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Nicole Kidman tries to remember in 'Before I Go to Sleep' trailer

In the new teaser for Before I Go to Sleep, Nicole Kidman plays a traumatized woman who can’t remember the violent attack she suffered 10 years ago. Her husband (Colin Firth) and doctor (Mark Strong) say they only want to help her recover, but every morning, when she wakes up, her memory of everything is gone. So she starts to document her days, Memento style, so that each day slowly brings her closer to the truth. READ FULL STORY

Miles Teller can't find the right beat in 'Whiplash' trailer

“There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘Good job.’”

That’s the fault line on which writer/director Damien Chazelle has built Whiplash. His Sundance sensation stars Miles Teller as a jazz-drum prodigy who earns the attention of his prestigious school’s notorious music maestro (J.K. Simmons). Is genius simply born, or does it need to be forged? How far is a teacher supposed—or allowed—to go to bring out the best in a student, and what are the risks and consequences for such methods?

In the new trailer for the film, Teller’s Andrew Neyman endures physical and psychological punishment as he fumbles to find the right beat and the right answers. READ FULL STORY

Let's all ogle Batman's new cowl, which is now on display at Comic-Con

Should you decide to walk the show floor of San Diego’s Comic-Con International, you might come across a bat-themed surprise: the actual cowl that will be worn by Ben Affleck in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is on display at the convention today.

It may seem like just a cape, but there’s much to be gleaned from its appearance. As DC co-publisher Jim Lee stated in an interview with USA Today, the cape has “a very low drag coefficient,” and suggests “a boxer’s physique.” (A refresher, in case you’re a little rusty on your rudimentary fluid dynamics: Wikipedia defines drag coefficient as “a dimensionless quantity that is used to quantify the drag or resistance of an object in a fluid environment, such as air or water.” It is very important when fighting crime.) READ FULL STORY

Venice unveils festival lineup

The 71st Venice Film Festival announced its lineup this morning, highlighted by films from American directors, including David Gordon Green, Barry Levinson, Peter Bogdanovich, Lisa Cholodenko, Andrew Niccol, and James Franco. As had been previously announced, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, starring Michael Keaton and many others, will be the opening film when the festival begins on Aug. 27.

Click below for the entire list of 55 films playing in Venice. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Lucy' aims to dominate 'Hercules'

Hercules might be a legendary warrior, but Lucy‘s brain capacity will likely prove too formidable a foe for the Greek demigod at the box office. The Scarlett Johansson-led action film looks poised to ravage Dwayne Johnson’s sword-and-sandals epic as both debut on 3,000+ screens this weekend.

Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes, starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas also opens in 1,800 theaters, which could possibly break the top five with $8 million, closing out a quiet and struggling July at the box office before Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy arrives next weekend.

Here’s how things might play out.

READ FULL STORY

Marvel releases new concept art for 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'

Fans who attended Preview Night  at San Diego Comic-Con and stopped by Marvel’s booth last night got a first look at two new concept art posters for Avengers: Age of Ultron, which arrives in theaters on May 1, 2015.

The first poster, drawn by Ryan Meinerding, features Iron Man blasting away one of Ultron’s robots. Things don’t look too good for Ultron’s robots in the second poster, which shows Scarlet Witch—played by Marvel film franchise newcomer Elizabeth Olsen—using her powers to fend off her attackers.

See Andy Park’s Scarlet Witch poster below. READ FULL STORY

The 'Fifty Shades of Grey' trailer has arrived

Fifty-Shades-Of-Grey.jpg

In the first trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey, Dakota Johnson is a mousy girl with a notepad who makes an impression on Jamie Dornan’s laser-gazed billionaire Christian Grey. If I recall correctly, his corporation puts her bookstore out of business and they become unlikely online pen-pals after meeting in a chat room. And then they have lots of sex. The end.

Enjoy. READ FULL STORY

Can Luc Besson score another French-import blockbuster with 'Lucy'?

Over the course of his dozen-plus films as a writer-director, Parisian auteur Luc Besson has become known for his stylish inversions of schlock genre fare and a certain, shall we call it, Vive la femme attitude toward women.

Time and again, his movies place emotionally fragile female characters in physically perilous situations: a conflicted hit-woman struggling with the perils of her job in 1990’s La Femme Nikita, 12-year old Natalie Portman on the run as an assassin-in-training in The Professional, and Milla Jovovich’s universe-saving alien Leeloo in The Fifth Element (1997) among them. Besson’s latest multiplex offering appears set to follow that template. The director’s FX-heavy sci-fi thriller Lucy (which hits theaters Friday) presents Scarlett Johansson as a Taipei-based expatriate-turned-reluctant drug mule who, through a freak accident, taps into a reservoir of superhuman brain power—and ends up kicking no small amount of ass in the process.

