Trailer for College Sexual Assault Documentary “The Hunting Ground”

Over the last twelve months an increasingly wider and brighter spotlight has been shone on the issue of sexual assault in colleges across America. While the information so far has been scattered, with pockets of information and data divided up between articles, sites and blogs, an upcoming project looks to bring together the shocking facts for people to better understand. The Hunting Ground is a documentary that will focus on what has been described as “an endemic system of institutional cover-ups, rationalizations, victim-blaming, and denial that creates perfect storm conditions for predators to prey with impunity”. Here is the trailer, courtesy of Radius-TWC:

While the subject of the documentary is undeniably horrific, what seems to come through in the trailer at least is a message of progress and courage in spite of the circumstances. The film is directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering, the film-making team that produced Oscar-nominated doc The Invisible War back in 2012 which focussed on sexual assault in the US military. Like The Invisible WarThe Hunting Ground will be screened at Sundance this year, before opening in theatres on March 20th

Maslaney, Mara and Jones Testing for “Star Wars” Stand-Alone

The Force Awakens? Please, nobody’s talking about that anymore! Episode VII is old news: or at least it is now because we’ve got news about the project that comes afterwards. THR has reported that three actresses are testing for roles in the stand-alone Star Wars movie that will be directed by Gareth Edwards. In case you’re wondering why I’m saying stand-alone and not spin-off, it’s because spin-off makes me think of Joey, and that just makes me sad.

So who do we have testing for the spin-o- dammit! Stand-alone, I meant stand-alone. First on the call-sheet is Rooney Mara, who you may recognise as starring in David Fincher‘s adaptation-adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. You may not recognise her because in real life she doesn’t look quite as scary as she does in the film. She also starred as Mark Zuckerberg’s girlfriend in Fincher’s The Social Network  and will contribute to the next Laika stop-motion project Kubo and the Two Strings.

Rooney Mara: go ahead, ask if you can see her dragon tattoo...I dare you.
Rooney Mara: go ahead, ask if you can see her dragon tattoo…I dare you.

Next we have Tatiana Maslany. While she doesn’t have as many big screen hits to her name as Mara, Maslany has made her mark with the BBC series Orphan Black – so we know she has some sci-fi chops. She’ll also be appearing in this year’s Woman In Gold with Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, but since that film deals with art stolen by Nazi soldiers there isn’t as much of a connection there. Oh, wait – Storm-troopers! Nailed it.

The final name is Felicity Jones, which will definitely be a familiar name considering that she just nabbed an Oscar Nomination for her work on The Theory of Everything. However, chances are she won’t have time to work on the project since she is already set to star in Inferno, Ron Howard’s adaptation of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons sequel.

Felicity Jones with co-star Eddie Redmayne in "The Theory of Everything"
Felicity Jones with co-star Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”.

That’s about as solid as the information gets. Apart from a release date of December 16th, 2016, we have nothing to really go on with this project. There are rumours that it will focus on one of the original stars, but so far that seems to be nothing more than wishful thinking.

Who would you like to see get a role?

DC Vertigo Project “Fables” Moving Forward With New Writer Jane Goldman

Because of the sheer scale and bombasity of the upcoming DC superhero universe, you would be forgiven for not paying much attention to the other projects that Warner Bros. and DC are working on at the moment. A number of these will be based on the DC Vertigo imprint, which has a number of intriguing titles on the horizon, including Neil Gaiman’s Sandman directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Now, we have news on another project that had been dormant for a while but is set to get a lot more momentum in the foreseeable future. According to Empire, That project is Fables, which has now got a new screenwriter in comic adaptation veteran Jane Goldman.

