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No image quite defines and illustrates the American film industry as that of Hollywood. The only thing more interesting than the movies that the iconic city churns out is the history of the city itself.

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Apr 21

'Capt. America' tops box office for third week

Scarlett Johansson in a scene from film, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (courtesy AP)

Captain America continues to vanquish box office foes, triumphing in ticket sales for the third consecutive week and beating formidable contender Johnny Depp.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" added another $26 million to its coffers, according to studio estimates Sunday, while Depp's sci-fi thriller, "Transcendence," opened in fourth place with $11 million.

Directed by longtime Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister, the Warner Bros. film is Depp's second consecutive box office disappointment. He played Tonto in last summer's "The Lone Ranger" -- one of the biggest flops of 2013.

Another newcomer, the religious film "Heaven Is for Real," debuted in third place over Easter weekend, while another sequel, "Rio 2," held on to the second spot.

"The Winter Soldier" set a box-office record as the biggest April release ever when it opened with more than $96 million domestically. Starring Chris Evans as comic book hero Capt. America and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, the Disney release has earned more than $200 million to date in North America -- the 12th Marvel film to do so.

Continue Reading at: Fox / AP

Apr 20

‘I did feel a bit like Max Headroom:’ Johnny Depp on playing a machine in Transcendence

Johnny Depp attends a promotional event for his new movie 'Transcendence' in China (image courtesy AP)

by Bob Thompson

A playful Johnny Depp just wanted to have fun at a recent media conference for his movie Transcendence - though the futuristic cautionary tale doesn't have a lot of laughs in it.

The sci-fi thriller focuses on Depp's scientist Will Caster, who is transformed from near death to potential digital immortality as artificial intelligence when his mind is uploaded into a computer.

As the digital Caster gains online control of the world, his goal becomes global domination at the expense of humankind.

Most of the performance in the film required the Oscar-nominated actor to emote on a computer screen.

"I did feel a little bit like Max Headroom," suggested a smiling Depp, referring to the satirical 1980s digital TV host. "I guess the worst part was I liked it."

He also said he hoped for some increased brainpower by association: "Having no intelligence, I'm looking forward to gaining some whether it's artificial, superficial or super duper."

Continue Reading at: National Post

Apr 18

Mara Wilson Doesn't Think Mrs. Doubtfire Sequel Is "Necessary"; Will Matthew Lawrence Return?

A more recent photo of child actress Mara Wilson (image courtesy ariscott.com)

by Zach Johnson

Mara Wilson doesn't want to revisit the past.

After news broke that a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel is in the works at Fox 2000, the ex-actress told her Twitter followers and Facebook fans that she wouldn't be up for reprising her role as Nattie Hillard. And in the former child star's defense, it has been 21 years since the family comedy was in theaters.

"For the record, no, I do not have anything to do with the Mrs. Doubtfire sequel, nor will I. Sequels generally suck unless they were planned as part of a trilogy or series," the Matilda star, 26, tweeted Thursday. "I think Doubtfire ended where it needed to end. I'm glad I had the chance to be in it, and I'm proud of what we did, but I don't see how we could do it again. There are many, many reasons I don't want to be in Mrs. Doubtfire 2. But they haven't even asked me (yet), so no need to worry."

Wilson also shared her opinion via Facebook Thursday. "I loved having the chance to be a part of Mrs. Doubtfire twenty years ago, they haven't asked me to be a part of the sequel, I don't think I'd suit the part even if they did, I don't act in films anymore anyway, and I liked where the last one ended so don't really think a sequel is necessary," she wrote. "I only say these things at all because fans were asking."

CPO Editorial: We here at CPO headquarters have mixed feelings about the possibility of Mrs. Doubtfire 2. But we kind of agree with Mara Wilson; Is it really necessary? The first movie is the perfect standalone. Compare Christmas Vacation.

