Category: Paramount Pictures

Top Five

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Top Five Movie

Andre Allen is a comedian turned film star who, despite the expectations of his millions of fans, is determined to reinvent himself as a “serious” actor. Although his latest pretentiously historical film project is tanking, his upcoming television wedding to pretty, popular reality star, Erica Long, is the biggest media event of the year. In the midst of all the frenzy leading up to his televised nuptials, Andre agrees to be interviewed for the New Yorker by Chelsea Brown, a gorgeous but no-frills young woman with a sharp intelligence that matches his own. It’s a feisty, funny, no-holds-barred interaction that may well change the course of both their lives.

Top Five is an American comedy film written and directed by Chris Rock. The film, which stars Rock, Rosario Dawson, and Gabrielle Union, was screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The movie follows New York City comedian and film star Andre Allen (Rock), who has to confront his past and comedic career after doing an interview with journalist Chelsea Brown (Dawson). The film was released on December 12, 2014, by Paramount Pictures.

Top Five Movie Poster

Top Five

Directed by: Chris Rock
Btarring: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Hayley Marie Norman, Rachel Feinstein, Dan Naturman, Gabrielle Union, Tracy Morgan, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Hart, Ice Aysun Leidl, Olga Merediz
Screenplay by: Chris Rock
Production Design by: Richard Hoover
Cinematography by: Manuel Alberto Claro
Film Editing by: Anne McCabe
Costume Design by: Amy Roth
Set Decoration by: Stephanie Q. Bowen
Art Direction by: Victoria Ruskin
Music by: Ludwig Göransson
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, crude humor, language throughout and some drug use.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: December 12, 2014

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The Gambler

The Gambler Movie

Taglines: Check Mate!

Jim Bennett is a risk taker. Both an English professor and a high-stakes gambler, Bennett bets it all when he borrows from a gangster and offers his own life as collateral. Always one step ahead, Bennett pits his creditor against the operator of a gambling ring and leaves his dysfunctional relationship with his wealthy mother in his wake. He plays both sides, immersing himself in an illicit, underground world while garnering the attention of Frank, a loan shark with a paternal interest in Bennett’s future. As his relationship with a student deepens, Bennett must take the ultimate risk for a second chance…

The Gambler is an American crime drama film directed by Rupert Wyatt. The screenplay by William Monahan is based on the 1974 film, written by James Toback. The remake, starring Mark Wahlberg as the titular character, premiered on November 10, 2014 at the AFI Fest, and was theatrically released in the United States on December 25, 2014.

The Gambler Movie - Brie Larson

About the Story

Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a literature professor with a severe gambling addiction caused by his view of the world as either having it all or having nothing. He ends up owing $240,000 to Lee (Alvin Ing), the proprietor of an underground gambling ring, and another $50,000 to Neville Baraka (Michael K. Williams), a loan shark. Lee gives Bennett seven days to pay off his debts or be murdered. During one of his classes, he identifies student Amy Phillips (Brie Larson) as a potential writing prodigy, points out Dexter (Emory Cohen) as a genius tennis star, and confronts Lamar Allen (Anthony Kelley), a student who does not pay attention in class and intends to become an NBA basketball player.

Bennett considers borrowing money from Frank (John Goodman), another loan shark, to consolidate his debts and buy himself some time, but refuses to do so after Frank demands he admit that he is not a man. Bennett convinces his mother Roberta (Jessica Lange) to give him enough money to pay off his debts, but during a night out with Amy he gambles it all away. Baraka kidnaps and confronts Bennett, forcing him into an ultimatum—if he does not convince Lamar to win one of his college basketball games by a margin of 7 points or less, he will murder Amy.

The Gambler Movie

Bennett goes to Frank, who advises him to adopt a “fuck you” attitude towards life by getting enough money to be completely free, and lends him $260,000 to pay his debt to Lee. Bennett convinces Lee to stake him $150,000, as the only way he can pay his full $410,000 debt to Lee and also pay back the money he borrowed from Frank is to gamble and win. He uses the money from Lee to bribe Lamar into keeping the point spread to under 8 in the basketball game.

Bennett sends Dexter to Vegas to bet on the game with the $260,000 he got from Frank. Lamar succeeds in the scheme, and Bennett uses his winnings to pay his debt to Baraka, denying he knows anything about the large bet made in Vegas. He then convinces Lee and Frank to meet him in a neutral gambling den and wagers enough money to pay both Lee and Frank off—if he wins—on a roulette spin. Successful, he walks out, stating he was playing for Frank and Lee.

The Gambler Movie Poster

The Gambler

Directed by: Rupert Wyatt
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Michael K. Williams, Jessica Lange, Sonya Walger, Caitlin O’Connor, Erika Jordan, Anne McDaniels, Anita Liao
Screenplay by: William Monahan
Production Design by: Keith P. Cunningham
Cinematography by: Greig Fraser
Film Editing by: Pete Beaudreau
Costume Design by: Jacqueline West
Set Decoration by: Maggie Martin
Art Direction by: Dawn Swiderski
Music by: Jon Brion, Theo Green
R for language throughout, and for some sexuality / nudity
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: December 19, 2014

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Interstellar

Interstellar Movie

Taglines: The end of Earth will not be the end of us.