Fables is a graphic novel created by Bill Willingham that has a dark, noir-esque take on classic fairy tales. In a nutshell, a whole bunch of fairy tale characters were forced out of their homeland by a mysterious enemy, only to find themselves in New York City in a borough known as Fabletown (I’m not sure if it was called that before they got there). Before you ask, yes, this does bear a striking resemblance to the ABC series Once Upon A Time, which has a number of fairy tale folks living in a suburb with seemingly no memory of who they once were. But considering the source material, this project will be a far cry from the TV show thanks to it’s grittier style and adult themes.

Come to Fabletown: The Parties are Magical!
Come to Fabletown: The Parties are Magical!

The script for the project had originally been written by Nikolaj Arcel, who is also directing. But apparently they wanted to make some changes with someone who has some comic book adaptations under their belt. Enter, Jane Goldman.

Goldman has repeatedly been in cahoots with Director Matthew Vaughan turning comic book pages into script pages, including projects like Kick-AssX-Men: First Class, and Kingsman: The Secret Service, which will be hitting cinemas in the UK on January 29th. Beyond her work with Vaughan, she’s also worked on Stardust, another Neil Gaiman creation, as well as Susan Hill‘s The Woman In Black. Not bad, right? Now she’s turning her hand to Fables with Arcel collaborating on the new script.

Colin Firth and Taron Egerton in "Kingsman: The Secret Service"
Colin Firth and Taron Egerton in “Kingsman: The Secret Service”

Here’s what producer David Heyman had to say about Goldman joining the project:

“Jane is working on a draft of Fables as we speak, Nik Arcel [who’s still attached to direct] did a draft, and now he’s supervising Jane, who’s doing a draft. Hopefully it’ll come in and we’ll be able to move to the next stage. All these things always take longer than you want. And Fables is not easy, by any means, but I think it’ll be pretty great.”

So hopefully we’ll be hearing more about his project in the coming year.

What DC Vertigo title would you like to see adapted next?

Will Batman make an Appearance in “Suicide Squad”?

It’s an intriguing prospect that a Batman universe project like Suicide Squad would exist without Batman actually taking part. Whether or not people would agree with that depends entirely on how they fell about the recent TV show Gotham. In any case, that may not be an option for Suicide Squad, as Screen Rant reports rumours that Batman will have something of a significant role in the film that basically puts a bunch of his villains together.

According to Forbes, Batman will be making an appearance in the film near the end to take care of the Joker, who will potentially be escaping from Arkham. This follows on from a previous rumour that the Joker will not be an active member of the Squad (this was never really the case in the comics) but will serve as an insane consultant for the group. The idea is that this will act as a jumping-off point for a Batman standalone movie, which will supposedly be inspired by the Joker-portion of the Frank Millar graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. This would make sense, since Batman V Superman is already drawing heavily on the graphic novel for its plot.

Batman and Joker hugging it out in Frank Millar's "The Dark Knight Returns"
Batman and Joker hugging it out in Frank Millar’s “The Dark Knight Returns”

Just to clarify, a rumour that makes sense because it’s based on other rumours doesn’t make any of it more likely. But it’s a nice idea.

here’s what Forbes’ Mark Hughes said on the subject of Batman potentially poking his cowl through the door:

“This would set up the Joker as a possible/likely antagonist in the solo Batman movie that’s planned in the next few years, and which I’ve heard will take some inspiration from Frank Miller’s comic book series ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ – the third issue of which is a story about Batman facing off against an escaped Joker. I’m also told that Gotham City Police Commissioner Ellen Yindel (who replaces James Gordon during the comic book story) is planned for inclusion in the film.”

To be frank, the timing of this rumour makes a considerable amount of sense since the news that Tom Hardy would no longer be playing Squad leader Rick Flagg and would be replaced by Jake Gyllenhaal suggested there were issues with the project.

Other than that, the cast of the film remains unchanged:  Will Smith as Deadshot, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as The Joker and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller.

Ben Affleck as he will appear in "Batman V Superman". Hopefully he'll perk up if he gets this "Suicide Squad" gig.
Ben Affleck as he will appear in “Batman V Superman”. Hopefully he’ll perk up if he gets this “Suicide Squad” gig.