Continue Reading at: E! Online

Apr 17

Mrs Doubtfire sequel on the way

Actor Robin Williams playing his alter-ego Mrs. Doubtfire
(image courtesy Rex Features)


By James Lachno

A sequel to comedy classic Mrs Doubtfire is the works, with Robin Williams set to reprise his role as the hip granny.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, a follow-up to the 1993 film is being developed by Fox 2000, with original director Chris Columbus also returning for the second instalment.

A sequel has been mooted since the early 2000s, with Bonnie Hunt (Williams's Jumanji co-star) due to write the script. However, it is reported that Williams and Columbus were not happy with the film's direction, and earlier this year David Berenbaum (best known for penning Elf) took over scriptwriting duties.

Continue Reading at: The Telegraph

Apr 16

X-Men: Days of Future Past: watch the final trailer

By Katie Rosseinsky

The third and final trailer for the forthcoming X-Men film, Days of Future Past, has been released.

Costing an estimated $225 million to produce, Days of Future Past is reported to be the second-most expensive film ever produced by 20th Century Fox, beaten only by Avatar.

The latest chapter in the Marvel comics franchise is directed by Bryan Singer, and sees characters from the original film trilogy joining forces with their younger selves. In Days of Future Past, the X-Men ensemble battles for the survival of the species across two time periods, fighting to change a major historical event in order to save the future.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender will reprise their roles as Charles Xavier and Magneto from X-Men: First Class, and will be joined by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, who play the characters in the present day. Hugh Jackman once again takes the role of Wolverine, who is the only X-Man capable of travelling through time. Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry and Anna Paquin will also be returning to the franchise, while Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage will join as villainous scientist Bolivar Trask.

See the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: The Telegraph

Apr 15

David Fincher leaves Steve Jobs biopic after dispute over $10m payday

Director David Fincher exits Steve Jobs project (image courtesy Rex Features)

David Fincher has left a high-profile biopic of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs after Sony Pictures turned down Fincher's alleged "aggressive" demands for $10m (£5.9m) in up-front wages and control of the marketing of the movie, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Fincher was named as a frontrunner to direct the as-yet untitled drama, which has been adapted by Aaron Sorkin from an official Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. Sorkin and Fincher had worked together on the Oscar-winning 2010 biopic The Social Network, about the founding of Facebook.

A source with ties to the studio told the Hollywood Reporter, Fincher was not entirely out of the running, but labelled his wage demands "ridiculous". The source said: "You're not doing Transformers here. You're not doing Captain America. This is quality – it's not screaming commerciality. He should be rewarded in success, but not up front."

The Social Network took a decent $225m (£138m) worldwide in 2010 and won Sorkin an Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Fincher's followup, an English-language adaptation of Stieg Larsson's bestselling crime novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was expected to have even greater commercial appeal, but ultimately scraped in $235m (£140.7m). A sequel has not yet been confirmed.

It is unusual for details of a director's wage demands to emerge, though reports of actors' pay cheques are occasionally revealed. In other news about the film, Fincher had wanted Christian Bale to play Jobs. Sorkin, who remains on board as screenwriter, said he envisaged an unusual structure for the biopic: three single-take scenes, each one following a major Apple product launch.

Continue Reading at: The Guardian

Apr 14

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Shields Off The Competition To Top Box Office

Chris Evans in a scene from Captain America: The Winter Soldier (image courtesy Disney)

by Jack de Aguilar

Captain America: The Winter Soldier fought off some pretty serious opposition to maintain its position at the top of the box office, while three newcomers usurped the majority of last week's top 5.

With Chris Evans reprising his role as the all-American hero, the critics have been kind to the latest instalment of Marvel's imperious quest to move their properties onto the big screen. 'Cap' managed a hefty weekend gross of $41.3m, bringing its total domestic gross up to $159m and its worldwide total to a hugely impressive $476.7m.

