‘Jurassic World’ director: Colin Trevorrow
Colin Trevorrow, whose low-budget, time-travel-themed indie Safety Not Guaranteed won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, will direct the 3D, sure-to-be mega-budgeted Jurassic Park fourquel Jurassic Park 4 (update: renamed Jurassic World).
But why Colin Trevorrow for Jurassic Park 4? Well, at this stage it’s impossible to say why specifically Trevorrow. However, his handling of a character-driven sci-fier involving time travel likely played a role in his selection. Just as likely, Trevorrow was cheaper than bigger names. And finally, and this is probably the most important issue here: Trevorrow, whose quirky Safety Not Guaranteed was quite well received, may bring to the increasingly paleozoic (i.e., old and stale and less box office friendly) Jurassic Park franchise some much-needed directorial freshness.
According to Deadline.com‘s Mike Fleming, who doesn’t name any sources in his piece, Colin Trevorrow “met with the studio and filmmakers [one assumes that means Jurassic Park 4 executive producer Steven Spielberg, and producers Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley], and they felt he was a good match for the material, having grown up a huge fan of the trilogy and part of a new generation of directors steeped in all things dinosaur. They felt he would preserve and protect the characters in the story they created.”
Jurassic Park movies
Based on (and/or inspired by) Michael Crichton’s 1990 science-fiction novel, Jurassic Park (1993) and its sequels – The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001) – have grossed $1.9 billion worldwide. Adjusted for inflation* (though not for currency fluctuations), the three Jurassic Park movies have taken in approximately $3.04 billion around the globe. Of note: Adjusting for inflation, although it cost about 20 percent more than the first installment in the franchise, Jurassic Park III earned less than one third of the worldwide amount earned by Jurassic Park.
A Universal release, Jurassic Park 4, as mentioned above, will be executive produced by Steven Spielberg, who also directed the first two movies in the franchise. Longtime Spielberg collaborator Frank Marshall (Poltergeist, The Color Purple, War Horse) and his Bourne franchise producing partner Patrick Crowley will reportedly be Jurassic Park 4‘s official producers.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are Jurassic Park 4‘s screenwriters. No casting details have been announced as yet, but expect various species of dinosaurs to make special guest appearances. The fourth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise is scheduled to come out on June 13, 2014.
Jurassic Park movies, Colin Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed: cast and screenwriters
The original Jurassic Park was adapted by David Koepp and author Michael Crichton. The cast featured Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, BD Wong, Wayne Knight, and a pre-Pulp Fiction Samuel L. Jackson.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park was written by David Koepp. The cast included Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Richard Attenborough, Arliss Howard, Vince Vaughn, Vanessa Lee Chester, Peter Stormare, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, and Camilla Belle.
Directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger), Jurassic Park III was written by Peter Buchman, and the Election, About Schmidt, and Sideways team of Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. Now, bringing in the prestigious Payne & Taylor screenwriting team didn’t help matters much; Jurassic Park III has a mediocre 4/10 average rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics.
The Jurassic Park III cast featured Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Téa Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Michael Jeter, Trevor Morgan, John Diehl, Laura Dern, Taylor Nichols, and Mark Harelik. Steven Spielberg was one of the film’s executive producers; the credited producers were Spielberg’s frequent collaborator Kathleen Kennedy (Lincoln) and Larry J. Franco.
Featuring Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Kristen Bell and filmmaker Lynn Shelton in cameos, the (reportedly) $750,000-budgeted Safety Not Guaranteed earned a modest $4.01 million at the North American box office as per Boxofficemojo.com. No international figures are available, quite possibly because Safety Not Guaranteed, like the overwhelming majority of U.S.-made indies, never reached movie houses outside the United States (and perhaps Canada).
Besides its Sundance Film Festival Award, Safety Not Guaranteed was nominated for the Best Ensemble Gotham Award and earned screenwriter Kevin Connolly the Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay.
Jurassic Park 3D release date
Timing is everything. The announcement of Colin Trevorrow as the director of Jurassic Park 4 came out – and it’s surely just a coincidence – three weeks before the 3D release of the original Jurassic Park on April 5.
* Adjusted domestic box office figures based on the National Association of Theater Owners annual average movie-ticket costs. Adjusted international box office and film budget figures based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s consumer price index.
Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park Tyrannosaurus Rex photo: Universal Pictures.
‘The Host’ reviews: Dismal 6 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics
“Dopey, derivative and dull, The Host is a brazen combination of unoriginal science-fiction themes, young-adult pandering and bottom-line calculation,” writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. And that’s one of the kinder things American reviewers have had to say about writer-director Andrew Niccol’s sci-fier starring Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, and Diane Kruger, and co-produced by Stephenie Meyer, the author of the novel on which The Host is based – and She of the Twilight Saga franchise.
The Host: Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets Twilight?
