Hugh Jackman Set To Star In Director Neill Blomkamp's Next Film; Chappie

If you ask any sci-fi film enthusiast to compose a list of the best up and coming directors of the genre, South African director Neill Blomkamp is sure to be in the top five. Blomkamp was able to grab much deserved attention for his film debut District 9, but just this year we saw him move into more big budget blockbuster territory with his film Elysium. As we saw with Elysium, thanks to Blomkamp's expanded budget he was able to hire big name star such as Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, and it seems this will also be the case for his cast of his new film Chappie. Hugh Jackman-who just recently starred in Prisoners-has now revealed that he'll in fact be playing a role in the director's next film, which will surprisingly be that of it's villain.

Screen International reports that Jackman will be starring in Blomkamp's Chappie, which the actor revealed during a press conference at the Zurich Film Festival. The actor had the following to say on his part in the film and when shooting would begin:

“…I am doing a role in Neill’s new film, called Chappie, which we shoot in Johannesburg. I’m there for a couple of weeks at the beginning of next year.”

Jackman's recently come off a major success as the lead in Prisoners, with his performance along with Jake Gyllehaal's being highly praised by critics, and may even garner some award buzz. Following his turn in the Oscar nominated Les Miserables last year, Jackman's really been sticking to his X-Men schedule with just this past summer's The Wolverine and the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, so it's likely the his role in Chappie won't be a major one due to his likely involvement with yet another X-Men installment, which is rumored to be an X-Force film directed and written by Kick-Ass 2's Jeff Wadlow. 
Judging from Jackman's statement, we can make out that he might not be one of the key players of the film as he says he'll only be shooting there for a few weeks, so we'll have to wait and see just how substantial his character really is in the film. Bleeding Cool brings word that Jackman's role will be that of a CEO who ends up on the wrong side of the films protagonist gangsters. Jackman joins a cast which includes Ninja and Yolandi Visser (As the films titular gangsters) of the South African group Die Antwoord, and Dev Patel (In an unknown role); best known for his roles in Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire and on the HBO series Newsroom.
The film will also be re-teaming Blomkamp with his frequent collaborator Sharlto Copley, who like Blomkamp made his claim to fame thanks to the success of District 9. Copley will be portraying the film's star Chappie, which will be a robot police man that the gangsters are able to hack into and gain control of. Copley will be providing the voice for the character along with actual motion capture work for the part, but it still remains unknown whether his actually likeness will be used for the character's appearance. While Copley recently starred as Kruger in Blomkamp's Elysium, he's since branched out his filmography, landing roles in Spike Lee's Oldboy remake as well as in Disney's upcoming live action Maleficent film. So it's got to see that despite his busy schedule, Copley's still making an effort to continue working with Blomkamp on future projects.
Blomkamp still has a lot to prove as far as his career is concerned, and although District 9 was praised for it's authenticity and creative story line, Elysium didn't fare as well with critics, mainly due to criticisms concerning the film's plot progression throughout it's second half. This time around Blomkamp's hoping to take a more comedic approach with Chappie, and hopefully the director's willingness to take on a different tone then his past films will pay off in the long run. Blomkamp will be sharing script duties with his wife Terri Tatchell, and will reportedly be based off of one of Blomkamp's first short films Tetra Vaal. He's confirmed that the basic design of the robot from Tetra Vaal will be used for Chappie in the film, including the signature bunny ears. You can check out Tetra Vaal below to get a feel of what to expect from Chappie when it hits theaters March 17th, 2015.

So what do you think of Hugh Jackman joining the cast of Chappie? Are you looking forward to seeing it?

Review: Rush - Start Your Engines

I'm going to be honest with you, I'm hardly into sports at all. In any way. Therefore it was with some trepidation as I entered the screening for Rush, Ron Howard's new slick racing movie depicting the rivalry between British playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and calculating Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) of the 1976 Formula 1 World Championship. Sounds lovely.