Fox's Rio 2 was the second best performer, making $39m on the nose on the first weekend of its release. It's a solid start for the animated sequel, despite the critics not finding much to love in the colourful birds that enjoy starring roles. With a strong kick off like that, though, the $103m budget will be chipped away in the next couple weeks.

Oculus represents a huge dip in third, grabbing just $12m. This low budget thriller, though, only cost $5m to make, and with a fairly strong critical reception – the film sits at 71% on Rotten Tomatoes – we expect word of mouth to contribute to a stronger second and third weekend follow up, making Oculus another dirt cheap horror franchise with the legs to make big money.

And the last of the new releases entering the top 5 was Draft Day, which managed to accumulate $9.75m. This flick sees Kevin Costner star as the general manager a an NFL team in need of success. The critics didn't love it – and we perpetuated the comparisons to Moneyball, which – by all accounts – is better. Disappointing start for the underdog sports movie.

Continue Reading at: Contactmusic.com

Apr 13

James Cameron Gives "Avatar" Sequels Update, Comments on Arnold Schwarzenegger Rumor

Director James Cameron participated in a "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit on Saturday and provided an update to his upcoming three "Avatar" sequels. He also commented on LatinoReview's nonsense story of Arnold Schwarzenegger being cast in the films and why he chose to make more "Avatar" movies instead of "Battle Angel."

"The second, third and fourth films all go into production simultaneously," he said. "They're essentially all in pre-production now, because we are designing creatures, settings, and characters that span all three films. And we should be finished with all three scripts within the next, I would say, six weeks."

Regarding Schwarzenegger, Cameron replied: "As of right now, [Arnold] and I have not discussed it, and I don't see a role as the scripts are coming together that would be appropriate for him, so I would say probably not."

Regarding "Battle Angel," he said: "My intention when I made 'Avatar' was to do 'Battle Angel' next. However, the positive feedback for 'Avatar' and the support of the message of 'Avatar,' encouraged me to do more of those films."

Continue Reading at: Worstpreviews.com

Apr 12

Third 'Divergent' film to be split in two

Still of Shailene Woodley (looking at camera), Miles Teller and Zoë Kravitz in Divergent (image courtesy Summit)

Welcome to the new normal for movie franchises.

As was done with prior popular series, the final installment of the "Divergent" movies will be split into two, Lionsgate announced on Friday.

Adapted from the best-selling young adult novels by Veronica Roth, the "Divergent" series only contains three titles: "Divergent," "Insurgent" and "Allegiant."

The first adaptation, "Divergent," had mixed reviews but nonetheless conquered the box office, earning $139 million worldwide in less than four weeks. The follow-up "Insurgent" is already slated to arrive on March 20, 2015.

With the sequels arriving fast and furious, Lionsgate is stretching the conclusion of "Divergent" out a bit: "Allegiant - Part 1" will arrive on March 16, 2016, and "Allegiant - Part 2" will bow on March 24, 2017.

Of course, studio Lionsgate has taken the same route with its "Hunger Games" franchise, which itself is based on the trilogy of the same name written by Suzanne Collins. With that series, the adaptation of the final book "Mockingjay" has been split into two halves.

The co-chairmen for the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group (which includes Summit Entertainment) said in a statement announcing "Allegiant's" division that Roth's final "Divergent" installment has more than enough story to spread out across two films.

Continue Reading at: CNN

Apr 12

When "based on a true story" doesn’t tell the whole story

Georgie Henley, left, and Abigail Breslin star in Perfect Sisters (image courtesy Gravitas Ventures)

By Peter Howell

Perfect Sisters would be just another forgettable "based on a true story" crime movie, heading to DVD and download after a brief theatrical stop, except it hits close to home for people in the Greater Toronto Area.

It's about the infamous Bathtub Girls, the teenage Mississauga sisters who in 2003 callously killed their alcoholic mother by plying her with booze and Tylenol 3s before drowning her in the family bathtub.