In The Host, an alien force takes over the bodies and minds of human beings – you didn’t know most humans had minds, did you? – erasing their memories. As a sort of early 21st-century Kevin McCarthy, Saoirse Ronan plays Melanie Stryder a.k.a. The Wanderer, who, according to the film’s byline, “will risk everything to protect the people she cares most about” from those predatory aliens.
Now, who does Melanie most care about? There’s her younger brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury), her Uncle Jeb (William Hurt), and no less than two young, hunky guys (that’s where the Twilight bit comes in): Jared (Max Irons) and Ian (Jake Abel). Forget those pesky aliens. Which earthling will Melanie end up with? And will either Jared or Ian go the way of Dana Wynter in Invasion of the Body Snatchers? (Watch The Host teaser trailer.)
More The Host reviews
Here are a few more The Host reviews, from Rotten Tomatoes‘ “top critics,” who have given the film a poor 3.8/10 average, and (currently) a dismal 6 percent approval rating:
- “[The Host] offers viewers the choice of Team Hokey or Team Absurd,” ridicules Jon Niccum in the Kansas City Star.
- “A sci-fi writer like Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner) might have used this premise to explore notions of memory and identity. Meyer uses it to create a teen soap opera,” complains Newsday‘s Rafer Guzman.
- “We’re treated to the bizarre spectacle of Ronan arguing with herself repeatedly over which guy to kiss. But since both are similarly bland, it barely matters,” writes Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News.
- “An invasion of the body snatchers is preferable to realizing that the true horror perpetrated here is not on the characters but on the audience,” warns Connie Ogle in the Miami Herald.
- “The Host lacks the adolescent foolishness that made Twilight even remotely relatable, and it isn’t even bad enough to be fun,” laments William Bibbiani at CraveOnline.
And here’s a rare dissenting voice, though its “positive outlook” has more to do with The Host‘s potential to reach and please its target audience than to any intrinsic qualities in the material:
- “Simply dismissing The Host as a shallow Invasion of the Body Snatchers/Romeo and Juliet mash-up would be to ignore how effectively it will play to large herds of mall-dwellers,” affirms Simon Foster in Screen-Space.
The Host vs. The Twilight Saga critics’ ratings
For comparison’s sake, here are Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics’ ratings of the five Twilight movies, all of which were based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novels and adapted by Melissa Rosenberg:
- Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight: 55 percent approval rating, 5.8/10 grade average.
- Chris Weitz’s New Moon: 43 percent approval rating, 5.3/10 average.
- David Slade’s Eclipse: 59 percent approval rating, 6.1/10 average.
- Bill Condon’s Breaking Dawn - Part 1: 33 percent approval rating, 5.1/10 average.
- Bill Condon’s Breaking Dawn - Part 2: 46 percent approval rating, 5.3/10 average.
As you can see, the lowest-rated Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn - Part 1, had an approval rating more than five times higher than The Host‘s, and a grade average 30 percent higher.
The five Twilight movies starred Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen. Taylor Lautner was a supporting player in the first Twilight movie, then was promoted to co-lead in the other four films.
The extensive Twilight cast included regulars Dakota Fanning, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Michael Sheen, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Billy Burke, Cameron Bright, Daniel Cudmore, Charlie Bewley, Michael Welch, Anna Kendrick, Julia Jones, and Booboo Stewart. Among the “guest” stars were Bryce Dallas Howard (replacing Rachelle Lefevre, who was featured in the first two movies), Mackenzie Foy, Xavier Samuel, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Cam Gigandet, Mia Maestro, Christian Camargo, MyAnna Buring, Maggie Grace, Rami Malek, and Graham Greene.
The Host cast
Besides Saoirse Ronan (a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominee for Joe Wright’s Atonement), Max Irons, Jake Abel, Diane Kruger, William Hurt, and Chandler Canterbury, The Host features Olympus Has Fallen‘s Phil Austin, Stephen Conroy, Jhil McEntyre, Boyd Holbrook, Frances Fisher, Scott Lawrence, Emily Browning, and Rachel Roberts (director Andrew Niccol’s wife and no relation to the Oscar-nominated British actress of the same name).
An Open Road Films release, The Host opens tomorrow, March 29. Whether or not the film has a strong debut weekend – Channing Tatum’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation is targeting a radically different demo – expect The Host‘s box office earnings to suffer a catastrophic drop on weekend no. 2.
Saoirse Ronan and Max Irons kiss in The Host photo: Open Road Films.
‘World War Z’ trailer HD: Brad Pitt vs. Zombies - but where’s Iron Man?
World War Z, the troubled production directed by Marc Forster and starring Brad Pitt fooling around with a bunch of zombies, has a new trailer. Well, maybe not so new. The World War Z trailer HD below has been out for a few days. (Image: Brad Pitt World War Z.)