The benefit, I suppose, of including Batman in the Suicide Squad project, other than the fact that it would make complete sense, would be that DC and Warner Bros. could ease themselves a little more into the continuity universe structure. If it does happen, hopefully it pays off.

Want to see Batman take on the Suicide Squad?

Trailer For Australian Film “The Turning”: An Anthology of Interest

Hey, you like films right? You like films that are a bit different right? Sure you do. How about a film that’s a collection of short stories, how does that sound? I should probably stop asking questions since I don’t have a clue what your answers are.

There are certain sorts of films that don’t get much of a release because they’re too long or not commercial enough and spend the majority of their screening life on the festival circuit. This can often be a shame, since the public doesn’t get a chance to see some pretty damn intriguing projects. This is the case for The Turning, and Australian film that has been doing the round the last few months but hasn’t gotten much press until now. The lack of attention is a little surprising considering the stars that are attached, including Cat Blanchett and Hugo Weaving. The Turning adapts a short story collection of the same name by novelist Tim Winton. The film also brings together a number of different directors to helm each story. Here’s a trailer, fresh from Slashfilm and Soda Pictures:

The Turning also stars Rose Byrne, Miranda Otto, and Richard Roxburgh. Directors involved in the project include Mia Wasikowska, Anthony Lucas, 300: Rise of an Empire’s David Wenham and Justin Kurzel. Main Street Films will be releasing the film this February, and it will also show in UK and Ireland but with the 180 minute run-time cut down to a slim 107.

Will you be watching The Turning?

“Batman V Superman” Choreographer Puts Your Mind at Ease: “There Will Be Punches”

With rumours of a trailer for Zack Snyder‘s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice leapfrogging with every new release of a Warner Bros. film, fans are being left with a lot of time to twiddle their thumbs and speculate, speculate, speculate. With this project, a key concern with fans of the lore and newbies alike is how the fight scenes will go down between a spandex wearing, laser-toting sun God and a mortal pushed to the limits of physical and mental strength.

If you look back at graphic novels like Batman: Hush and The Dark Knight Returns, there are a lot of hints at tricks Batman will be using to get one up on Supes. But we’re getting reports that Batman won’t be relying on his brains for this fight. Batman V Superman choreographer Guillermo Grispo has gone on record promising a far more physical Batman than we’ve seen in previous films, as well as some serious fight scenes. Here is what Grispo had to say to Los Andes Diario during an interview:

“Warner Bros., they are very strict, so I can’t say much, but it’s no surprise if I say Batman and Superman come face-to-face in the movie. It’s one of the most important sequences and I was actively involved in the design of the fight: the exchange of punches and the physical movement were put together with my partner Ryan Watson.

“There’s a thought that Batman has no chance, that the other [Superman] will squash him like a bug. But when you see the movie, and how it all comes out, there’s a very intelligent explanation as to why they would have a firsthand confrontation though it seems to be totally to Batman’s disadvantage.”

And here’s Grispo’s description of the fighting:

“Now Batman is going to fight the way I’ve always dreamed seeing him fight… he’s a character so prepared in martial arts that you can do a lot of things with him, but filmmakers usually don’t go all the way with it. Even in the last Nolan movies the action scenes aren’t very good from a technical, martial arts point of view to things like choreography, filming, bad camera movements…

“But hey, don’t get me wrong, Nolan is great, my hat’s off to him. He makes fascinating stories, but I think that he did not pay too much attention to the fights. Those are the kind of details that Zack, being so physical himself, loves preparing. I think there’s going to be a big difference when you see these Batman fights in comparison to the previous ones.”

Well it certainly seems like Grispo and Snyder have some big old plans for Batman in the new film – hopefully they don’t forget too much about Superman though. If you want a visual CV for Grispo, you can check out his work on Kingsman: The Secret Service and Man Of Steel. But he’s clearly wanted to get his hands on Batman for a long time.

