Karl Urban set to Play in the Woods With ‘Pete’s Dragon’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Karl Urban is a hot commodity in Hollywood these days. He’s got the upcoming Star Trek 3 film where he plays ship physician Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Warner Bros is rumored to want him to play a role in either Aquaman or Suicide Squad. And now he’s joining the cast of the remake to the 1977 Disney classic Pete’s Dragon according to The Wrap. 

Urban is taking over for a departing Michael C. Hall. Hall had to leave the film due to scheduling conflicts. No word yet as to what character the actor will be playing.

The film will be a departure from the original in that it will not be a musical. It will also not have an animated dragon; the titular charcter will be rendered using CGI. The remake aims to keep the core story, which revolves around a young boy whose parents die and is subsequently raised by the dragon in the woods.

Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard and Wes Bentley are already signed on to star alongside newcomer Oakes Fegley, who plays the young boy.

Pete’s Dragon will be directed by David Lowery from a script that he co-wrote with Toby Halbrooks.

IR Review: Martin Starr and Dina Shihabi Charm in ‘Amira & Sam’

by: Jay Carlson

Sometimes watching independent films can feel like homework, but every once in a while one comes out of nowhere and surprises me. Initially I pushed off watching Amira & Sam, as I was trying to cram in as many year-end awards season films as possible for my Top Ten of 2014 list (which still isn’t quite complete). I really wanted to watch it, as I had been intrigued by the trailer and had only heard good things about it, but I kept finding excuses not to put it on.

I should have made time sooner because Amira & Sam is one of those films that really surprised me.

The film stars Martin Starr as Sam Seneca, a clean cut Marine who is recently back stateside after multiple tours of duty overseas. In a refreshing twist Starr’s Marine is not one of the typical veteran soldier stereotypes that we regularly see portrayed in film. You know the ones, the soldier twitchy with PTSD, or the soldier who is unable to fit back in with society, haunted by the atrocities of war. Obviously, these are real issues that exist for many soldiers, war is terrible and the things many soldiers see and do would probably have an impact on even the strongest psyche, but not all soldiers come home in that state. Sam is one of these soldiers. He’s a regular guy who happened to have been a soldier, and has adjusted back to civilian life without any real problems. He even has aspirations of stand-up comedy.

Sam comes to meet Amira through her uncle, Bassam, (who served as a translator to Sam’s unit overseas) when he comes calling on his old friend early on in the film. Amira, makes it clear that she doesn’t like nor trust soldiers. After an unfortunate run in with the authorities, Amira is forced to lay low at Sam’s place. Of course, as the two begin to spend more time together, Amira lets Sam in and the sparks begin to fly.

Starr is terrific as Sam, a role that challenges us to see a new facets of him as an actor. Most would recognize Starr from the comedic roles that he’s been owning for years, first as Bill Haverchuck in Freaks and Geeks, and later on in Knocked up and Party Down, and most recently as a Satanist/ computer programmer in HBO’s hilarious Silicon Valley. Make no mistake though, this is not a complete departure for Starr, who has given us glimpses of his non comedic potential in films like The Lifeguard and Greg Mottola’s criminally underrated Adventureland.

Equally terrific was relative unknown Dina Shihabi, who manages to not just hold her own, but elevates each scene that she shares with Starr. Shahibi plays Amira with a very natural vulnerability lurking just underneath her tough exterior, infuriating you one minute and then charming the hell out of you the next.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Laith Nakli as Amira’s uncle Bassam. Bassam is the heart of the film thanks to a pitch perfect performance by Nakli. By the end of the film, you find he’s willing to do anything to protect his niece.

Paul Wesley, as Sam’s exploitive Gordon Gekko-esque cousin Charlie, manages to infuse some humanity in a role that some might consder to be the villain of the film.

Director Sean Mullin manages to twist together a very effective, albeit unconventional, romantic comedy with a spot-on commentary of how veterans are sometimes exploited in American society. Mullin deftly manages to blend genres successfully tempering each scene with just the right tone.

I waited too long to sit down and watch Amira & Sam, don’t make the same mistake.

To check theater listings or to see VOD options click HERE.

Also, for all of our Massachusetts readers, Director Sean Mullin will be bringing the film to CinemaSalem for a special screening and Q&A on 2/26! For tickets and more information visit CinemaSalem’s Website HERE

The Guys Behind ‘John Wick’ Might be Directing ‘Cowboy Ninja Viking’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas and Marcus Rivera

John Wick was the surprise action hit of last year. And it looks like director Chad Stahelski and uncredited co-director David Leitch will be keeping busy in the new year. Sources close to Variety have given them the scoop that the duo will be helming the upcoming comic book movie Cowboy Ninja Viking starring Chris Pratt.

