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Shane Black to direct pulp adventure 'The Destroyer' for Sony

Shane Black is shaping up to be Sony Pictures' go-to guy for pulp adventures.

Last year Black signed on to make a movie based on the old-school hero Doc Savage for the studio, and now he's set to direct "The Destroyer" as well, an adaptation of the long-running adventure book series by Warren Murphy.

"The Destroyer" tells the story of Remo Williams, a Newark cop who is framed, sentenced to death and resurrected after a botched execution so he can serve as an operative for a top-secret government agency. He's accompanied by a seemingly ageless Asian assassin (and source of comic relief) known as Chiun.

Black will direct from a script by Jim Uhls, who wrote the adaptation of "Fight Club," and James Mullaney, who co-authored and became the sole writer of "The Destroyer" until the series' end in 2008. Charles Roven, Steven Chasman, and Andy Horwitz are producing.

Michael DeLuca, president of production for Columbia Pictures, said in a statement, "'The Destroyer' is a two-fisted classic and...

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David Yates in talks to helm Harry Potter spinoff 'Fantastic Beasts'

It seems David Yates still has the magic touch.

The British filmmaker, who directed the final four "Harry Potter" movies, is in negotiations to helm the first installment of the franchise's new spinoff trilogy for Warner Bros., "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," according to a Variety report.

Warner Bros. declined to comment on the report, as did a spokesperson for Yates' agency.

Announced last September, "Fantastic Beasts" will mark the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the hit "Potter" series. "Beasts" is based on Rowling's fictional Hogwarts textbook chronicling the adventures of "magizoologist" Newt Scamander, the book's ostensible author.

When the project was announced, Rowling said "Beasts" would function as "neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world." Scamander's on-screen adventures will begin in New York 70 years before the events of the first "Harry Potter" novel.

The first film in the new trilogy...

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Chloe Grace Moretz drama 'If I Stay' is lifeless, reviews say

After a wave of dystopian, sci-fi-inflected adaptations of young-adult novels in recent years, the romantic drama "If I Stay" arrives as the second movie this summer based on a more down-to-earth YA book.

Whereas "The Fault in Our Stars" scored mostly positive reviews, "If I Stay" isn't faring as well. Critics say the R.J. Cutler-directed film about a teenage cellist (Chloe Grace Moretz) who faces a life-or-death decision is clunky and uninspired.

The Hollywood Reporter's Jon Frosch knocks "If I Stay" for its "lame dialogue, heartstring-yanking music and tired visual approach." The filmmakers, he says, "are clearly playing to a target audience — the same folks who lined up earlier this summer for the vastly superior 'The Fault in Our Stars' — though they do so with dismayingly little effort to freshen up the formula."

Many lines that worked on the page now "land with a thud — and the movie keeps them coming at an alarming pace," Frosch says. Not helping matters is that Cutler "relies...

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Five things to know about 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For'

Filled as they are with cold-blooded killers, femmes fatales, unlucky gamblers and crooked politicians, the mean streets of "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" are no place to get caught unawares. With the Frank Miller-Robert Rodriguez neo-noir sequel opening Friday, here's a cheat sheet on all the hardboiled inhabitants of this stylized world — so you can keep up with all the hard-core fans in yours.

A long time coming: Although the original "Sin City" earned favorable reviews and grossed more than $158 million at the worldwide box office, it's taken more than nine years for "A Dame to Kill For" to follow. Rodriguez and Miller began brainstorming a sequel shortly after the first film opened, but the project got derailed when backers Harvey and Bob Weinstein left Miramax Films to found Weinstein Co., which is releasing "Dame."

"The Weinsteins told us, 'We're not ready — go make a couple more movies and then come back,'" Rodriguez told the Times' Hero Complex. "Then we got distracted with...

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The BP oil spill comes to movie theaters

Working-class heroes and a five-year gestation period are among the axioms for making a fact-based movie in Hollywood. Both appear to be playing out for “Deepwater Horizon,” a long-developing, newly resurgent project based on the 2010 BP oil-rig disaster.

On Tuesday, Deadline reported that Mark Wahlberg could join the film, which already has “All Is Lost” helmer J.C. Chandor returning to the nautical disaster realm. Produced by Lionsgate’s Summit and based on a New York Times article, the film looks at men on the infamous rig in the hours leading up to the disaster. The film has had several iterations -- an earlier version with action director Ric Roman Waugh didn’t get off the ground — but appears to now be moving forward.

"Deepwater" is an interesting new addition to a kind of disaster-movie subgenre — the one where we know how it all turned out but we want to watch the human stories beneath anyway (see under: “Captain Phillips”). And though set in a radically different world, the...

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Toronto International Film Festival to feature Bill Murray Day

Bill Murray aficionados, mark Sept. 5 on your calendars. The Toronto International Film Festival has declared the date Bill Murray Day in honor of the "charismatic, wise-cracking, comedic genius," organizers announced Wednesday.

To celebrate the 63-year-old actor, TIFF will present free screenings of three classic Murray movies -- "Stripes," "Groundhog Day" and "Ghostbusters" -- leading up to the recently announced world premiere of his latest film, "St. Vincent." Up to 50 fans who attend all three free screenings will win tickets to the premiere.

Written and directed by Theodore Melfi (making his feature debut), "St. Vincent" stars Murray as curmudgeonly, cash-strapped war veteran who becomes an unlikely mentor to the boy next door (newcomer Jaeden Lieberher) while the kid's single mom (Melissa McCarthy) is at work.