Which can safely be said for the film itself. From the first pulsating beats of Hans Zimmer's score and the crisp shots of the cars in frame, your mind is set at ease. Ron Howard's vivid, punchy direction pounds the intensity of the racing in your face in such a fashion that you're split right down the middle whether to be scared or thrilled. Sometimes both. In the best way possible of course.
The performances of our two leads are as well constructed and polished as the cars themselves. Chris Hemsworth loud, garish portrayal of James Hunt is apparently spot on, all down to the 'Sex: Breakfast of Champions' badge adorned on overalls. His what seems like endless sexual encounters may descend into realms of gratuitousness at some points, and the accent occasionally slips into Thor territory, on the whole he manages to pull off becoming a devil-may-care, charming and thoroughly unlikable character.
Daniel's Niki Lauda, certainly the more restrained of the two, for me brings out a better performance, while it's debatable whether the cold, mirthless demeanor is exaggerated to the point of burning out. It certainly occurs to the viewer at a few points whether or not we can have two people so unlike each other and if there has been a fair portion of creative license thrown into the mix for good measure. All this aside, Niki Lauda is portrayed as a scheming and ruthlessly determined man which makes for some fantastic character scenes, regardless of historical accuracy. 
The script, written by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Last King of Scotland) is a great piece of work, filled with dialogue ranging from the snappy quarreling of Hunt and Lauda (egged on by the great chemistry of the leads) to slow, powerful soliloquies from various characters about the risk of racing and the poignancy of putting your life on your line for it. All very nice stuff, especially in the interim between the breakneck thrills of the races.
The supporting cast are all top-notch. With comic relief being given fresh on a platter from people like Steven Mangan, the mood never dips too depressive from characters like Olivia Wilde's Suzy and Alexandria Maria Lara's Marlene, wives of Hunt and Lauda respectively. Every so often in their haste to obliterate each other on the track, our protagonists are dragged back into the real world by their wives, reminding them that racing isn't everything and they're tearing their marriages apart. Their performances are good as well, although Olivia Wilde's character ultimately does little to progress the story, simply existing to show how careless Hemsworth's Hunt is.
Hans Zimmer's genius has once again created a fantastic score, bellowing low growls of engines below the swelling epic sounds, all coming together with perfect harmony to accompany the races. It ensures that if you weren't already gripping your seat, you wouldn't be far from it. 

There are a few problems with the film. The predominant one being that the film never really knows whose story the film is about. With voiceover monologues from both characters at various stages, it's never really clear who the focus is on. This becomes especially problematic during the races, as the film will jump from rooting from one to the other in the course of minutes. This means it's confusing at some points where the film's allegiances lie as the two racing titans do battle with each other on the track. That being said, it's very easy to overlook this due to the sheer exhilaration of the races themselves, with the camera swerving viciously between the cars as they feel like real dangerous death traps.
Ron Howard may have created an exaggerated sports drama made as simple to follow as possible, but in those broad exaggerations comes visceral thrills and memorable, poignant characters that makes Rush both consistently entertaining and suitably exciting.

I give Rush 4 out of 5 stars

And if your still undecided, here's the trailer for Rush:

So what'd you think of Rush? Or you planning on catching it next weekend?

Jurassic Park IV Officially Titled 'Jurassic World'; Release Date Pushed Back to 2015

2015 is definitely going to be one of the biggest years in film history, with a Superman Vs. Batman film on the horizon, Avengers: Age of Ultron continuing the adventures of our favorite superhero team, reboots of the original Terminator and the Fantastic Four, a sequel to Independence Day, a long overdue Ant-Man film, and even the return of Star Wars with J.J. Abrams' Episode VII. Well now you can add director Colin Trevorrow's fourth installment to the Jurassic Park franchise to that list, now officially titled Jurassic World and joining the line up of 2015's summer blockbusters. While details of the film have purely been speculation up to this point, it's new title may finally reveal some information regarding the film's plot.