With its 98-percent “freshness” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and prime popcorn movie season release date, Lucy arrives a little more than a year after Besson’s last outing as writer-director (the critically and commercially stillborn Michelle Pfeiffer-Robert DeNiro crime-comedy The Family). And if pre-release audience awareness surveys are to be trusted, Lucy could haul in as much as $40 million in its opening weekend to become Besson’s biggest stateside hit to date.

While the director, 55, stands as one of international moviedom’s most prolific content creators, his list of efforts that can be called “Un film de Luc Besson” remains relatively petite. That’s because writing-directing work often takes a backseat to Besson’s position as boss of EuropaCorp, the Paris-based studio he founded that’s known for churning out internationally accented action fare such as the Kevin Costner spy vehicle 3 Days to Kill in February. A rundown of the filmmaker’s credits as producer-writer—concocting and setting up film projects before outsourcing them to his go-to team of directors, including Pierre Morel and Olivier Megaton—speaks to Besson’s reputation in Hollywood as a prolific harvester of movie ideas who launches global film franchises almost at will while continuing to churn out Gallic blockbusters both sublime and ridiculous (Arthur and the Invisibles, anyone?).

Exhibit A: the Taken trilogy. In 2008, the first of the English-language French action-thrillers (starring Liam Neeson as a former CIA operative struggling to find his daughter after she is captured by sex-slavery traffickers) arrived with little box office expectation. But when the $25 million film shocked critics into a kind of puzzled enjoyment and took in more than $200 million globally, it effectively rebranded Neeson—formerly an Oscar-nominated Serious Actor—as a bankable action star. And after Taken 2 similarly turned a robust profit, Neeson returned for a third and final installment that’s due out in January, placing the Taken franchise on a very short list of European-made movie trilogies.

Before that, Besson could be partially credited with making Parkour a “thing” with the 2004 Paris ghetto-set action flick he wrote and produced, District 13 (as well as its less well-received sequel District 13: Ultimatum).

And while the less said the better about Taxi, the flop-tacular, Besson-written and -produced Jimmy Fallon/Gisele Bundchen/Queen Latifah vehicle (based, of course, on Besson’s hit French version), the filmmaker’s Transporter series definitely ranks high in his win column. Those three cartoonishly violent, meat-and-potatoes hits again saw Besson farm out directing duties, grafting Asian martial-arts action onto a decidedly European milieu of criminal intrigue and elaborate car chases, placing Jason Statham in the driver’s seat of a succession of luxury automobiles.

Today, Besson seems more intent on spending more time in the director’s chair after back-to-back outings as a producer-writer-director with The Family and The Lady—a biopic about the Myanmar human-rights activist and opposition leader Aung San Soo Kyi that premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in 2012. Besson has also returned to his roots depicting highly adrenalized female triumphalism with Lucy.

“I love to see a woman as a very strong character,” Besson told EW earlier this year. “It’s like cooking: sugar with a bit of salt, and Lucy definitely can get salty.”

Casting Net: Tommy Lee Jones joins 'Criminal,' Rooney Mara replaces Jessica Chastain in 'The Secret Scripture'

Tommy Lee Jones is joining Kevin Costner and Gary Oldman in Criminal. Ariel Vromen is directing the thriller from Millenium Films, which tells the story of a prison inmate who is implanted with a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills with the hope that he will stop a diabolical plot. Jones will play a neuroscientist who transplants said intelligence. Douglas Cook and David Weisberg wrote the script. Chris Bender, J.C. Spink, and Matt O’Toole will produce. [THR]

• Rooney Mara is heading to The Secret Scripture, which will be directed by Jim Sheridan. The drama follows a 100-year-old woman, Roseanne, who writes the story of her life in a secret memoir while spending time in mental institutions. Mara replaces Jessica Chastain as the younger Roseanne, who survives a brutal childhood, but later suffers at the hand of a vindictive Catholic priest. Vanessa Redgrave also stars. Johnny Ferguson is adapting Sebastian Barry’s 2008 novel of the same name. Noel Pearson is producing. [Deadline]

• Dan Stevens will star in the indie drama The Ticket. Oren Moverman is producing, with Lawrence Inglee joining him. Ido Fluk is writing and directing. The film tells the story of a blind man who is able to see again, but becomes entirely selfish, obsessed with the superficial. The film begins production in upstate New York in August. [Variety]

Marvel Studios reveals 'Ant-Man' Comic-Con poster -- EXCLUSIVE

Feast your compound eyes on this: an exclusive look at an Ant-Man image that Marvel Studios will be sharing this weekend at Comic-Con.

READ FULL STORY

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