Lessons learned from the ‘World War Z’ trailer
Anyhow … what do we learn from watching the not-so-new World War Z trailer? First of all, that happy, well-to-do American families have no reason to believe they’re entitled to either happiness or material well-being, as there’s always some alien force out to destroy their emotional and financial bliss. If it’s not stock market speculators and greedy bankers or Islamic terrorists or North Korean dictators, then it’s an army of zombies, which can be nearly as ruthless.
Lesson no. 2: The world will be coming to an end sooner rather than later. If it’s not environmental devastation, then get ready for flesh-eating bacteria in human form. (As an aside: you’ll be wasting your time, as you can’t be ready for Armageddon. So, enjoy life while you can.)
Lesson no. 3: Original stories can be made out of disparate elements taken directly from (or very much like) countless novels, movies, and television shows: War of the Worlds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dawn of the Dead, Zombieland, The Silence of the Lambs, Contagion, Independence Day, The Avengers, Gabriel Over the White House, The Walking Dead, Wag the Dog, I Walked with a Zombie, Pacific Rim, Them!, Dracula, Zero Dark Thirty, Left Behind (that’s Kirk Cameron’s End of the World Christian flick) and, possibly, Longtime Companion and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Okay, scratch the last title.
Lesson no. 4: If you’re going to fly on a passenger jet carrying zombie stowaways, make sure you have Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man on board.
And here’s a pertinent question: Considering that “z” is the last letter in the Roman alphabet, if World War Z turns out to be a major hit, what will the sequel be called?
World War Z budget, cast, release date
World War Z was made for a reported $2 trillion, ahem, $125m-$200m, depending on the source. That budget range doesn’t include the money spent on HD trailers online and other sorts of marketing, plus distribution costs.
Besides Brad Pitt, the World War Z cast includes Matthew Fox, Mireille Enos, Eric West, Michiel Huisman, James Badge Dale, David Andrews, Trevor White, and David Morse as a Hannibal Lecter-ish CIA type. Based on a novel by Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft), the screenplay is credited to Matthew Michael Carnahan (with uncredited rewrites by Drew Goddard after fellow Lost writer Damon Lindelof found himself unable to work on World War Z‘s third act).
Matthew Michael Carnahan’s previous screenwriting credits, by the way, consist of three political dramas / thrillers: Peter Berg’s The Kingdom, starring Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx, and Justin Bateman; Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs, starring Redford, Tom Cruise, and Meryl Streep; and Kevin Macdonald’s State of Play, starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Russell Crowe, and Helen Mirren. None of the three films was a box office success.
For the sake of, among other entities, Plan B Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, and Skydance Productions – the latter two have also joined forces on another type of “political” movie, the Channing Tatum / Dwayne Johnson action vehicle G.I. Joe: Retaliation currently in theaters – World War Z better break that pattern and become an epic worldwide hit.
The World War Z release date is June 21, when the horror war movie will open in both 2D and 3D. And finally, check out the World War Z trailer HD below.
Brad Pitt World War Z trailer photo: Paramount Pictures.
Kim Kardashian, Stanley Kubrick & bullfighting Snow White on North American screens this weekend
From Kim Kardashian to Stanley Kubrick, in addition to another Snow White movie. There’ll be something for just about everyone at North American theaters this coming weekend, March 29-31. Kim Kardashian, best known for the reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians and for her 72-day marriage to basketball player Kris Humphries, is one of the stars of Tyler Perry’s latest morality tale, Temptation (which at times is followed by the subheading “Confessions of a Marriage Counselor”). Lionsgate is distributing the drama / thriller about marital infidelity, and starring Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross, Vanessa Williams, Robbie Jones, and the aforementioned Kim Kardashian.
Channing Tatum’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Stephenie Meyer’s The Host
But the likely winner at the domestic box office this weekend will not be TV star Kim Kardashian or Tyler Perry (whose non-Madea movies have tended to underperform of late), but movie star Channing Tatum, who has become a major box office draw at least in the United States. Magic Mike and The Vow‘s Tatum is featured alongside Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis in Jon M. Chu’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation. The eagerly anticipated (by 11-year-olds) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra sequel also has a good chance of taking over the international box office as well.
Based on a bestselling novel by Stephenie Meyer, best known as the author of the Twilight books, the sci-fi romantic thrillerThe Host stars Saoirse Ronan (Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for Joe Wright’s Atonement) as young woman fighting off an intrusive alien force. Directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, In Time), The Host also features Max Irons, Jake Abel, and Diane Kruger. For the time being, it’s unclear whether The Host will become a minor Twilight or the next (box-office disappointment) Beautiful Creatures.