The film is based on the Image Comics comic of the same name, created by writer A.J. Lieberman and artist Riley Rossmo. The series follows a counter-intelligence unit that uses patients that suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder. They turn them into agents called TRIPLETS, men and women who can access up to three personalities skills at the same time. Duncan, a TRIPLET who can access the abilities of a Cowboy, a Ninja and a Viking is tasked with hunting down rogue TRIPLETS.

Mark Gordon, Guymon Casady and Ben Forkner are producing in a co-production between the Mark Gordon Company and Film 360. Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese are penning the script and are also producing. Stahelski and Leitch have cut their teeth as second unit directors for several years but blew up after John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves, overperformed at the box office this past October. Leitch was uncredited on the project.

With Pratt in such high demand, the studio has quickly fast-tracked the project in order to squeeze it in before the actor’s plate becomes too full. It’s unclear where this film would fit in his current schedule. Pratt already set to star in Antoine Fuqua’s Magnificent Seven remake, which shoots in the spring, as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, but as long as things come together quickly, it’s a good sign this film is headed in the right direction.

Pratt has been tweeting his excitement about the project for quite some time but wanted to make sure the film found the right director before fully committing to it. Leitch and Stahelski have an eye for awesome action, being heavily influenced by anime and martial arts films. They seem like a good match for the insanity that Cowboy Ninja Viking conveys. Pratt’s approval is quite the vote of confidence on what Stahelski and Leitch can bring to the table.

 

Rachael Taylor Cast in Marvel’s ‘A.K.A. Jessica Jones’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

The upcoming Marvel Studios / Netflix joint venture AKA Jessica Jones has added another cast member. Hot on the heels of announcing David Tenant as the villain Kilgrave, Marvel is now reporting that Rachael Taylor has been cast as Trish “Patsy” Walker.

Walker is the best friend of the titular Jessica Jones, played by Kristen Ritter. Walker is a syndicated radio host, former model and child TV star. Fans of the Marvel Comics Universe will recognize the name Patsy Walker as the real name of the superheroine Hellcat.

In the thriteen episode series Trish Walker will help Jessica Jones embark on the most dangerous case of her career.

Taylor has been seen on the small screen before, with roles in the newer version of Charlie’s Angels, 666 Park Avenue, and Grey’s Anatomy.

The character of Jessica Jones was originally concieved by Marvel in their MAX imprint, a mature readers line that pushed the boundaries of what usually passed for Marvel Comics, by writer Brian Michael Bendia and artist Michael Gaydos. In the comics Jones was a former hero who went by the name of Jewel, but who now runs a mildly successful private investigation operation.

AKA Jessica Jones is one of four Marvel series premiering for Netflix, along with Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. The series is set to premiere on Nerflix later this year.

Superbowl Ad: ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2′

 

by: Jay Carlson

It’s no secret who I’ll be rooting for this Sunday in the Superbowl. Indie Revolver is located in the great state of Massachusetts, so I was obviously raised a Pats fan. Yeah, yeah, spygate (everybody was doing it, get over it) and yeah, yeah deflated footballs (Brady could have been throwing cinderblocks and still trounced the Colts). The bottom line is that they hate us cause the ain’t us.

As a Pats fan this Hot Tub Time Machine ad hits all the sweet spots. Rob Corddry as a Patriot? Check. Ball inflation humor? Yup, it’s got that as well. A hysterical cast? You better believe it.

Take a look for yourself, you won’t be disappointed. I’m genuinely looking forward to Hot Tub Time Machine 2 hitting theaters on February 20th. It looks like it might live up to the original, which was hilarious.

… And the Patriots are going to win by 10 on Sunday.

Steve Jobs Biopic Finally Locks Down Cast

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

In a move that seemed to take forever, Universal has finally released it’s final cast for the Danny Boyle directed and Aaron Sorkin scripted Steve Jobs biopic.

Michael Fassbender is official as Steve Jobs, as is Seth Rogen as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet as former Macintosh marketing boss Joanna Hoffman and Jeff Daniels as former Apple CEO John Sculley.

Also anounced are Katherine Waterson as Jobs’ ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan and Michael Stuhlbarg as Andy Hertzfeld, one of the MAC’s original developers.

In roles as yet unspecified are Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, Sarah Snook, Makenzie Moss and Adam Shapiro.

