The Playlist

Andy Serkis Takes Big Payday For Multiple Sequels To 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 3, 2011 5:50 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Director Rupert Wyatt Locked In To Return, Fox Launching Oscars Campaign For SerkisFrom sneered-at needless sequel to a dead franchise to the lone summer blockbuster that managed to pick up both good reviews and a storming box office (it's closing in on $500 million worldwide), "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" was probably the most pleasant surprise of the year. And what was perhaps most interesting about how 20th Century Fox turned it around; human stars James Franco and Frieda Pinto took a backseat on the press circuit to a man whose face wasn't seen once on screen in the film -- mo-cap maestro Andy Serkis, who played lead ape Caesar.

Review: Steven Spielberg's 'The Adventures Of Tintin' Is A Gloriously Enjoyable Mo-Cap Marvel

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 24, 2011 4:05 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Across his 40 year career as Hollywood's most beloved filmmaker, Steven Spielberg has tried his hand at many different things -- the blockbuster thrill ride, the family film, the comedy, the war film, hardcore science-fiction, serious dramas and whatever it was that "The Terminal" was, a diverse range of pictures united by that certain Spielberg je-ne-sais-quoi. But there's something he's never tackled directly himself; the animated film. Sure, he's produced TV cartoons like "Animaniacs," and even the occasional big-screen one, like "An American Tail" and "We're Back," but for the most part, the Bearded One has always preferred live action to ink and pixels.

LFF '11 Review: 'Wild Bill' Is An Immensely Likable Directorial Debut From Dexter Fletcher

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 23, 2011 5:30 AM
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For whatever reason, directorial debuts by British character actors tend to lean towards the gritty kitchen-sink drama; Tim Roth, Gary Oldman and, more recently, Paddy Considine have all broken their filmmaking cherry with uncompromisingly tough, bleak subject matter. Considering that it involves abandonment, council estates and the risk of being taken into care, one might be forgiven for expecting the same from Dexter Fletcher's first film, "Wild Bill." But then, Fletcher's best known for being one of the central quartet, alongside Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng and Nick Moran, in Guy Ritchie's debut "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," and for appearing frequently in Matthew Vaughn's pictures, so could Fletcher have turned out some kind of guns and geezers movie instead?

Steven Spielberg Says 'The Adventures Of Tintin' Is "85% Animation, 15% Live Action"

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 16, 2011 10:44 AM
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  • 6 Comments
And More We Learned From Empire Magazine's Feature On The Steven Spielberg Animated AdventureIt's been three and a half years since Steven Spielberg's last movie (and nearly six since his last good one), but the wait is nearly over as "The Adventures of Tintin" (or to give it its full international title, "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn") hits Europe in a few short weeks, and it started screening for press in the last few days, with reviews emerging from London in the last 24 hours. The film, a long-in-the-works performance-capture version of Hergé's boy-detective hero, marks the great director's first entrance into the world of CGI animation, and his 3D debut, and it's looking more and more promising as its release gets closer (check out the clips from the film in case you missed it).

Watch: Excellent, Action-Packed New U.K. Trailer For Steven Spielberg's 'The Adventures of Tintin'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 5, 2011 1:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Even as a big fan of Steven Spielberg, this writer is strangely cool on "War Horse," the director's big awards hopeful this year. The full trailer, of course, debuted yesterday, and it looks handsome, and probably moving, and well-acted, but...there's something that's just not quite connecting there. Maybe it's that the Bearded One has something arriving more imminently that's taking up our focus, such as his long-in-the-works adaptation of "The Adventures of Tintin," which sees Spielberg team up with Peter Jackson to bring Hergé's beloved comic book boy detective to the screen with WETA-enhanced performance capture.

Last-Minute Reshoots Saved James Franco's Character From Death In 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 3, 2011 1:19 AM
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  • 2 Comments
We're not sure that there was a bigger surprise this year than "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes." A tired franchise, from a creative-interference-happy studio, with a green director and a plot straight from "Deep Blue Sea?" Even without the initially unpromising trailers, it looked like a late-summer flop. But happily, it was nothing of the kind: the film became easily the warmest-received blockbusters of the summer, launched director Rupert Wyatt onto the A-list, and has taken an impressive $400 million haul; not bad for a film that allegedly cost less than many of its tentpole competitors. A franchise was (re)born.

Review: Sorry, 'Burke & Hare' Is Simply Not The John Landis Comeback We Were Hoping For

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 11, 2011 10:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
It seems like nowadays, especially in our gimme-gimme-gimme, now-now-now society of instant, hyperlinked gratification, that when a movie’s release is delayed or postponed, that it takes on a mystical dimension of importance and fascination. This leads to endless speculation about why the film hasn’t made its way to (domestic) theaters yet; what’s the reason behind the hold-up? In the in-between time, a new reputation for the film has already been forged, one based on tenuous material and (possibly) overseas reviews. In the case of John Landis’ “Burke & Hare,” which was released almost a year ago in England, the word was that the film was something of a return to form.

Review: 'Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes' Monkeys Around, Showcases Action Over Nuance

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • August 4, 2011 2:19 AM
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  • 3 Comments
When blockbuster films deal with conflict that poses a global threat, the question hangs over them: why is humanity worth saving? It’s the drug-film conundrum: 95 minutes of injections and hard-living make a stronger impression than the therapy and lessons of the remaining 10. Why bother presenting a human population worthy of life, love and discovery when the audience and filmmakers can take more pleasure in annihilating them?

Monkey Vs. Horse: Spoilerific Comic-Con Clip For 'Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes' Picks Up The Pace

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 22, 2011 1:42 AM
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  • 9 Comments
We're still on something of a knife-edge about "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes," two weeks away from the film's release: talented director Rupert Wyatt and performance capture star Andy Serkis have talked a good talk so far, and elements of it have been intriguing, but the trailers for the most part have been a mixed bag. Unsurprisingly, Fox were out in force with the film on Day 1 of Comic-Con yesterday, with both Wyatt and Serkis on hand to talk up the film, and debuting a new clip, focusing on the third-act ape revolution that looks to hold most of the big action. That clip has now made its way online.

Watch: New 'The Hobbit' Video Production Blog Shows First Look At Andy Serkis As Gollum

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 11, 2011 4:42 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Overcoming numerous hurdles, "The Hobbit" is well underway and -- knock on wood -- the production has being moving along smoothly despite the many early bumps in the road to get it rolling. The production has been a pretty open book as far as most tentpole films go, with Peter Jackson actively engaging fans on Facebook, first look photos coming along very early and perhaps the best of the lot, some very well made and incredibly entertaining video production blogs allowing us a peek behind the scenes.

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