They got away with murder, and a desired $133,000 insurance payout, for one crazy year before their penchant for bragging to school chums, and police diligence, led to their 2004 arrest and subsequent trial and conviction. The pair, age 16 and 15 at the time of the killing, can never be named due to restrictions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The case created shocking headlines for weeks and led to a book by former Toronto Star reporter Bob Mitchell, who covered the trial. Titled The Class Project: How to Kill a Mother, it forms the basis of Perfect Sisters, an American indie film getting a very small North American release on Friday, including a single tiny screening room at the Carlton for its unheralded Toronto run.

That's about all it deserves, since it would be dignifying this film to call it hackwork. Shot in Winnipeg on a shoestring, it’s the ham-fisted feature directing debut of Stanley M. Brooks, a producer of pulp TV series like Hollywood Scandals and Sordid Lies. The screenplay credited to Fab Filippo and Adam Till, who also have small roles in the film, is so laden with clichés it’s as if the pair set out to write a parody of bad crime sagas.

As for the actors, all of them punching a clock and wishing they had better luck or new agents, they include Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino as the star-crossed single mom and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia) as the matricidal siblings, who for the purposes of the movie are given the names Sandra and Beth.

What's really unsetting about Perfect Sisters isn't so much the murder itself, which as depicted on the screen seems far less gruesome than courtroom testimony and trial reports suggested.

No, it’s the fact that the filmmakers felt they had to make the girls sympathetic figures for ready acceptance by a popcorn audience. They weren't cold-blooded killers, this story goes, but rather victims of a cruel and unfeeling family and society who acted out of desperation when no one would help them. Feeling trapped by their depressed and doped-up mom and her abusive boyfriend, they sought to solve the problem by removing the maternal source of it.

"Ever since I can remember, it was always my sister and me against the big, bad world," says Breslin's Sandra, 16, who repeats that statement at the end of the film, in case we didn’t get it the first time.

Continue Reading at: Toronto Star

Apr 9

Chewbacca returning for 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

Peter Mayhew will return to play Chewbacca in "Star Wars: Episode VII," according to HollywoodReporter.com.

Sources confirmed Mayhew's return, though speculation began when the British actor canceled an appearance at the Comicpalooza convention in Texas "due to filming."

Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn recently confirmed that filming has started and that most of the cast had been chosen.

Well, I guess that ends all speculation over Harrison Ford coming back. Because you can't have Chewbacca without Han Solo. And you can't have Han Solo with Harrison Ford.

Disney and Lucasfilm have remained quiet over who exactly will appear in the much-anticipated film, which is being directed by J.J. Abrams and is set 30 years after "Return of the Jedi." It's been widely speculated that Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will reprise their roles as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. The only character the studio has confirmed is returning is R2-D2.

Continue Reading at: Times Herald

Apr 8

Hollywood Studios Sue Megaupload, Alleging Copyright Violations

By Brent Lang

The six major U.S. movie studios hit Megaupload with a massive copyright violation lawsuit Monday, charging the file hosting service with encouraging and profiting from illegal copies of movies and television shows.

The suit claims that the defendants profited from illegal content that was hosted on their site because it allowed them to sell subscriptions and advertising to a broader base of consumers looking for cheaper, digital access to programming.

"As a direct result of the popularity of the infringing copyrighted content that defendants solicited and propagated, defendants' business was extraordinarily successful and profitable," the suit reads. "Megaupload was at one point in its history estimated to be the 13th most frequently visited website on the entire Internet."

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia by Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros. It names the site's founder, Kim Dotcom, as a defendant, along with Chief Technical Officer Mathias Ortmann and programmer Bram van der Kolk.

The studios ask for unspecified damages associated with content they claim was uploaded and distributed illegally. It's a list of films and programs that includes "Bad Teacher," "Avatar" and “Tangled."

In January 2012, Megaupload and its founders were targeted by the U.S. Justice Department and charged with operating a criminal enterprise that distributed pirated material. The site was taken down by the FBI that same year and millions of dollars worth of assets were seized.