Jurassic Park IV had been put on hold way back in May due to the limited time Trevorrow and fellow writer Derek Conolly (Safety Not Guaranteed) had for rewrites of Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver's (Both wrote for Rise of the Planet of Apes) script before the film's original planned release date of June 13, 2014. The 2014 release seemed unrealistic anyway, since the film had just found its director and not a single role had been cast yet. Many had written the film off as another failed attempt at a fourth installment to the franchise that would never see the light of day because of these set backs, but it seems those assumptions were proven wrong as we finally have confirmation on the film's release and title. While 2015 may present some more competition for the film in the box office due to the year's loaded schedule in big franchise sequels, it'll be released now on June 12, 2015.
While the new release date seemed like a necessary move for Trevorrow and co. to have a reasonable amount of time to put things together, it may end up not working out as well as the 2014 release would've for the film's box office gross. It'll now be coming out one week before the Michael Fassbender produced Assassin's Creed film adaption and Pixar's film Inside Out. Both of those films are sure to bring in a lot of audiences as Assassin's Creed has a large cult following of fans who have been anticipating the big screen adaption, and Inside Out is sure to take in a lot of the younger and family viewers that Jurassic World could've attracted if it would've had a more distant release. Luckily Jurassic World won't be having to worry about competition from what's sure to be next summer's heavy hitters, specifically Avengers: Age of Ultron and of course Superman Vs. Batman .
As for the more revealing piece of news regarding JP4, we now know the title is in fact going to be Jurassic World (Not to be confused with the series' second film 'The Lost World'). The title can mean one of two things as far as what it reveals of the films plot, or it could possibly mean neither one. The first hypothesis is that Jaffa and Silver ended up using an old draft for JP4 that we heard the synopsis for a few months back as the foundation for the story of Trevorrow's film. 
That plot included a story line in which the original Isla Nublar had in the present day become a theme park open to tourists from around the globe, hence the name "Jurassic World" (A play off of the theme park Disney World). This original draft had been written for Paramount, and had since been debunked as an "old draft" once it leaked online. It's still possible though that the basis of the plot remained intact while Jaffa and Silver (Or Trevorrow and Derek Conolloy through rewrites) changed other details such as the films dinosaurs, characters, and possibly it's location (Rumored to be Isla Sorna from Lost World) from that original draft. Here's the synopsis from that rumored plot:

"‘Jurassic Park 4,’ set in present day Isla Nublar, is now an actual theme park, as originally intended by John Hammond in the first film. It garners 10 million visitors per year and is completely safe – until it’s not. The park itself is described as very Sea World-esque and includes an area called the Isla Nublar Lagoon. That means underwater dino’s for the first time. No indication of what kind, but there’s concept art showing one of the aquatic dino’s, as part of a show, jumping out of the lagoon and eating a strung up great white shark like it was a fish for a dolphin at sea world.”

Personally, I think this plot for the film with a few modifications here and there could definitely result in the type of story we need to revive the Jurassic Park franchise, and hopefully launch a new trilogy. It makes perfect sense chronologically with the events of the previous three films, and can allow for new dinosaurs and characters to be introduced but also including some of the classics we all remember the movie for (I'm looking at you Jeff Goldblum). That being said, the probability that this plot could turn out to be the one Trevorrow ends up using is pretty minimal, and with all the numerous story lines that have been rumored and suggested for JP4, this one may just end up being another to add to the pile.
But Jurassic World may also be hinting at a much more obvious and literal plot for the film, where the dinosaurs of Isla Nublar may have found their way off the island and into the world of everyday society. While that might end up turning this film into a more Godzilla-esque apocalyptic movie, we may see a much more interesting take on dinosaurs once again ruling the world and humans now becoming the submissive species. I guess we'll see what Trevorrow has up his sleeve for Jurassic World in due time, but for now be looking out for it when it hits theater on June 12, 2015.
What do you think of the new release date for Jurassic Park IV? Are you happy with the title Jurassic World?