Hollywood star Harrison Ford had U.S. TV presenter Jimmy Fallon squirming in his seat on Friday (01Nov13) after piercing his ear with a needle on air. The actor donned a white lab coat and purple sterile gloves to perform the procedure on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, before adorning the host with a red, feather earring to match his own.
Ender's Game has blasted to the top of the U.S. box office in its opening weekend (01-03Nov13). The futuristic sci-fi film, which stars Harrison Ford, took in $28 million (£18.6 million), beating out Johnny Knoxville's Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, which earned $20.5 million (£13.6 million), bringing its total to more than $62 million (£41.3 million) in two weeks.
Animated film Free Birds and Last Vegas, which stars Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline, tied at three, both debuting with $16 million (£10.6 million).
Meanwhile, Thor: The Dark World crushed the competition outside of the U.S., opening with a $109 million (£72.6 million) haul internationally ahead of its American release on Friday (08Nov13). The sequel is expected to power its way past the success of the original, which took in $450 million (£300 million) worldwide in 2011.
Our interview with the acclaimed writer-director Gavin Hood about his years-long journey to translate the Hugo Award-winning novel Ender’s Game into an epic feast for both the eyes and mind. To read how he says he did it and what he wanted to achieve with the big-screen spectacle, check out the interview at Studio System News.
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The success of Ender's Game rests on the shoulders of one grand assumption: that everybody in the audience, everybody in the world, wishes they could have gone to space camp. And for the most part, that's true. The idea of space camp was, even to those of us stricken with cloying vertigo, heaven. We all wanted to don astronaut suits and float through anti-gravity rooms, blasting away at each other with lasers and learning the tricks of the extraterrestrial warfare trade. Those dazzling dreams are the principal meat of Gavin Hood's adaptation of the controversial classic — the majority of the time we spend with Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), we're alongside him in battle school. We're watching video footage of a battalion laying waste to an army of invaders, and zipping weightlessly along in high-stakes games of space rugby. So, through these chapters, we're having fun.
And it's not entirely untethered fun. Along the way, Ender endures the sort of coming-of-age traumas we've seen in every preteen protagonist from Sean Astin to Daniel Radcliffe. He doesn't fit in. He doesn't know who he is. He doesn't like what he's becoming. It's not difficult material to wrestle with, but it's just enough substance to give us a reason for caring about whether or not he beats the Napoleonic school bully in tactical games, or wins special affection from fellow soldier Hailee Steinfeld.
But this story of a growing boy struggling with his intellectual gifts and emotional curses finds itself planted clumsily in the middle of a movie that wants to be about something else. Even if you've read the book, or heard the "big reveal" from loud-mouthed friends of yours who don't revere spoiler etiquette, you'll be surprised by the ending for Ender. Because it comes out of nowhere.
The character's emotional journey is bound so tenuously to the narrative around him that you'll be confused at exactly what is going on when the two collide. You'll question whether or not you nodded during a scene that might have tied everything together, or challenge your own capacity for picking up subtle signals. Don't be so hard on yourself; Ender's Game wants to conquer two worlds (one inside its hero, the other outside its spaceships), but doesn't dive far enough into either to make it so. The script only scratches the surface of its science-fiction backdrop, and only the broadest of strokes are painted with Ender — he's not a complex enough character to warrant the psychological suspension of disbelief that the film eventually asks of its viewer.
But he doesn't need to be, nor do these tasks really need to be conquered, for Ender's Game to be a good time. With just enough of a sob story to ground the movie, a surprisingly warm performance by the larger-than-life headmaster (Harrison Ford) — that is, when he's not standing up slowly and peering in awe directly through the camera — and, most importantly, all the anti-gravity fun you can ask for, Ender's Game works just fine for anyone looking to float free from the world for two hours.