Continue Reading at: The Wrap

Apr 7

Los Angeles Police: Legendary Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney dies at age 93

Mickey Rooney, shown here in this 1987 photo, died on Sunday at the age of 93 (image courtesy AP)

By Anthony McCartney

Mickey Rooney's approach to life was simple: "Let's put on a show!" He spent nine decades doing it, on the big-screen, on television, on stage and in his extravagant personal life.

A superstar in his youth, Rooney was Hollywood's top box-office draw in the late 1930s to early 1940s. He epitomized the "show" part of show business, even if the business end sometimes failed him amid money troubles and a seesaw of career tailspins and revivals.

Pint-sized, precocious, impish, irrepressible - perhaps hardy is the most-suitable adjective for Rooney, a perennial comeback artist whose early blockbuster success as the vexing but wholesome Andy Hardy and as Judy Garland's musical comrade in arms was bookended 70 years later with roles in "Night at the Museum" and "The Muppets."

Rooney died Sunday surrounded by family at his North Hollywood home, police said. The Los Angeles County Coroner's office said Rooney died a natural death.

There were no further immediate details on the cause of death, but Rooney did attend Vanity Fair's Oscar party last month, where he posed for photos with other veteran stars and seemed fine. He was also shooting a movie at the time of his death, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde," with Margaret O'Brien.

Continue Reading at: Montreal Gazette / AP

Apr 7

The Goonies sequel confirmed by director Richard Donner

Friends reunited … Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, Corey Feldman and Kerri Green in The Goonies – a follow-up film is in the works (courtesy Guardian / Warner Bros.)

by Ben Child

The director of The Goonies, Richard Donner, has said a sequel to the cult 80s children's adventure is in the works.

Donner told gossip site TMZ that he hoped to bring back all the stars of the original film for the follow-up. That would mean a return for actors such as Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Sean Astin and Jeff Cohen, whose lives have taken diverse paths since the 1985 movie. Feldman, who has for years been the biggest cheerleader for "Goonies 2" is a reality TV star and singer in a ska band (as well as occasional actor), Brolin and Astin retain Hollywood careers and Cohen (Chunk) is an entertainment lawyer.

Donner, also the director of Superman and the Lethal Weapon films, was signing autographs in an undisclosed location when he was asked to comment on the proliferation of superhero movies in 2014 Hollywood. Asked if he would make another comic-book film, he said: "If you call The Goonies a comic book – we're doing a sequel." Prompted to reveal which stars of the original would return he replied: "Hopefully all of them."

The original Goonies centred on a group of Oregon pre-teens facing the loss of their homes due to the imminent building of a country club who find themselves on a hunt for pirate treasure. It was produced by Steven Spielberg and is often cited as one of the top children's movies of the 1980s. Rumours of a sequel have abounded for much of the past decade but no film has ever entered production.

Continue Reading at: The Guardian

Apr 6

Chiwetel Ejiofor lined up for next Bond film

Chiwetel Ejiofor in a scene from the recent Oscar winner '12 Years a Slave' (image courtesy Fox Searchlight

Chiwetel Ejiofor is reportedly favourite to play the baddie in the next James Bond film.

According to The Wrap, the actor, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in 12 Years A Slave, is frontrunner to play the villain in the franchise's next film, due to start filming in November.

So far, there are few details about Bond 24 other than the fact Daniel Craig is returning to play 007, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishsaw are reprising their roles as M, Moneypenny and Q respectively, and that Sam Mendes will direct. Mendes directed 'Skyfall', which grossed more than $1 billion around the world, making it the most-successful Bond film in history.

It's believed there has been no official offer made to Ejiofor yet, but producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson are thought to be keen on him for the part. The filmmakers will also soon begin casting two key female roles, including a new Bond girl and a Scandinavian with a troubled past who will serve as a brief love interest for Bond.

Continue Reading at: NME

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