News for Week Ending 30 March 2014

News for Week Ending 30 March 2014

I've been a regular at Sundance London since it started taking up annual residence in the (slightly odd choice if you ask me) venue of the O2 a few years ago. Their newly-published line-up, which is supposed to represent the finest cuts from the US edition of the festival, does look like the strongest yet in terms of guests and films.

Alongside the usual panels and short film programmes, feature film highlights include Fruitvale Station, The One I Love, Frank, TheCase against 8, Drunktown's Finest, They Came Together, The Voices, Blue Ruin, Obvious Child, Memphis, Finding Fela, and The Trip to Italy. Talent dropping by for panels and talks includes:

 Lenny Abrahamson, Director, Frank
Ryan Coogler, Director/Screenwriter, Fruitvale Station
Jon Ronson, Screenwriter, Frank
Marjane Satrapi, Director, The Voices

Jarvis Cocker and Martin Wallace composer and director of The Big Melt

Edwyn Collins and Grace Maxwell, subjects of The Possibilities are Endless

Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, directors of 20,000 Days on Earth

The full line up is here.

Launching Films have the weekly UK box office charts and takings:

Film  | Distributor | Weeks On Release | Weekend| Total | Total

UK Box-Office To 23rd March 2014:
1   Grand Budapest Hotel, The (15) 20th Century Fox     3     £1,267,408     £6,309,128
2  Need For Speed (3D) (12A) Entertainment One UK     2     £988,255     £3,691,108
3  Lego Movie, The (3D) (U) Warner Bros.     6     £815,020     £31,128,785
4  300: Rise Of An Empire (3D) (15) Warner Bros.     3     £785,538     £6,868,104
5 Non-Stop (12A) STUDIOCANAL     4     £697,128     £8,097,443

No director Pablo Lorraine could be helping a new version of Scarface, a rags to riche gangster tale already filmed twice, once by Howard Hawks in 1932 and later in 1983 by Brian de Palma with Al Pacino in the title role. The Wrap has the story.  

If you want a taste of the big studio tentpole films planned for the next year (this may depress you if you are of the blockbusters-killed-cinema mindset), Empire Magazine have been covering the LA based Cinemacon 2014. Lots of details on Sony's plans for the Spider-Man franchise, extended trailers for films Like Edge of Tomorrow and Godzilla, and so forth. Read it here.

2014 will see what seems to be the late James Gandolfini's last complete film appear on UK screens. The Drop is based on Dennis Lehane’s short story Animal Rescue (and originally titled that), and co-stars Tom Hardy. Its directed by Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead). Screenshots have appeared online.

If you are interested in motion capture behind the scenes tomfoolery, Empire has some on set pics from Matt Reeve's scifi thriller Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, showcasing the full gear the actors playing the ape charcters have to wear. Film is out July 17.

Arnie has been shooting...his mouth of about Terminator Genesis, the fifth film in the long-running scifi franchise apparently out in July 2015. Though Schwarzenegger's advancing years would seem to rule him out of appearing in the franchise, at least not without series CGI enhancement, the actor explained that allowing for the Terminator's human skin covering to age offered a possible way for him to appear.

Jack Bauer has apparently been hiding out quietly in London since the end of Fox's 24 Season 8. But an inferno of bullets, torture and shouting is clearly about to be unleashed on the quiet streets of Peckham, as Jack is once again drawn out of hiding when he uncovers evidence of an assassination attempt on the visiting US President's life. Diverging from the original conceit once more (24 has already pushed it's narrative into feature film format), Fox will be airing this as a mini season of 12 instalments, starting May 5.

If you want to see what every sci-fi movie trope, costume and character type mashed together would look like, you can check out the new trailer for Jupiter Acscending, the new film from the Wachowskis and due out 25 July.

Following the controversial announcement of the close of BBC3, BBC director general Tony Hall, the former chief executive of the Royal Opera House, changed tack by promising "more arts on the BBC than ever before". Nearly £3m extra will be spent on arts programmes across TV, radio and online in the coming year.

The new season of arts will include adaptations of Shakespeare's Richard III and Henry VI, a sequel to Kenneth Clark's landmark TV series Civilisation, and live broadcasts of plays and events  in collaboration with the Hay festival, Glyndebourne and the Royal Academy. Hall's announcement was made at the BBC's New Broadcasting House in central London last week, and The Guardian has the story here. Such investment it seems does not extend to keeping the BBC4 The Review Show going, as its death knell has now been sounded. 

By now you should now your childhoods are not sacred to Hollywood. So if you are feeling protective of your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles memories, you might want to stay away from the new trailer released to promote the Michael Bay-produced live action feature film, with Jonathan Liebesman directing.

The teaser establishes William Fichtner as a shadowy businessman figure, with more familiar figures of Shredder (or is it 'The Shredder'? I was never sure) and Megan Fox as journalist April O'Neil. The film features Danny Woodburn, Alan Ritchson, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, Noel Fisher and Will Arnett. Out October 17.

Finally, if you were concerned that you were too minted for the likes of Kickstarter, the Guardian has a story on a new crowd funding site - Junction- open only to those with an annual income of more than $200,000 or a net worth of at least $1m (£600,000)  It already features campaigns to help finance films starring Tom Hanks and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of the superhero Batman in comics,  with Warner Bros and DC Comics releasing a detailed press release of the planned year of celebrations. In terms of film and TV, key details are:

"Animation – Warner Bros. Animation has created two all-new Batman animated shorts set for debut in April, with fan-favorite producers Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) and Darwyn Cooke (Batman Beyond) each presenting a unique and familiar take on the Batman animated universe. In addition, Timm will participate in a Batman 75th all-star panel at WonderCon in Anaheim on Saturday, April 19, which will also feature an exclusive premiere of Cooke’s animated short based upon Batman Beyond.
Television –Warner Bros. Television is in production on the pilot episode of the highly anticipated Gotham, a new one-hour drama for FOX which explores the origin stories of eventual police commissioner James Gordon and the villains that made Gotham City famous. In Gotham, Detective Gordon (Ben McKenzie – Southland) will encounter a familiar cast of characters – including a young Bruce Wayne – as he fights to keep the city safe. Executive producer Bruno Heller (The Mentalist, Rome) wrote the pilot, which is being directed by executive producer Danny Cannon (CSI series, Nikita)
Pictures – As Batman’s 75th anniversary is celebrated in 2014, Warner Bros. Pictures will begin production of Zack Snyder’s untitled Superman/Batman film starring Henry Cavill, who reprises his role as Superman/Clark Kent, and Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne. The film, slated for release summer 2016, will bring the two most iconic Super Heroes of all time together for the first time on the big screen."

Sequels to things that were big back when: news on planned sequels to Jurassic Park, Jurassic World,  and Pixar confirms The Incredibles 2.

The week's upcoming released from Launching Films:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3D)

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Muppets Most Wanted (U)

Director: James Bobin

Past, The (12A)

Director: Asghar Farhadi

Fold, The (15)

Director: John Jencks

Legend Of Hercules, The (12A) (3D)

Director: Renny Harlin

My Stuff (15)

Director: Petri Luukkainen

Borderlands, The (15)

Director: Elliot Goldner

Dangerous Acts

Director: Madeleine Sackler

20 Feet From Stardom (12A)

Director: Morgan Neville

Almost Married (15)

Director: Ben Cookson

Leave The World Behind (15)

Director: Christian Larson

Afternoon Delight (18)

Director: Jill Soloway


Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.