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The only similarities shared by Ridley Scott's last two directorial efforts were Michael Fassbender and a good deal of disappointment. In 2012, Scott returned to the sci-fi game and the universe he created in Alien — arguably the best film in the genre's history — with Prometheus, a film that dazzled in scope and aesthetic conscience but that left us wanting more in the realm of story (we'll chalk that lethal ending up to Damon Lindelof's rewrites). Just this past weekend, Scott released his next picture: the Murphy's Law crime drama The Counselor, which too was not a complete failure but seemed to discount the power of its weird, otherworldly script from novelist Cormac McCarthy. But recent shortcomings aside, the filmmaker is a versatile and highly skilled one. A force so talented that his announcements, even the one about a sequel that might have underwhelmed us, has us excited. Scott spoke to Empire magazine for its latest issue, revealing that the script for the developing Prometheus 2, is complete.
He says, "Prometheus 2 is written. I have already got the next two films ready to go. That will be 2014, 2015." This time around, scripting duties lie with Jack Paglen, a newbie who will make his feature debut with another ambitious picture, Wally Pfister's Transcendence. If the sequel can hone in with a bit more attention to detail and an intention to complete the interesting story that its predecessor opened, Prometheus 2 could very well offer up a formidably satisfying, inspiring return to the sci-fi game for Scott.
Also on Scott's plate is an adaptation of Joe Haldeman's The Forever War, which Scott calls "one of the last great science-fiction books." The story revolves around an interstellar warfare between humanity and an alien race. Commenting on his choice to adapt the novel: "We’ve finally got a very good draft of that for Fox. I thought I'd left science-fiction for too long, that I had better climb back in. Prometheus was a great experience for me. Chasing number two, we can start evolving the grand idea."
Additionally, Scott mentions on the muddled status of Blade Runner 2 ("Yeah, we're working on [it] right now - that will happen sooner or later") and his viewpoint on his developing Biblical epic Exodus ("F**king huge"). So, rest assured there.
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Gritty drama For Those In Peril leads the nominations at this year's (13) BAFTA Scotland awards with four nods. Paul Wright's movie, about a loner blamed for a tragedy on a remote Scottish fishing island, is up for Best Film, Best Director, Best Writer and Best Actor/Actress (Film) for its lead George MacKay.
The young star will face competition from Martin Compston (The Wee Man) and Iain De Caestecker (Not Another Happy Ending), while the film will be up against The Wee Man and Fire In The Night.
Wright will fight for the Best Director prize against Kenny Glenaan (Case Histories) and Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon (I Am Breathing).
Ford Kiernan (The Field of Blood: The Dead Hour), Peter Mullan (The Fear), and Sharon Rooney (My Mad Fat Diary) are all nominated in the Best Actor/Actress (TV) section.
The ceremony, which celebrates the best of Scottish entertainment talent, will take place in Glasgow on 17 November (13).
At this year's Comic-Con, Star Wars fans were treated to a never-before-seen blooper reel from the original Star Wars, and the clip has just surfaced on the Internet for the rest of the world to enjoy.
The two-minute clip is a fantastic glimpse at some of the fumbles that occurred while creating the biggest film franchise ever. In the footage, we see what appears to be C-3PO trying to scale a sand dune, only to fall to his side (too much sand in those mechanical joints). Also, Stormtroopers cement their reign as the most bungling henchmen in the known universe in a comical sequence featuring the armor-clad soldiers attempting to make their way through a hole in the wall, and tripping and slipping on everything in a ballet of incoordination. It's almost as if the clip was expressly made to be turned into a GIF in the year 2013. I'm not sure why the Rebel Alliance was all that worried when a waist-high wall was all you needed to stop the Empire in its tracks.
There's also a scene with Harrison Ford munching on his mic in frustration after fudging one of his lines, and one of Mark Hamill pondering where he should put the emphasis in the word "supernova." It's charming to see the clumsy beginnings of the Star Wars saga, a series that is now approaching its 40th anniversary and seventh feature film. This clip goes to show that even the most storied of film franchises can be a little messy at times.
Actor Forest Whitaker is set to receive the Kirk Douglas Award For Excellence In Film at the eighth annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The Last King of Scotland star will be feted at the event in California on 15 December (13).
