Michael De Luca

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Fifty Shades Of Grey Review


After all the hype, it's impossible not to expect steam from this adaptation of E.L. James' mommy-porn bestseller, but the average episode of Red Shoe Diaries is friskier than this movie. Still, it's a well written and played drama, building an unusual romance with a series of scenes that are sometimes sexy but never actually transgressive. And the nicest surprise is that in the hands of director Sam Taylor-Johnson it becomes a witty tale of female empowerment.

It's set in the American Northwest, where Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is finishing her studies as an English literature major when she's asked by her journalist roommate Kate (Eloise Mumford) to interview Seattle's most eligible bachelor, billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Ana's awkwardly confident approach immediately gets under his skin, and he pursues her as if she's a corporate acquisition, complete with non-disclosure agreements and a contract that would make her submissive to his dominant. But she isn't so sure about all of this, and as she falls for him, she begins to make him break his own rules. Of course he thinks she should be punished for that.

Essentially, this film is mere foreplay, as the push and pull between Ana and Christian cycles through various set-pieces on the way to an ending that is clearly designed to get fans in a lather for films based on the second and third novels in the trilogy. And the studio would be wise to keep Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr Banks, another story of male-female control) on board, as they have clearly beefed up James' novel with a strong dose of wry humour, bringing out the deeper themes rather than focussing on the under-developed plot and characters.

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Rita Ora Promises Fifty Shades Fans "The Biggest And Most Amazing Shock"

Rita Ora Jamie Dornan Dakota Johnson Sam Taylor-Wood E.L. James Michael De Luca

Rita Ora has teased fans of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise by telling them to expect "the biggest and most amazing shock" as EL James' erotic trilogy is given a movie transformation. The film, which is currently being shot in Vancouver has experienced plenty of delays with its casting and filming but if Rita's words are anything to go by, it should all be worth it upon the 14th February 2015 release date.

Rita Ora
Rita Ora Is Loving Her New Role In The '50 Shades' Movie.

The 23 year-old pop star, who has been cast in her first speaking movie role as Christian Grey's sister, Mia, said she is "so excited" about the movie and that the release is "gonna be the biggest and most amazing shock ever."

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17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards

Joel Murray, Kori Rae and Dan Scanlon - 17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. 21-10-2013 - Los Angeles, CA, United States - Monday 21st October 2013

Robert Kazinsky
Steve McQueen
Misty Upham
David O. Russel
Steve McQueen

20 Days Before Filming, Charlie Hunnam Quits 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Movie

Charlie Hunnam Sam Taylor-Wood Dakota Johnson Michael De Luca Ian Somerhalder Matt Bomer

Matt Bomer had probably the best weekend of his young life after The Hollywood Reporter dropped the news that Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam had gotten cold feet and would no longer be starring in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.

Charlie HunnamCharlie Hunnam On The Set Of 'Sons of Anarchy'

"The filmmakers of Fifty Shades of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam's immersive TV schedule, which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey," Universal Pictures said in a statement. THR claimed the actor was "overwhelmed" with the attention he received since the casting announcement and decided to drop out.

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Captain Phillips Review


With an attention to documentary detail that makes everything viscerally realistic, this film grabs hold and never lets go, cranking the suspense to nearly unbearable levels and then tightening its grip even further. Like director Greengrass' United 93, this is a film that makes us forget our daily routine, sending us on a harrowing journey that feels more like a life experience than watching a movie.

It's based on true events from March 2009, when Richard Phillips (Hanks) took a routine job captaining a cargo ship filled with food aid from Oman to Kenya. Then off the coast of Somalia, they're attacked by the tenacious pirate Muse (Abdi) and his three cohorts (Abdirahman, Ahmed and Ali). These aren't terrorists, they're desperate young men who take violent action only because they have to. But their demands for money go unmet, and the stand-off escalates as Phillips' crew fights back against the armed intruders. Then the American Navy responds with overwhelming force, trying to calm the situation without getting Phillips killed.

Aside from one background sequence in Somalia, we watch the entire story through Phillips' eyes, which makes us feel like we are right in the middle of it. Greengrass insists on realism, refusing to indulge in digital trickery when he can get real ships and helicopters out on the ocean instead. This gives the film a jolt of authenticity that's impossible to re-create in a studio, as we can feel the isolation of the expansive sea as well as the dangerous claustrophobia in the pod-like lifeboat where the climactic scenes play out. And there isn't a false note. Even with a well-known actor like Hanks in the central role, we are completely drawn in.

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Video - Tom Hanks Admits 'Captain Phillips' Was 'Stressful' In Red Carpet Premiere Interview

The cast and crew of biopic thriller 'Captain Phillips' discuss the realistic nature of the heart-stopping flick on the red carpet at the US premiere. Among them were stars Tom Hanks, Faysal Ahmed and Barkhad Abdi, as well as director Paul Greengrass, producer Michael De Luca and screenwriter Billy Ray.