In limited release: The Place Beyond the Pines, The Shining documentary
In limited release, upcoming movies include Derek Cianfrance’s thriller The Place Beyond the Pines, starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, and Craig Van Hook; Rodney Ascher’s documentary Room 237, about the various (possible) hidden meanings found in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror thriller The Shining, which starred Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall; and P.J. Hogan’s dramatic comedy Mental, which reunites the director with his Muriel’s Wedding star Toni Collette, in addition to Anthony LaPaglia, Liev Schreiber, and Rebecca Gibney.
Also: Eran Creevy’s thriller Welcome to the Punch, starring James McAvoy (coincidentally, Atonement‘s leading man), Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, and Peter Mullan; and Quentin Dupieux’s offbeat comedy-drama Wrong, featuring Jack Plotnick, Todd Giebenhain, Eric Judor, and Alexis Dziena.
And last, but certainly not least, Pablo Berger’s Blancanieves. Following Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror, starring Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, and Armie Hammer, and Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, and Sam Claflin, North Americans will get a chance to check out 2012’s third Snow White movie: the Spanish-made Blancanieves, featuringMaribel Verdú (Pan’s Labyrinth, Y Tu Mamá También), Emilio Gavira, Daniel Giménez Cacho, and veteran Ángela Molina in this tale about a female bullfighter in 1920s Seville.
Now, unlike the two English-language Snow White movies, neither of which was well-received by critics, Blancanieves comes with quite a pedigree: 10 Goyas (Spanish Academy Awards), including Best Film, Best Actress (Maribel Verdú), Best Screenplay (Pablo Berger), and Best New Actress (Macarena García); 7 Spanish Cinema Writers Circle Awards (that’s, more or less, Spain’s National Society of Film Critics), including Best Film, Best Director, Best New Actress (once again García), and Best Supporting Actress (Ángela Molina); in addition to the Special Jury Prize at last year’s San Sebastian Film Festival, where Macarena García also received the Best Actress Silver Seashell.
Vanessa Williams and Kim Kardashian in Tyler Perry’s movie Temptation image via Madeas Program / Lionsgate; Maribel Verdú in Blancanieves image: Cohen Media Group.
Twelve Years a Slave release date set
Twelve Years a Slave will be released in North America on December 27, 2013, domestic distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures has announced. Directed by Steve McQueen, who also co-wrote the film’s screenplay with John Ridley (whose Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is by My Side should come out later this year), Twelve Years a Slave features an extensive cast: McQueen collaborator Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Shame), Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Garret Dillahunt, Sarah Paulson, Scoot McNairy, Ruth Negga, Dwight Henry, Michael Kenneth Williams, Kelsey Scott, 2013 Best Actress Academy Award nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), and veteran Alfre Woodard (Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for Cross Creek back in early 1984).
Based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 autobiography, Twelve Years a Slave recounts the fate of New York-born free man Northup, who was abducted in Washington, D.C., in 1841, to be sold into slavery at a plantation in the Deep South where he labored for twelve years. Twelve Years a Slave reportedly had a $20 million budget – which should make it eligible for both the 2013 Gotham Awards and the 2013 Spirit Awards.
Although the slavery theme makes Twelve Years a Slave sound similar to last year’s Django Unchained, the similarities should end there. Not only the plots of both films are quite different, but Steve McQueen is a filmmaker with a radically different sensibility than Quentin Tarantino’s.
Django Unchained earned Tarantino this year’s Best Original Screenplay Academy Award, in addition to the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Christoph Waltz. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx co-star in Tarantino’s film.
Of note, an American Playhouse TV drama directed by Gordon Parks, Solomon Northup’s Odyssey was aired in 1984. Avery Brooks (Spenser: For Hire, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) played Solomon Northup, while the supporting cast included John Saxon, Joe Seneca, Michael Tolan, Lee Bryant, Petronia Paley, and Rhetta Greene.
Twelve Years a Slave joins Oscar 2013 race
Twelve Years a Slave will open alongside The Weinstein Company’s Grace of Monaco, featuring another real-life figure, Princess Grace a.k.a. Grace Kelly (The Country Girl, To Catch a Thief). Directed by Olivier Dahan, whose La Vie en Rose earned Marion Cotillard the Best Actress Academy Award six years ago, Grace of Monaco stars Nicole Kidman as Kelly a.k.a. Princess of Monaco.
Also crammed into the last days in December are Carl Rinsch’s 47 Ronin, a revamped version of the 1940s’ Japanese samurai classic, starring Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki, and Tadanobu Asano; Kenneth Branagh’s thriller Jack Ryan, starring Star Trek‘s Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, and Keira Knightley, and not to be confused with Tom Cruise’s late December 2012 thriller Jack Reacher; and another remake, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Ben Stiller (who also directed) in the old Danny Kaye role, and supported by Kristen Wiig (apparently in the old Virginia Mayo role), Adam Scott, and Patton Oswalt (probably not in the old Fay Bainter role).
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Quvenzhané Wallis, Kelsey Scott Twelve Years a Slave photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures.