The Adjustment Bureau has the makings of a first-rate SF movie. It looks great, has the pacing of a thriller and a refreshing focus on story and characters over effects with good performances all around (starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie and Terence Stamp). On one hand it’s a love story about two people who find each other, and keep finding each other, against the odds and in the face of a mysterious and powerful force that seeks to keep them apart. On the other it’s a thought-provoking rumination about the nature of free will and self-determination versus conditioning and pre-determination.
In a recent interview with Digital Spy, Neil Gaiman revealed that American Gods is to be adapted for the big screen. Published in 2001, American Gods is Gaiman’s second novel and is said to be one of the most highly honoured works of modern fiction having won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, Locus and Bram Stoker. The rights to this masterpiece of modern fantasy were only sold in the last week after years of discussion, so it's early days and there are few details as yet, but Gaiman has indicated that “There is one cinematographer and director on board who has many, many Oscars and is I think a genius, and I love the fact that he fell in love with this about six or seven years ago and has not given up and just kept coming back and kept coming back.”
Paramount Pictures has abandoned its attempt to create a new movie version of Frank Herbert's science fiction classic Dune. We told you recently that the project had been searching to find another director (a third director no less) after Pierre Morel had opted for an executive producer role, but now it appears it's all over - for Paramount at least. Reportedly the new Dune adaptation would have cost Paramount more than $100 million to get off the ground, and nervousness ruled the day. Deadline reports that the rights to Herbert's novel are about to revert back to their owner after four years.
A new behind the scenes featurette for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has been released by Warner Bros. and the signs are that director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves have indeed produced the suitably dark, dramatic and exciting conclusion to the series many of us were hoping for. The featurette includes new footage (with a first look at the Gringott’s dragon), interviews with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Yates himself, who promises an epic finale with plenty of action.
I’ve not had the chance to watch Battle: Los Angeles yet, but if you were hoping for a well-written science fiction masterpiece, it appears you may be out of luck. A series of early reviews of the film have been resoundingly bad, making it sound almost as unwatchable as last year’s Skyline (although I can’t imagine it could actually reach that level).
Who would have thought that a movie like Dungeons & Dragons (2000) could still hold a surprise after all this time? As a former player of D&D, I handed over my gold pieces to see the movie back in the day and was, well, overwhelmingly underwhelmed. That would have been the first and last time I watched the movie if not for the review copy of the Blu-ray double feature of Dungeons & Dragons and its sequel (oh yes, it had a sequel) Wrath of the Dragon God (2005) which crossed my desk recently. And I’m glad it did, because I learned something surprising about the movie: the name of the studio behind its production.
The iconic science fiction film Blade Runner, based on a book by Philip K. Dick and directed by Ridley Scott, will be followed up with sequels and prequels soon. Variety reports that Alcon Entertainment is in final discussions to secure film, TV and franchise rights to produce prequels and sequels based on Scott's 1982 science fiction masterpiece. Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, the film producers from Alcon negotiating for the rights, told Variety they're in the early stages of sorting out how to proceed and were not sure if Ridley Scott would be involved.
My enthusiasm for Marvel’s Thor took a bit of a battering after the first full length trailer was leaked online (following its premiere at Comic-Con) back in August last year. Like most, I was surprised by the choice of noted Shakespearean actor and director Kenneth Branagh to helm this project, but I’ve always believed that he has what it takes to bring this epic tale of gods and men and ancient conflicts to the big screen. My only concern was that Branagh might be tempted to camp it up a bit too much (given the comic book approach to the material, some degree of camp is probably unavoidable). The first trailer with its glitzy vision of Asgard, city of the gods, did nothing to diminish that concern, but I’m pleased to say that this second trailer has gone a long way to restoring my faith in Branagh as the ideal (if controversial) choice to helm this project.
Pittacus Lore’s novel I Am Number Four was published in 2010, the first in a planned series of six books that will chronicle the adventures of an extraordinary young man with the very ordinary name of John Smith. Even before the ink had a chance to dry, the novel was snapped up by a film industry eager to find the next big franchise now that the Harry Potter saga is drawing to a close. With only one of the six novels published and that one yet to make a significant impression on the reading public, DreamWorks Pictures might seem to be taking a risk with this property, but the studio clearly believes the series ticks all the boxes on the checklist of Next Big Movie Franchise.
Things are not looking good for the two Independence Day sequels we reported on in March last year. At the same time that director Roland Emmerich gave Empire Magazine more positive news about the upcoming Isaac Asimov Foundation films, he revealed that "Independence Day 2 is nowhere".