When a wormhole (which can theoretically connect widely separated regions of spacetime) is discovered, explorers and scientists unite to embark on a voyage through it, transcending the normal limits of human space travel. Among the travellers is a widowed engineer (McConaughey) who must decide whether to leave his two children behind to join the voyage and attempt to save humanity from an environmentally devastated Earth.

Interstellar is a science fiction film directed by Christopher Nolan. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine, the film features a team of space travelers who travel through a wormhole. It was written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, who combined his idea with an existing script by his brother that was developed in 2007 for Paramount Pictures and producer Lynda Obst. Nolan is producing the film with Obst and Emma Thomas. Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, whose works inspired the film, acted as both an executive producer and a scientific consultant for the film.

Interstellar Movie - Anne Hathaway

Directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy), the production will travel the globe and utilize a mixture of 35mm anamorphic and IMAX film photography to bring to the screen a script based on the combination of an original idea by Nolan and an existing script by Jonathan Nolan, originally developed for Paramount Pictures and producer Lynda Obst. The new script chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

Warner Bros., who produced and distributed some of Nolan’s previous films, negotiated with Paramount, traditionally a rival studio, to have a financial stake in Interstellar. Legendary Pictures, which formerly partnered with Warner Bros., also sought a stake. The three companies co-financed the film, and the production companies Syncopy and Lynda Obst Productions were enlisted.

Interstellar Movie

Warner Bros., who produced and distributed some of Nolan’s previous films, negotiated with Paramount, traditionally a rival studio, to have a financial stake in Interstellar. Legendary Pictures, which formerly partnered with Warner Bros., also sought a stake. The three companies co-financed the film, and the production companies Syncopy and Lynda Obst Productions were enlisted.

The director also hired cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema since his long-time collaborator Wally Pfister was busy working on Transcendence, his directorial debut. Interstellar was filmed with a combination of anamorphic 35mm and IMAX film photography. Filming took place in the last quarter of 2013 in locations in the province of Alberta, Canada, in southern Iceland, and in Los Angeles, California. The visual effects company Double Negative created visual effects for Interstellar.

Interstellar is scheduled for a limited release in North America (United States and Canada) on November 5, 2014 and a wide release on November 7, 2014. It will also be released in Belgium, France and Switzerland on November 5, 2014 and in additional territories in the following days, including the United Kingdom on November 7, 2014.

For the limited release in North America, it will be released in 70 mm and 35 mm film formats in approximately 240 theaters which still project the formats, including at least 41 70 mm IMAX theaters. For the wide release, it will expand to theaters that will show it in digital format. Paramount Pictures will distribute the film in North America, and Warner Bros. will distribute it in the remaining territories.

The director also hired cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema since his long-time collaborator Wally Pfister was busy working on Transcendence, his directorial debut. Interstellar was filmed with a combination of anamorphic 35mm and IMAX film photography. Filming took place in the last quarter of 2013 in locations in the province of Alberta, Canada, in southern Iceland, and in Los Angeles, California. The visual effects company Double Negative created visual effects for Interstellar.

Interstellar Movie Poster

Interstellar

Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Casey Affleck, Collette Wolfe, Topher Grace
Screenplay by: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Production Design by: Nathan Crowley
Cinematography by: Hoyte Van Hoytema
Film Editing by: Lee Smith
Costume Design by: Mary Zophres
Set Decoration by: Gary Fettis
Music by: Hans Zimmer
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: November 7, 2014

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Men, Women and Children

Men, Women and Children Movie

Taglines: Discover how little you know about the people you know.

Men, Women and Children follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. The film attempts to stare down social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame hunting, and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose – some tragic, some hopeful – as it becomes clear that no one is immune to this enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets, and our computers.

Men, Women & Children is an American comedy-drama film directed by Jason Reitman co-written with Erin Cressida Wilson, based on a novel of the same name written by Chad Kultgen. Featuring an ensemble cast, with Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Adam Sandler, Ansel Elgort, and Kaitlyn Dever, the film screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, 2014. The film opened in limited release on October 1, and expanded on October 10, and had a wide release on October 17.

Men, Women and Children Movie

About the Story

The Voyager Space Probe flies past the planets in our solar system. The narrator explains that the Voyager has gold records filled with international music, pictures and greetings from Earth.

Don and Helen Truby are a married couple stuck in a rut, their attempts at sex leaving them unsatisfied. Their son Chris is the quarterback of the high school’s football team and a porn addict so accustomed to extreme forms of sex that the prospect of normal sex doesn’t excite him. Helen seeks an extra-marital affair through the website Ashley Madison, while Don finds an escort service while looking at porn. Chris has been trying to have sex with cheerleader Hannah Clint, but their first attempt ends in failure when Chris can’t maintain an erection.

Hannah nevertheless tells everyone at school they had sex to save face. Both Don and Helen continue their extra-marital liaisons until Don discovers Helen’s Ashley Madison profile. He follows her to a hotel bar where she’s having one of her dates and orders a drink in front of her to let her know he’s aware of her activities. The following morning, Helen comes home to try and explain herself to Don, who’s trying to make breakfast for her. Don tells her he’s made the same mistakes as her and would rather make her breakfast than discuss the details of their activities.

