debut before filming starts on The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The film is a romantic drama titled 1:30 Train.  The main reason this news is in “The Bad” category is that the screenplay is considered by most professionals to be mediocre at best.  Ron Bass was a hot commodity in Hollywood after his screenplay for Rain Man got critical raves in 1988.  He hasn’t really had a success as large since.  Chris Evans is nonetheless a talented actor who could breathe some life into the script.  It’ll be interesting to see if this will be the start of a strong directing career in the vein of Ben Affleck and Ben Stiller or if he’ll have trouble connecting with audiences in the way James Franco’s directorial debut did.

The wheels are officially in motion on a fifth Bourne film.  Unfortunately, it is set to focus on Aaron Cross, Jeremy Renner’s character from the fourth installment.  This is negative news as it stands to believe that Matt Damon will not have a starring role in the sequel.  He has stated that he will only return to the role if Paul Greengrass is involved, and the studio seems to be intent on moving forward with Tony Gilroy as the director.

The Ugly

In last week’s films nobody asked for: the live-action Akira film has the original film’s director Jaume Collet-Serra returning to direct.  The kicker?  The film will be PG-13 and the studio plans to shave 30 million dollars from the original 90 million dollar budget.  Even worse, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart were the original leads cast in the remake.  It is unknown whether or not they will still be in the film, but no matter what it isn’t shaping up to be a great project.

I’m sure you are all excited for the new Adam Sandler film! Right? Right???  Frank Coraci is set to direct after previously working with Sandler on The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, and Click.  Drew Barrymore is also attached to star.  The Familymoon will follow the two leads after a terrible blind date.  The two end up stuck at a resort with their families.  Sounds like a run-of-the-mill Sandler film.  It also sounds eerily similar to Just Go With It with a sprinkle of The Brady Bunch.  Expect it to make a lot of money and collect a few Razzies.

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