With all the secrecy and non-trailers circling this project, it’s nice to have someone officially talking up the project and giving us an idea of what we can expect to see next year. Batman V Superman will be in theatres on March 25th 2016.

So who are you backing in the fight to end all fights?

Slamdance Micro-Short Film Competition Gets a List of Finalists

There’s been a lot of excitement brewing since it was announced that Slamdance Film Festival would hold a Digital Bolex-sponsored micro-short competition. Now we finally have a list of the films that will be competing…and for a micro-short competition it’s surprisingly long.

The competition is titled Fearless Filmmaking: Art on Your Own Terms, which promises an incredibly diverse and daring collection of films and film-makers. This will include Americans Lisa Demaine, Ben McCrea and Lindsay Haun, for Passport, Aquarium and Coming To respectively.

So here’s the full list for your perusal along with descriptions of each film, courtesy of The Wrap. Do yourself a favour and commit some of these to memory:

Lemmy Caution seduces himself in this shot-for-shot feminist remix of Jean-Luc Godard‘s lo-fi science fiction masterpiece starring Caitlin FitzGerald.

COURTESAN – Misti Boland and Jeremy Osbern (USA)*
Two strangers meet on Christmas night… for sex and the exchange of money.

REDUX20 – Paul Rachman (USA)*
An experimental doc that steps into the spiraling frenetic journey of actor and artist Jason Cairns with whom the director worked 20 years ago on the film Drive Baby Drive.

A father wrestles with the decision to allow his young son to enter the world without him.

THE CHARACTER STUDY – Luke Pelizzari (Canada)
When an actor takes his character off the set and into his everyday life, he learns a valuable lesson about pretending to be something you’re (definitely) not.

JKTV – Elle Schneider (USA)
A documentary exploring the work of webcam artist Joey Kim.

ISOBEL – Marie Jamora (USA/Philippines)*
Isobel lives in the Philippines and has been acting and painting since she was four — now at the age of twelve, through conversation and archival footage, we see a portrait of her growing up.

THE DAMMED – Fernando Frias (Mexico)*
Ulises Zarazua has an American Passport but lives in Mexico city; I have a Mexican passport and live in New York. He made a song. I made a video.

COMING TO – Lindsey Haun (USA)
A man wakes up in a Koreatown hallway, naked except for a cock ring and frilly scarf.

FINGER GUNS – Bryan Chojnowski (USA)
Eve moves back to her hometown and it totally sucks, so Jack is going to make her smile — even if it kills them.

LOVE & I – Heather Kasprzak (USA)
A true story about a young woman who sets out to find the father she hasn’t seen in 30 years.

SALT WOUND – Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (USA)*
A collage of four artists creating and purging with some dirt, dolls, a blanket and a goldfish.

A couple drive to the beach to say their final goodbye – one does not return.

AN UNEXPECTED FAREWELL – Fredrik Ekholm (Sweden)
A desperate man comes across a golden frame, which takes him on an unexpected journey.

PASSPORT – Lisa Demaine (USA)
Off on a bender, a Hollywood legend escapes an unhappy film set only to discover there’s no escaping your own myth.

Fearless Filmmaking: Art on Your Own Terms will take place on Monday, Jan. 26.

Wenders! Condon! Sabu! The Heat is on with the Berlin Competition Final Lineup

This week, the number of films included in the competition portion of the Berlin international Film Festival has risen from 16 to 23. The 7 new features include work from Wim Wenders, Sabu and Radu Jude. All but two of these films will be setting their sights on gold or silver bears: Wenders’ Everything Will Be Fine  starring James Franco and Bill Condon’s Mr Holmes starring Ian McKellen will not be competing. Don’t feel too bad for Wenders though;  he’ll be receiving an Honorary Golden Bear for his lifetime achievement in film-making.