Men, Women and Children Movie

In addition to cheerleading Hannah is an aspiring actress who maintains a website of provocative photoshoots of herself with the help of her mother Joan, a failed actress determined to help her daughter achieve the life she never had. A reality show comes to their local mall to do auditions for aspiring young starlets and Hannah and Joan jump at the opportunity to sign up.

Hannah gives them headshots and demo reels of her acting, but Joan receives a call from the show’s producers that, despite being impressed with Hannah’s material, they won’t be accepting her due to the provocative photoshoots she’s done which can draw the wrong kind of attention. Joan decides to delete the website and tells Hannah they will pursue an acting career through other means, but Hannah becomes upset and runs away.

Allison Doss is a fellow cheerleader who is on a website that helps with extreme dieting. She becomes attracted to Brandon Lender and has sex with with him one afternoon. Someday later, she collapses on the bathroom floor at school and is rushed to the hospital, where the doctor tells her and her parents that she had an ectopic pregnancy and suffered a miscarriage due to her malnourishment. She tells Brandon about the incident, who tells her not to tell anyone and asks her to come over to his house after the championship game. She goes over to his house only to throw a rock through his window and leave.

Men, Women and Children Movie

Tim Mooney is a former football star who quit the team in the wake of his mother leaving him and his dad Kent to go to California with her new boyfriend. Tim has since become a pariah at school and spends most of his time playing an MMORPG named “Guild Wars”, while having adopted philosophies of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot and the insignificance of human life in the universe. Tim comes across photos of her mom getting engaged to her boyfriend on Facebook, but when he tells other users on the game, they make lewd comments toward her.

Tim’s mom notices him looking at the photos and blocks him from seeing them. Tim gets into a fight at school with another classmate and is sent to a counselor, who prescribes him anti-depressant medication after hearing Tim’s feelings about human life. Kent, in the meantime, starts a relationship with Joan, but asks to take it slow after she tells him about what she’s done with Hannah. Kent sees the comments on Tim’s game about his mom and promptly cancels his game account and the credit card payments, saying he will rejoin the team next year.

Men, Women and Children Movie Poster

Men, Women and Children

Directed by: Jason Reitman
Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Emma Thompson, Olivia Crocicchia, Kaitlyn Dever, Katherine C. Hughes, Elena Kampouris
Screenplay by: Chad Kultgen, Jason Reitman, Erin Cressida Wilson
Production Design by: Bruce Curtis
Cinematography by: Eric Steelberg
Film Editing by: Dana E. Glauberman
Costume Design by: Leah Katznelson
Set Decoration by: Brana Rosenfeld
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue throughout-some involving teens, and for language.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: October 3, 2014

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Megan Fox

Taglines: The city needs heroes.

Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O’Neil and her cameraman Vern Fenwick to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a 2014 American science fiction action comedy film based on the franchise of the same name. A reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film series, the film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, and stars Megan Fox, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, William Fichtner, and Will Arnett.

The film was announced shortly before Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird sold the rights to the franchise to Nickelodeon in 2009. It was produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Michael Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film was released on August 8, 2014 and received generally negative reviews, but was a box office success, grossing over $353 million worldwide. A sequel is scheduled to be released on June 3, 2016.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

About the Story

April O’Neil is a reporter for Channel 6 news in New York who has been researching a gang called the Foot Clan which has been terrorizing the city. She questions a dock worker about shipments of chemicals that may be linked to the Foot Clan. April eventually learns that something is being brought in by the docks. That night, she returns and sees the Foot Clan unloading cargo. April tries to record footage using her phone, but a shadowy figure arrives and takes out the Foot Soldiers one by one. She tells her coworkers and her boss Bernadette Thompson, but no one believes her story.

The Foot Clan next attacks a subway station. April rushes to the scene, hoping to encounter the vigilante or find evidence confirming his existence. She sees four figures this time, who disappear after defeating the Foot Clan. She follows them to a rooftop and tries to photograph them. The Turtles Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael notice her and delete the camera’s images, warning her not to divulge their existence. She asks them who they are as they leave, and they say, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

April runs home and opens a box filled with documents, pictures, and July 1999 videos on “Project Renaissance”, which involved her now-deceased father. She notices that the turtles she cared for from her father’s laboratory fifteen years earlier seem similar to the Ninja Turtles. She recalls that her father was developing some type of mutagen. She continues researching and eventually realizes that the Ninja Turtles are the turtles from the laboratory.

Once again, she tries to convince Bernadette Thompson that the Turtles are real. Bernadette becomes so infuriated that she fires April. April tries telling her cameraman Vern Fenwick about them, but he does not believe her either. He does agree to take her to the old laboratory, though. There she finds her father’s lab partner Eric Sacks.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Poster

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Tony Shalhoub, Madison Mason
Screenplay by: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec
Production Design by: Neil Spisak
Cinematography by: Lula Carvalho
Film Editing by: Joel Negron, Glen Scantlebury
Costume Design by: Sarah Edwards
Set Decoration by: Debra Schutt
Music by: Brian Tyler
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: August 8, 2014

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Into the Storm

Into the Storm Movie

Taglines: There is no calm before the storm.