The film, based on the biography by Walter Isaacson, has seen it’s share of ups and downs. From casting woes with the likes of Chrisian Bale and switching studios from Sony to Universal, it looked like this film was on the fast track to never being made.

Production was said to have gotten underway today in San Francisco, but the Berkley area was buzzing this past Friday when production took over La Mediterranee restaurant on College Avenue. Many of the principal actors were seen as the area was transformed to an earlier era with cars from the ‘80s parked along the streets.

Fargo Season 2 Adds a Villain!

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Michael Hogan, known for playing Colonel Saul Tigh on Battlestar Galactica, has been tapped to play a Midwest crime kingpin on season 2 of FX’s Fargo.

According to The Wrap, Hogan will play Otto Gerhardt.Gerhardt is a first generation German immigrant who took over his father’s trucking company. Through sheer will and utter brutality he turns the small trucking business into a criminal empire that spans the Midwest.

Unfortunately Otto Gerhardt has suffered a stroke and is confined to a wheelchair. And although he lost the ability to speak, feed himself and even use the bathroom on his own, he is a mean bastard who refuses to die.

The second season, a prequel to the first season, will be set in 1979 and revolves around a case alluded to by the character Lou Solverson. Solverson was played by David Carradine in the first season and will be played by Patrick Wilson in the second season.

Also joining the cast of the anthology crime drama in the upcoming season are Ted Danson, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, as well as a host of other well known actors.

Trailer: ‘Ted 2′ Starring Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried and Seth McFarlane

Ted Is Coming, Again – June 26
http://www.legalizeted.com/ #LegalizeTed

Seth MacFarlane returns as writer, director and voice star of Ted 2, Universal and Media Rights Capital’s follow-up to the highest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time. Joined once again by star Mark Wahlberg and fellow Ted writers Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild, MacFarlane produces the live action/CG-animated comedy alongside Bluegrass Films’ Scott Stuber, as well as John Jacobs and Jason Clark. http://www.LegalizeTed.com

Supergirl has Found her Jimmy Olsen!

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Just days after casting Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El a.k.a. Supergirl in the upcoming CBS television show, Variety is now reporting that the network has found her romantic interest.

Mechad Brooks, known for his roles on TV shows like USA’s Necessary Roughness and HBO’s True Blood, will play James “Jimmy” Olsen.

Olsen will be a photographer at CatCo, the media company where Kara works as an assistant for Cat Grant. Up until recently Jimmy had been working in National City, though the reason for why he was there and his return is a secret.

The character of Jimmy Olsen originally started in the Superman comics as a co-worker of Lois Lane and Kara’s cousin Clark Kent, a.k.a. Superman, at the newspaper the Daily Planet.

Trailer and Poster for ‘Child 44′ Starring Tom Hardy

by: Marcus Rivera

You won’t see him as Rick Flagg in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad film which is still casting, but fans of actor Tom Hardy alike may find interest in what Safe House director Daniel Espinoza is offering in his newest thriller, Child 44. The film is set to arrive this April with Hardy reuniting with The Dark Knight Rises co-star Gary Oldman in an intense period drama based author Tom Rob Smith’s 2008 U.K. book publication.

SYNOPSIS:
A politically-charged serial killer thriller set in 1953 Soviet Russia, “Child 44″ chronicles the crisis of conscience for secret police agent Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy), who loses status, power and home when he refuses to denounce his own wife, Raisa (Noomi Rapace), as a traitor. Exiled from Moscow to a grim provincial outpost, Leo and Raisa join forces with General Mikhail Nesterov (Gary Oldman) to track down a serial killer who preys on young boys. Their quest for justice threatens a system-wide cover-up enforced by Leo’s psychopathic rival Vasil (Joel Kinnaman), who insists “There is no crime in Paradise.”

The Gang Returns in the First Teaser for Netflix’s ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’!!!

The counselors are confirmed for Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, a limited 8-episode series coming to Netflix just in time for summer. Elizabeth Banks, Michael Ian Black, Bradley Cooper, Judah Friedlander, Janeane Garofalo, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Christopher Meloni, Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, Amy Poehler, David Hyde Pierce, Paul Rudd, Molly Shannon, and Michael Showalter are among some of the cast joining the series, which tells the story of the first day of Camp Firewood’s famous summer season, now fourteen years after the film’s debut. The series is directed by David Wain and co-written by Wain and Michael Showalter.

Who else is as excited as me to rejoin the counselors at Camp Firewood?