The final list includes 21 worl premieres including documentary El Botón De Nácar (The Pearl Buttonfrom Patricio Guzmán, director of the acclaimed documentaries Salvador Allende and The Battle of Chile. So here’s the new list, including the films already named in the competition, fresh from Deadline:

Romania/Bulgaria/Czech Republic
by Radu Jude
World premiere

El Botón De Nácar (The Pearl Button) – documentary
By Patricio Guzmán
World premiere

El Club (The Club)
By Pablo Larraín
World premiere

Elser (13 Minutes)
By Oliver Hirschbiegel
World premiere – Out of competition

Every Thing Will Be Fine
By Wim Wenders
World premiere – Out of competition

Ten No Chasuke (Chasuke’s Journey)
By Sabu (Kanikosen, Dead Run)
World premiere

Vergine giurata (Sworn Virgin)
By Laura Bispuri – Feature debut
World premiere

Previously announced
45 Years
by Andrew Haigh

Als Wir Träumten (As We Were Dreaming)
by Andreas Dresen

by Malgorzata Szumowska

Cha Và Con Và (Big Father, Small Father And Other Stories)
by Phan Dang Di

by Kenneth Branagh
U.S. – Out of competition

Eisenstein In Guanajuato
by Peter Greenaway

Ixcanul (Ixcanul Volcano)
by Jayro Bustamante
Guatemala/France – Feature debut

Journal D’Une Femme De Chambre (Diary Of A Chambermaid)
by Benoit Jacquot

Knight Of Cups
by Terrence Malick

Mr. Holmes
by Bill Condon
United Kingdom – Out of competition

Nobody Wants The Night
by Isabel Coixet – Opening film
Spain/France /Bulgaria

Pod Electricheskimi Oblakami (Under Electric Clouds)
by Alexey German
Russian Federation/Ukraine/Poland

Queen Of The Desert
by Werner Herzog

by Jafar Panahi

by Sebastian Schipper

Yi Bu Zhi Yao (Gone With The Bullets)
by Jiang Wen
People’s Republic of China/U.S./Hong Kong, China

Which director do you want to see take home a bear?

Propaganda Posters for “Selma” Get Back to the Roots

There have a whole mess of issues surrounding both the release and Oscar nominations of Ava DuVernay’s Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma. Accusations have been fired at the film for misrepresentations and at the Academy for lacking in diversity, but at the heart of all of this is a film that should be watched by audiences. So it’s great to see that some energy has been put into promotion of the feature.

Movielicious has reported on four new propaganda-style posters for Selma, including stylised depictions of David Oyelowo and Tom Wilkinson. These posters get to the meat of what the film is supposed to be about and they hark back to famous footage of King. Check them out, courtesy of Movielicious:

selma1 selma2 selma3 selma4

Selma stars  David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Common, Tim Roth and Carmen Ejogo. The films is currently in theatres.


Ben Aston’s Latest Short “He Took His Skin Off For Me”: It’s A-Peeling…Get it?

There’s nothing wrong with starting off your week with something a little unorthodox – and if that something happens to be stunning as well, then so much the better. This week, why not have a look at rising short film maker Ben Aston’s latest creation, He Took His Skin Off For Me?

Don’t feel out of the loop for not knowing Aston’s body of work – it’s a small body. The director released his first short film in Dinner and a Movie in 2013, getting an official selection at Palm Springs, the London Short Film Festival and the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Last year, Aston produced two new short films, including his latest. The other, Russian Roulette, won the Jury Prize at the Sundance London Competition and will be premièring at Sundance this year. He Took His Skin Off For Me manages to be beautifully gruesome and pleasingly understated, so have a look, courtesy of Deadline:

He Took His Skin Off For Me is based on the short story by Maria Hummer and had its debut at Fantastic Fest and Toronto After Dark Film Festival last year. Aston has clearly already found his unique voice and has started producing short films of a high quality very early in his career – it goes without saying that he’ll be one to watch over the next few years.

Did this creepy short make your Monday?