In the span of a single day, the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones, even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come. Most people seek shelter, while others run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot. Told through the eyes and lenses of professional storm chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs, and courageous townspeople, Into the Storm throws you directly into the eye of the storm to experience Mother Nature at her most extreme.

Into the Storm is an American found footage disaster film directed by Steven Quale, written by John Swetnam, and starring Richard Armitage. The film was released on August 8, 2014.

About the Story

A group of high school students are in a car together as a storm is brewing. When the storm gets worse, the kids look up ahead and see a tornado approaching. A girl begs for them to go, but the boy recording on a camera gets out to video tape the tornado. He gets back in the car, but the tornado picks them up before they can escape, killing them all.

In the town of Silverton, Oklahoma, the local high school senior class is preparing for graduation. The high school’s vice-principal, Gary Fuller, has asked his two sons, Trey and Donnie, to record messages from the seniors for a time capsule to be opened in 25 years. Elsewhere, Pete, a veteran storm chaser, has been attempting to intercept and film tornadoes using a heavily armored vehicle nicknamed Titus, but has come up short all year long.

Upon learning of a major line of developing storms, the chasers confer and decide to head for Silverton in hopes of filming tornadoes. After arriving in Silverton, the team discovers that the cell they had been chasing has dissipated, upsetting Pete. As the team reconvenes to determine its next move, the Silverton cell abruptly strengthens, resulting in a hailstorm and tornado. As the team films, the funnel abruptly shifts course and heads for the high school.

At the high school, the senior students are participating in commencement ceremonies when the weather suddenly sours. Moments later, the tornado sirens sound, and the students are subsequently marshaled into the school building by the head principal and his staff. In the aftermath of the tornado, shaken students emerge from the damaged building to view the destruction, while Gary sets out to rescue his eldest son, who had gone to an abandoned paper mill to help a friend with a project; both were subsequently trapped when the tornado brought the building down on them.

Into the Storm Movie Poster

Into the Storm

Directed by: Steven Quale
Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Arlen Escarpeta
Written by: John Swetnam
Cinematography by: Brian Pearson
Edited by: Eric A. Sears
Production Design by: David Sandefur
Cinematography by: Brian Pearson
Film Editing by: Eric A. Sears
Costume Design by: Kimberly Adams-Galligan
Set Decoration by: Brana Rosenfeld
Music by: Brian Tyler
MPAA RatingB PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references.
Release Date: August 8, 2014

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Hercules

Hercules Movie

Taglines: Before he was a legend, he was a man.

Haunted by a sin from his past, Hercules has become a mercenary. Along with five faithful companions, he travels ancient Greece selling his services for gold and using his legendary reputation to intimidate enemies. But when the benevolent ruler of Thrace and his daughter seek Hercules’ help to defeat a savage and terrifying warlord, Hercules finds that in order for good to triumph and justice to prevail… he must again become the hero he once was… he must embrace his own myth… he must be Hercules.

Hercules is an American adventure film directed by Brett Ratner and starring Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Reece Ritchie, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Joseph Fiennes, and John Hurt. It is based on the graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars. Distributed jointly by Paramount Pictures and MGM, it was released on July 25, 2014. It is one of two Hollywood-studio Hercules films released in 2014, the other being Summit Entertainment’s The Legend of Hercules.

Hercules Movie - Barbara Palvin

An Ageless Myth

The immortal legend of Hercules — the demigod renowned for his mighty deeds and valor – gets a high-adrenaline 21st century makeover as director Brett Ratner and leading action star Dwayne Johnson bring Hercules to life in a modern incarnation … as a man struggling to live up to his own lore in a world of fearsome villainy.

This version of Hercules is an icon who has vanquished lions and hellhounds, and is publicly feared and revered as a super-human champion; but deep within, he remains wounded by tragedy and uncertain of his legacy. Accompanied by five faithful companions, he travels the empire selling his services for gold and using his formidable reputation to intimidate his enemies. But when the benevolent ruler of neighboring Thrace and his daughter seek Hercules’ help to defeat a terrifying warlord, Hercules can no longer skate by on the folklore surrounding him.

He must learn to embrace his own myth and become the hero people believe in. Says Dwayne Johnson: “Making a movie about Hercules has been a passion project of mine for a very, very, very long time. He’s a character who over the centuries has been an inspiration to many, myself included. But this time, we wanted to give audiences a Hercules they’ve never seen before. When we meet Hercules in this movie, he’s an exile suffering with regrets, fighting only for gold. He has to overcome his demons and find his heart to become the man people want him to be.”

“What’s different about our Hercules is that he is a regular man who has disavowed the fact that he’s the son of a Greek god,” adds Brett Ratner. “Every legend starts with a true story and when I read the script based on the graphic novel Hercules – The Thracian Wars, what blew me away is that it was so grounded in a reality you could feel. That’s what I wanted to bring to the screen.”