Announcing this year's recipient, movie veteran Kirk Douglas says, "Forest Whitaker is an exceptional man and actor. His commitment to human causes, his passion for what is right, and his dedication to his craft are inspirational and at my age, inspiration is rare."
Previous recipients include Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Harrison Ford.
Meanwhile, Whitaker has also been handed the Black Pearl Career Achievement Award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which began on Thursday (24Oct13).
20th Century Fox
The biggest question mark of the cinematic horizon is Star Wars: Episode VII. With the capability and artistic intentions of J.J. Abrams already up for debate and the murky promise (or threat) of Original Trilogy stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford looming as cast list potentials, all we need now is a writer to drop out to further stir up the uncertainty about the ultimate quality of our next foray into George Lucas' galaxy. And so it is. The Hollywood Reporter reports that screenwriter Michael Arndt is no longer involved with crafting the script for Episode VII, though no mention is made of why or how his departure came about. Filling in for Arndt on scripting duties will be director Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
On the one hand, the presence of Kasdan glimmer with the OT veneer: Empire is widely considered the strongest of the Star Wars movies, and it might be reassuring to some Lucasfilm purists to have a mind from the glory days on board. But it was that entrenchment to cling so adherently to the mythology and spirit of the originals that resulted in the Prequel Trilogy, a failure by the standards of most hoping for a revisit to the magic born in '77. As such, a talent independent from the Star Wars universe might have been favorable.
Maybe Arndt wasn't quite the right choice. He wrote the screenplays for greats like Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3 — two excellent movies in their own right, but ones that might not showcase his ability to handle a broad, fantastical world like Star Wars. In company with a partner known for this skill, perhaps Arndt's touch for the personal might have worked.
But we're left, instead, with Kasdan and Abrams. The former in position solely on the bounties of "legacy" (not always the best tool to use in rebooting a franchise), and the other amid a slow slip from grace after Star Trek Into Darkness and the more defensible but still sub-par Super 8. Both movies in which he exhibited his preference to put old toys in a glass case for us to look at rather than recreating and reimagining vast, fruitful ideas. So is the decision to bring on Kasdan more of Abrams' ploys to live through his nostalgia, or will Kasdan be able to channel his old stories in a new, inventive way?
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Last week, E! News reported that Kate Moss and Johnny Depp were reuniting for Paul McCartney's newest music video "Queenie Eye." Though the couple (who dated from 1994-1998) never share a shot together, they do share the screen with a ton of other celebrities. Check out the video below and see if you can count the famous faces… it's next to impossible to get them all on the first try.
After a few viewings (and a few google searches), I counted 17 in total, though it's definitely possible there are more. Check below the video for all the celebs we spotted:
1. Depp2. Moss3. Meryl Streep4. Tom Ford5. Alice Eve6. Lily Cole7. Jude Law8. Sean Penn9. Chris Pine10. James Corden11. Jeremy Irons12. Gary Barlow13. Tamara Rojo14. Laura Bailey15. Tracey Ullman16. Sir Peter Blake17. Jack Savoretti
Phew, seriously, only Paul McCartney could pull this one off.
While McCartney has a history of using famous faces in his videos, such as Natalie Portman in "My Valentine," "Queenie Eye" goes to a whole new level in including celebrities from around the world. And while the the video is definitely impressive, it's special for reasons other than the wall–to–wall stars. Filmed in London's Abbey Road studios, the video is also where The Beatles' first single "Love Me Do" was recorded.
Though the star-studded grouping is already intriguing fans to watch, the song "Queenie Eye" will probably be a hit in its own right. The single, which is the first to be released from Paul McCartney's latest album New, has all the makings of becoming our favorite fall tune. And hey, there's no argument here, the 71-year-old has still got it.
Be sure the check out New which landed in stores Oct. 15, and listen for "Queenie Eye" on your favorite station, it won't take too long before it gets stuck in your head.
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