For Murray, one of Hollywood's most elusive and idiosyncratic leading men, "St. Vincent" could mark something of a comeback, or at least a return to form. The "Rushmore"...

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Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett join Warner's 'Jungle Book: Origins'

Talk about a rumble in the jungle: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Benedict Cumberbatch are among the big-name actors to join the cast of Warner Bros.' "Jungle Book: Origins," setting up a star-studded showdown with Disney's rival Rudyard Kipling adaptation, "The Jungle Book."

Bale will voice the noble panther Bagheera, Blanchett will voice the hypnotic python Kaa and Cumberbatch will voice the fearsome tiger Shere Khan, The Times has confirmed. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.

Rounding out the animal cast are Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Eddie Marsan and Peter Mullan. Rohan Chand ("Bad Words") will play Mowgli, a human boy who learns the law of the jungle while being raised in the wild.

Motion-capture expert Andy Serkis is directing "Origins" — which will employ mo-cap, CG animation and live action — from a script by Callie Kloves. Serkis will also portray the sleepy brown bear Baloo. Kloves' father, writer Steve Kloves of the "Harry Potter" films, is producing the...

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Kevin Smith, Johnny Depp and their daughters teaming on 'Yoga Hosers'

Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp are keeping it in the family for "Yoga Hosers."

The director and star are set to begin shooting the upcoming action-adventure this week with their daughters, Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp, co-starring, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Written by the elder Smith, "Hosers" will tell the story of two teenage yoga enthusiasts (Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith) who work at a convenience store after school and team up with a legendary man-hunter (Johnny Depp) to battle an ancient evil.

Smith, an avowed comics fan who has written for Marvel and DC, told THR, "People always ask me, 'Are you ever going to make a comic book movie?' This is it — but instead of yet another dude saving the day, our anti-heroes are the most feared and formidable creatures man has ever encountered: two 15-year-old girls."

The pairing of Smith, a quirky, talky, self-referential director, and Depp, a huge movie star with a predilection for playing offbeat characters, is...

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Dwayne Johnson says he'll play DC superhero Shazam -- or his nemesis

Dwayne Johnson has a tough decision on his hands: whether to wield the power of the DC Comics superhero Shazam or that of his arch nemesis, Black Adam.

During an appearance in Mexico City to promote his new film, "Hercules," the 42-year-old action hero said he will play one of the two characters in an upcoming Shazam movie adaptation, according to the Associated Press.

He added, "I am putting my heart and soul and my bones into this role."

Warner Bros., DC's parent company, declined to comment on Johnson's remarks.

Created in 1939, Shazam (originally known as Captain Marvel) is the cape-wearing alter ego of Billy Batson, a boy who becomes imbued with the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury when he speaks the magic word "Shazam."

Black Adam is essentially a darker mirror image of Shazam, with equivalent powers and a similar getup, minus the cape.

Although Johnson has played his fair share...

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'Men, Women & Children' trailer: Jason Reitman on Internet-era angst

One of the great contradictions of the Internet age is that the very technologies that allow people to connect in new ways also lead to some powerful forms of disconnection.

That paradox is dramatized to haunting effect in the new teaser trailer for Jason Reitman's upcoming dramedy "Men, Women & Children," which Paramount unveiled Tuesday.

The moody two-minute teaser, which you can watch above, is devoid of dialogue — but its characters have plenty to say. They do so via text messages, emails, blog posts, instant messages, selfies and other digital communiques, which are rendered on-screen with floating pop-up graphics. It's all set to an evocative Plantains cover of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love."

With an ensemble cast including Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Ansel Elgort, Kaitlyn Dever and Judy Greer, "Men, Women & Children" follows the lives of a group of high-schoolers and their parents as they try to navigate the ways the Internet has affected their relationships, communications and...

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TIFF 2014: 'St. Vincent,' Roger Waters doc among late additions

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced one final round of world premieres for its gathering that begins Sept. 4.

Topping the list is Bill Murray’s eccentric-neighbor dramedy “St. Vincent,” which will be screened for the first time at the festival. Theodore Melfi's movie, which costars Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts and centers on a single mother (McCarthy), will hit theaters courtesy of Weinstein Co. on Oct. 24.

Also making its world premiere at the festival is “Roger Waters The Wall,” a concert documentary about the famous Pink Floyd frontman, codirected by Waters himself, and “Murder in Pacot” a post-Haiti earthquake story cowritten by the noted Haitian author and activist Lyonel Trouillot.

Making their North American premieres, Toronto organizers said Tuesday, are “The Sound and the Fury,” James Franco’s directorial adaptation of the William Faulkner classic; Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Winter Sleep”; and “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness,” a documentary about...

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'Ant-Man' cast expands with John Slattery, Judy Greer as cameras roll

The cast of "Ant-Man" is starting to look anything but insectoid.

The upcoming movie starring Paul Rudd as a superhero who shrinks in size but increases in strength has added several new cast members, including John Slattery, Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Wood Harris, rapper T.I. and comedian Gregg Turkington (a.k.a. Neil Hamburger), Marvel and Disney revealed Monday. The newcomers join Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll and others.

The news arrived as part of an announcement that the long-gestating movie has finally commenced principal photography in San Francisco, with director Peyton Reed ("Yes Man," "Bring It On") at the helm. "Ant-Man" will film in Atlanta.

The start of shooting marks a significant step forward for "Ant-Man," which has had a rocky path to production.

Writer-director Edgar Wright ("Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," "Shaun of the Dead") had originally been attached to the project since its inception in 2006 and even showed off "Ant-Man" test footage at...

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