Hercules Movie - Dwayne Johnson

For Ratner, no stranger to high-octane screen action from the “Rush Hour” series to “X-Men: Last Stand,” , taking on “Hercules” would mean working on his most epic scale yet – but also zeroing in on Hercules’ place in an era of potent anti-heroes. “This is a story full of constant action, humor and kickass battles, which everyone loves seeing. But I hope people will also walk out of the movie feeling the power of Hercules’ belief,” says the director.

The inspiration for re-imagining Hercules began with the Radical Studios comic book series Hercules: The Thracian Wars, in which British comics writer Steve Moore thrilled readers with the story of a self-doubting fallen hero seeking redemption. Even in the earliest stages, Radical co-founders Barry Levine and Jesse Berger hoped the visually ambitious graphic novel would make the leap to the screen – and break the mold of movies based on classic mythology, which are so often steeped in fantasy or even animated.

The graphic novel first spiked the interest of Johnson during a visit to the Radical offices. “Their comic book was a unique take on Hercules that grabbed all of our attention,” recalls the star. “They took all the cool mythologies of Hercules and tweaked them in a way that gave the story a contemporary power. It was a Hercules audiences aren’t yet familiar with.”

Soon after, Ratner joined the project and Radical Comics was thrilled with the synergy. “It turned out that Brett was a Hercules fan from since he was a little kid,” Levine recalls. “He brought in an unbridled enthusiasm and passion, and started coming up with incredible ideas.”

Those ideas merged with the work of screenwriters Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos, who put Hercules right in the thick of a volatile time of shifting alliances, military conquests, tribal unrest and imperial ambitions. It’s a world in need of mythic powers, but Hercules isn’t exactly convinced he has them to spare.

“The screenplay deconstructed the myth of Hercules,” Flynn observes. “He has completely rejected the famous legends about himself – and you see that he is someone close to giving up. But he has one last chance to cleanse his demons and become whole again.”

With Johnson cast as Hercules, the screenplay took on new dimensions. “Once Dwayne came aboard, we really started bringing out the fun and charisma of Hercules,” explains Spiliotopoulos. “We wanted the audience to enjoy Dwayne’s humor, his charm, and the thrill of a summer action movie about Hercules.”

Summarizes Johnson: “For me, the tone of ‘Hercules’ had to be right on the money, it had to find that balance between humor, heart, and big, epic action – and I think we were able to do that and ground the story in characters who are a lot of fun. I wanted Hercules to have a cool charm, and to be everything physically that people always imagined he would be.”

Back to B.C.

To bring audiences back to the B.C. era of fabled Greek heroes in an exciting, modern way, Brett Ratner decided early on he would go old school – building epic sets from scratch. In search of the square footage to pull off such a feat, the production journeyed to the Origio Film Studios in Hungary, where “Hercules” would use all seven of their soundstages as well as a vast backlot.

“Brett was adamant from the beginning that he wanted epic, memorable sets,” Beau Flynn recalls, “and shooting in Budapest really allowed us to go for it.”

Adds Ratner: “We were able to create incredible battle sequences on a scale I never dreamed you could shoot, let alone survive, with horses, chariots and hundreds of warriors.”

The experience was often surreal as hundreds of Greek soldiers marched to the set carrying their shields, followed by tattooed, bald Bessi warriors bearing fearsome blades, and then teams of horses pulling chariots. For many, the feeling was of being transported in a time machine.

“Every set was like something out of Cecil B. DeMille, with that kind of scope,” recalls Rufus Sewell. “It makes a big difference to actors because you’re reacting to a real environment.”

Ratner also recruited a crack creative team. “These were all people I had dreamed of working with in the past and I finally had that chance,” says the director.

Heading the team was Ratner’s long-time collaborator, cinematographer Dante Spinotti, a two-time Oscar nominee for “The Insider” and “LA Confidential.” “Dante makes you forget that the camera exists,” says Ratner. “He really invites you into Hercules’ world.”

The duo also worked closely with production designer Jean-Vincent Puzos, who most recently worked with Michael Haneke on the Academy Award-winning “Amour.” “Jean-Vincent and I talked about “Hercules” for over a year before production,” explains Ratner. “He came up with amazing designs that always brought a new and fascinating slant. It was his idea to get away from the classic white marble look — and the dark, textured look he created works so well for our story.”

The centerpiece of Puzos’ design was the Bessi village of Thrace, which becomes the site of a ferocious battle. He had one goal: to make it feel as alive as any neighborhood in the 21st century. We built the houses with wood, stone, and mud,” explains set decorator Tina Jones. “Jean-Vincent wanted it to be gritty and dirty. He wanted you to be able to almost smell how awful it was.”

On a soundstage at Origio Studios, Puzos fabricated another colossal set: Cotys’ courtyard citadel rising like a phoenix, and featuring a magnificent altar to the goddess Hera atop a huge staircase lined with flame-filled braziers. Here, the classical white marble beauty of Hera contrasted dramatically with the grittiness of the rest of the set. “I decided to paint all the wood red. In Greece they used to paint everything in bull’s blood because it is very dense. It connected everything to the primitive feeling that the bull was protecting the people,” says Puzos.

Ratner was gratified by the work of Puzos and his team. “The citadel set looked and felt real, and the audience will feel that when they watch the film,” he says.

The piece de resistance for Puzos was the dungeon set, where Hercules is chained and taunted by King Eurystheus and Cotys. “I think it is the most impressive of all the sets,” he says, “because of the patterns we created with the stones, the fire and the green river of sulfur.”

Jones had a lot of fun with it. “We had cages full of skeletons, an executioner’s block and chains everywhere,” she says. “It takes you to a shocking place.”

Hercules in Battle

Though Brett Ratner is a veteran of high-style modern action, having collaborated closely with Jackie Chan for years, this film would take him into fresh territory. He aimed to create fierce, primal fights that might come out of myth, but feel like they are happening right this moment.

Ratner recruited a formidable team to work with the cast, headed by second unit director Alexander Witt, stunt coordinator Greg Powell and fight coordinator Allan Poppleton, who in turn brought in daring stunt performers from England, Canada, New Zealand, Hungary, Slovakia, and Bulgaria, as well as a group of sensationally skilled horsemen from Spain headed up by Ricardo Cruz Sr.

As soon as Powell read the script, he started thinking about just how enormous Hercules’ strength might be. “He’s not supernatural,” notes Powell, “but he is a big guy, probably twice as big as I am, so if I can throw someone six feet, then he can throw them twelve. I worked on that principle throughout the fight sequences.”

He then began working closely both with Ratner and Johnson to develop Hercules’ distinctive fighting style. Despite having just recovered from surgery, Johnson insisted on doing all his fights himself and immediately started training with the Hercules’ club and hefty sword. “Dwayne is massive, so we incorporated his size and all wrestling skill into Hercules’ style,” explains Poppleton. “He was very hand-on with ideas – for example, coming up with his own methods of using the club.”

“He needed to wield this thing like the back of his hand,” says Johnson of the wooden club Hercules employs with deadly aplomb, “because it has been his weapon of choice over the years.”

Powell and Poppleton worked with the cast for a month prior to shooting. The culmination of all their work would come to a boil in the tricky battle between Hercules, his mercenary band, the Cotys Army and the Bessi warriors who breach the wall and start wreaking total havoc.

“What was unusual is that Brett wanted the Cotys army to be ill-trained in that battle, so that Hercules realizes that he needs to whip them into shape,” Poppleton explains. “At the same time, he wanted the Bessi warriors to be crazy, berserk, almost animalistic kinds of creatures.”

“The Bessis come in strangling, punching, and kicking anyone in sight,” adds Powell, “and our boys did an amazing job there.”

Says Johnson: “The Bessi battle is an epic, epic fight with a unique twist – and it becomes a defining moment for Hercules and his band.”

Throughout filming, the production was able to work with horses that had been carefully trained over many months to fall in battle and other teams trained to haul the chariots driven by Hercules and his band. Four magnificent black Friesians thrilled cast and crew as they pulled Hercules’ chariot, nostrils flaring, manes flying, and shiny black flanks gleaming in the sun.

Driving the chariots was another ancient skill that had to be mastered by cast members – and took 6 weeks of daily training to master the balance. Ian McShane says that it was a unique test. “I ride horses, I love horses, but driving a chariot is something completely different,” he remarks.

Between the chariots and ancient weaponry and graphic choreography, the action was so challenging on “Hercules,” it kept all the actors and stuntmen on their toes. But for Dwayne Johnson, it’s the way Hercules comes to approach his battles that explains his endless appeal. “Hercules might get knocked down, but then he comes back stronger, and that’s a lot like how life is. We all come back after a fall and we come back stronger. We’ve all got a little Hercules in us.”

Hercules Movie Poster

Hercules

Directed by: Brett Ratner
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie, Rebecca Ferguson, Barbara Palvin
Screenplay by: Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Production Design by: Jean-Vincent Puzos
Cinematography by: Dante Spinotti
Film Editing by: Mark Helfrich, Julia Wong
Costume Design by: Jany Temime
Set Decoration by: Tina Jones
Music by: Fernando Velázquez, Johannes Vogel
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for epic battle sequences, violence, suggestive comments, brief strong language and partial nudity.
Studio: Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Paramount Picturs
Release Date: July 25th, 2014

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Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Nicola Peltz

This is not war. It’s extinction.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is a science fiction action film based on the Transformers franchise. It is the fourth installment of the live-action Transformers film series and stars Mark Wahlberg in the lead role. A sequel to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the film takes place five years later, after the Decepticon invasion of Chicago. Like its predecessors, the film is directed by Michael Bay and executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

Ehren Kruger is the film’s screenwriter, having written every Transformers film since Revenge of the Fallen. The film features an entirely new cast of human characters and is the first in the series to feature the Dinobots. Returning Transformers include Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Leadfoot, Brains, and Megatron (now known as Galvatron). The film was released on June 27, 2014, in IMAX and 3D.

As humanity picks up the pieces, following the conclusion of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet. However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control – all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets Earth in his crosshairs. The epic adventure and battle between good and evil, freedom and enslavement ensues.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

About the Story

Sixty-five million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, beings known as the “Creators” detonate “Seeds”, bombs that cyberform large areas of land, wiping out most life on Earth. In the present, a geologist named Darcy Tyril discovers a dinosaur corpse covered in a strange metal in the Arctic.

Five years have passed since the Battle of Chicago and humanity has grown fearful of Transformers. The U.S. military has severed joint combat operations with the Autobots. While officially the Autobots are granted sanctuary, secretly, even without the U.S. President’s knowledge, Cemetery Wind, an elite CIA unit headed by paranoid agent Harold Attinger and team leader James Savoy, tasked with hunting down the remaining Decepticons, is also secretly hunting down Autobots, believing them to be a threat, and have murdered most of them. With the aid of the Transformer bounty hunter Lockdown, they ambush and brutally kill Ratchet. Their primary target, however, is Optimus Prime, whom Lockdown personally wants alive.

Meanwhile in rural Texas, Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor, and his friend Lucas buy an old truck to strip it for parts in hopes of sending Cade’s daughter Tessa to college. Cade soon discovers that the truck is an injured Optimus Prime and repairs him. After locating Optimus in Texas, Cemetery Wind and Lockdown travel there and confront Cade, Tessa, and Lucas. Optimus comes out of hiding and attacks the operatives, allowing Cade and his friends to escape.

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Nicola Peltz

They are saved by Tessa’s secret boyfriend, Shane Dyson, with whom they escape, though Lucas is killed by Lockdown’s grenade. While in hiding, tensions between Cade, his daughter and Shane rise due to the fact that the two teenagers kept their relationship secret. Optimus, meanwhile rallies the last remaining Autobots: Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs. Cade hacks into a drone he took from the attack in Texas, and learns that Cemetery Wind is working with a corporation called KSI. They decide to infiltrate KSI headquarters in Chicago for information.

Meanwhile, Joshua Joyce, the head of KSI, shows Tyril that he has perfected transformium, the codeable, molecularly unstable metal that the Transformers are composed of. He has imprisoned Brains to decode dead Transformers’ brains and utilize their data for human-created Transformers. He shows Tyril his prized creation, Galvatron, who was created using data from Megatron’s brain. Optimus and the Autobots storm the facility, free Brains, and start to destroy the facility. Joyce stops them, and when he explains that humans don’t need the Autobots anymore, now that they can create their own Transformer soldiers, the Autobots leave.

Transformers: Age of Extinction Poster

Transformers: Age of Extinction Poster

Transformers: Age of Extinction
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci, T.J. Miller, Sophia Myles, Kelsey Grammer, Melanie Specht
Screenplay by: Ehren Kruger
Production Design by: Jeffrey Beecroft
Cinematography by: Amir Mokri
Film Editing by: Roger Barton, William Goldenberg, Paul Rubell
Costume Design by: Marie-Sylvie Deveau
Set Decoration by: Rosemary Brandenburg, Missy Parker
Music by: Steve Jablonsky
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: June 27, 2014

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One Chance

One Chance Movie

Taglines: You never know how far a dream will take you.

One Chance is a British biographical comedy-drama film about Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts,[4] directed by David Frankel and written by Justin Zackham. It was screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

From the director of The Devil Wears Prada, One Chance is the remarkable and inspirational true story of Paul Potts, a shy, bullied shop assistant by day and an amateur opera singer by night. Paul became an instant YouTube phenomenon after being chosen by Simon Cowell for Britain’s Got Talent. Wowing audiences worldwide with his phenomenal voice, Paul went on to win Britain’s Got Talent and the hearts of millions. Fresh from celebrating his Tony Award-winning Broadway run in One Man, Two Guvnors, BAFTA winner James Corden stars as Paul Potts.

One Chance Movie Poster

One Chance

Directed by: David Frankel
Starring: Jemima Rooper, James Corden, Julie Walters, Colm Meaney, Mackenzie Crook
Screenplay by: Justin Zackham
Production Design by: Martin Childs
Cinematography by: Florian Ballhaus
Film Editing by: Wendy Greene Bricmont
Costume Design by: Colleen Kelsall
Set Decoration by: Celia Bobak
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language and sexual mater.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: February 21, 2014

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Taglines: In heroes we trust.

Two years after the events of The Avengers, Steve Rogers resides peacefully in Washington, D.C., struggling to adapt to contemporary society. However, after a S.H.I.E.L.D. compatriot is assailed, Steve becomes entangled in a mystery that may endanger the globe. Together with Natasha Romanoff, Captain America attempts to uncover the growing machination while fending off hired hit men. When the entire scheme is discovered, Captain America and the Black Widow must recruit the aid of the Falcon and soon encounter an unanticipated and powerful adversary — the Winter Soldier.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is intended to be the sequel to 2011′s Captain America: The First Avenger and the ninth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The film was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America and the Black Widow join forces to stop a covert enemy that is hiding in Washington, D.C.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

About the Story

Two years after the Battle of New York, Steve Rogers works in Washington D.C. for the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. under Director Nick Fury, while adjusting to contemporary society. Rogers and Agent Natasha Romanoff are sent with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team, led by Agent Rumlow, to free hostages aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from Georges Batroc and his mercenaries.

Mid-mission, Rogers discovers Romanoff has another agenda: to extract data from the ship’s computers for Fury. Rogers returns to the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s headquarters to confront Fury and is briefed about Project Insight: three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites, designed to preemptively eliminate threats. Unable to decrypt the data recovered by Romanoff, Fury becomes suspicious about Insight and asks senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce to delay the project.

On his way to rendezvous with Maria Hill, Fury is ambushed by assailants led by a mysterious assassin called the Winter Soldier. Fury escapes to Rogers’s apartment, and warns Rogers that S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised. After handing Rogers a flash drive containing data from the ship, Fury is gunned down by the Winter Soldier. Fury dies in surgery, and Hill recovers the body. The next day, Pierce summons Rogers to the Triskelion. When Rogers withholds Fury’s information, Pierce brands him a fugitive.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Scarlett Johansson

Hunted by S.T.R.I.K.E., Rogers meets with Romanoff. Using data in the flash drive they discover a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker in New Jersey, where they activate a supercomputer containing the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola. Zola reveals that ever since S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II, Hydra has secretly operated within its ranks, sowing global chaos with the goal that humanity would willingly surrender its freedom in exchange for security. The pair narrowly escape death when a S.H.I.E.L.D. missile destroys the bunker.

Rogers and Romanoff enlist the help of former USAF pararescueman Sam Wilson, whom Rogers befriended, and acquire his powered “Falcon” wingpack. Deducing that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell is a Hydra mole, they force him to divulge that Zola developed a data-mining algorithm that can identify individuals who might become future threats to Hydra’s plans.

The Insight Helicarriers will sweep the globe, using satellite-guided guns to eliminate these individuals. Rogers, Romanoff, and Wilson are ambushed by the Winter Soldier, who kills Sitwell. During the fight, Rogers recognizes the Winter Soldier as Bucky Barnes, his friend who was captured and experimented upon during WWII. Hill manages to extract the trio to a safehouse where Fury, who had faked his death, is waiting with plans to sabotage the Helicarriers by replacing their controller chips.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

After the World Security Council members arrive for the Helicarriers’ launch, Rogers broadcasts Hydra’s plot to everyone at the Triskelion. Romanoff, disguised as one of the Council members, disarms Pierce. Fury arrives and forces Pierce to unlock S.H.I.E.L.D’s database so that Romanoff can leak classified information, exposing Hydra to the public. Following a struggle, Fury shoots Pierce dead. Meanwhile, Rogers and Wilson storm two Helicarriers and replace the controller chips, but the Winter Soldier destroys Wilson’s suit and fights Rogers on the third. Rogers fends him off and replaces the final chip, allowing Hill to take control and have the vessels destroy each other.

Rogers refuses to fight the Winter Soldier in an attempt to reach his friend, but as the ship collides with the Triskelion, Rogers is thrown out into the Potomac River. The Winter Soldier rescues the unconscious Rogers before disappearing into the woods. With S.H.I.E.L.D. in disarray, Romanoff appears before a Senate subcommittee and Fury, under the cover of his apparent death, heads to Eastern Europe in pursuit of Hydra’s remaining cells. Rogers and Wilson decide to find the Winter Soldier, while Rumlow, who was a double agent for Hydra, is hospitalized following the Triskelion’s destruction.

In a mid-credits scene, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, at a Hydra lab, proclaims that the “age of miracles” has begun as scientists examine an energy-filled scepter1 and two prisoners: one with superhuman speed, the other with telekinetic powers. In a post-credits scene, the Winter Soldier visits a Bucky memorial at the Smithsonian Institution.

Filming Captain America

Principal photography began on April 1, 2013, at the Raleigh Manhattan Beach Studios in Los Angeles, under the working title Freezer Burn. Scenes taking place on the “Lemurian Star” were filmed on the Sea Launch Commander, docked in Long Beach, California. In early May, Dominic Cooper confirmed he would return as Howard Stark. On May 14, 2013, production moved to Washington, D.C. with filming taking place at the National Mall and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. The following day, Garry Shandling was spotted on set reprising his Iron Man 2 role of Senator Stern. Other filming locations in Washington, D.C. included the Willard Hotel and Dupont Circle.

Filming in Cleveland began on May 17 and was scheduled to last until mid-June with locations scheduled on the West Shoreway, the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights and the Lakeview Cemetery Dam. Cleveland was chosen as a stand-in for Washington, D.C, with the city’s East 6th Street doubling as 7th and D Streets in Southwest D.C. Other locations in Cleveland included the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland State University, the Cleveland Arcade, Tower City Center, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Western Reserve Historical Society. Interior shots were also filmed inside private homes and the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Tremont. Filming in Cleveland concluded on June 27, 2013.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, Jenny Agutter
Screenplay by: Ed Brubaker, Jack Kirby, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Joe Simon
Production Design by: Peter Wenham
Cinematography by: Trent Opaloch
Film Editing by: Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt
Costume Design by: Judianna Makovsky
Set Decoration by: Leslie A. Pope
Music by: Henry Jackman
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout.
Studio: Paramount Pictures, Marvel Pictures
Release Date: April 4, 2014

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