Continue: Video - Tom Hanks Admits 'Captain Phillips' Was 'Stressful' In Red Carpet Premiere Interview

Wait, Has Henry Cavill Signed On For Fifty Shades Of Grey?

Henry Cavill Ryan Gosling Mark Wahlberg Michael De Luca Daniel Craig Ian Somerhalder Michael Fassbender

As Hollywood rolls into awards' season, the head honchos at Universal Pictures and Focus Features are probably busy plotting for 2013 having landed the rights to the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, Paramount and Mark Wahlberg's company all placed bids for the rights in one of fiercest movie bidding wars of recent times. Despite the general critical mauling of E.L. James book (though massive sales figures), the movie boasts a pretty impressive team. The Social Network producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti have signed on while Terra Nova's Kelly Marcel will pen the script.

But that's all the boring stuff. We want to know who's playing Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele right? Murmurings around Hollywood suggest Ryan Gosling is pretty much everyone's first choice to play the wealthy protagonist. Universal want Gosling, the producers want Gosling, the fans want Gosling, hell, Gosling probably wants the role himself. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power have the Drive actor as 2/1 favourite, though one man threw a pretty giant spanner into the works this week. He's the third favourite with the bookmaker, he plays Superman in the forthcoming movie Man of Steel. He is Henry Cavill

The 29-year-old British actor - who screen-tested for the role of James Bond before Daniel Craig got the part - discussed Fifty Shades of Grey during a recent interview with Details magazine. When quizzed as to whether he would take the role, Cavill gave a curious answer. Whereas Gosling, Ian Somerhalder and Michael Fassbender have coyly laughed off suggestions of becoming Mr Grey, Cavill said, "Whether that happens, that decision will be made at the time it has to be made. It would be a very different kind of thing than Man of Steel." The interviewer observed that Cavill spoke in "the measured tones of someone who knows his way around a Hollywood gag order."

Continue reading: Wait, Has Henry Cavill Signed On For Fifty Shades Of Grey?

Moneyball Review

Based on Michael Lewis' nonfiction book, this film is written, directed and played with both intelligence and emotion. And the most impressive thing is the way it avoids sentimentality at every turn, even when things turn emotional.

After an unsuccessful career as a baseball player, Billy Beane (Pitt) is now the general manager of the Oakland A's. But the team's low budget makes it unable to compete with the league's wealthy clubs. Then he meets Peter (Hill), an economist who uses stats and numbers to rank players, and they work out a system to field a championship team within budget. Getting the coach (Hoffman) to go along with this is virtually impossible, and baseball's old timers think Billy is insane. Until the A's start winning.

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FrightNight Review

This remake of Todd Holland's 1985 schlock horror is more about the comedy than the terror, camping up the characters and indulging in grotesque effects shots.

Besides some cheap scares, it never generates a moment of suspense, but it's still good fun.

In suburban Las Vegas, Charley (Yelchin) is a nerdy teen with an impossibly hot girlfriend (Poots) and a feisty single mum (Collette). But there's something suspicious about the new neighbour Jerry (Farrell), whom Charley's best friend Ed (Mintz-Plasse) insists is a vampire. And as events start to get increasingly bizarre, Charley begins to believe it himself. He asks TV vampire expert Peter Vincent (Tennant) for advice, but Peter is a jaded showman who doesn't really believe in the supernatural. Or does he?

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Priest Review

Bettany reteams with Legion director Stewart for another loud religious-themed action movie. But the po-faced filmmaking and acting only highlights how unoriginal it is, from production design to music to action sequences.

In the distant future, vampires have been vanquished to reservations by fierce warrior priests, whose order was then disbanded. But with rumours of a new attack, one priest (Bettany) returns to action, violating the direct order of his monsignor bosses (Plummer and Dale). Teaming up with a rural sheriff (Gigandet), he heads into the dystopic landscape to rescue his niece (Collins), who was kidnapped by an old colleague (Urban) who's now fanged and evil. As they catch up with him, they're joined by another rogue priestess (Maggie Q).

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Drive Angry Review

Less a fully realised thriller than a series of rampaging set pieces, this rollicking movie at least provides some goofy good fun for audiences, plus one terrific performance. Otherwise, it's just misogynistic carnage.

Milton (Cage) is on a mission to avenge the death of his daughter and rescue his grandchild from a charismatic satanic cult leader (Burke). But he's being tenaciously pursued by a man (Fichtner) who calls himself the Accountant and clearly has supernatural powers. Indeed, it turns out that Milton has escaped from hell, and the Accountant is here to bring him back. Although he rather enjoys causing chaos here on earth. Meanwhile, Milton teams up with Piper (Heard), mainly because she has a seriously hot car.

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The Social Network Review


The story of Facebook is given a dramatic twist by the combination of Sorkin's brainy script and Fincher's brawny direction. What emerges is the tale of a computer nerd who only understands relationships if they're online.

While at Harvard in 2003, Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) and his best pal Eduardo Saverin (Garfield) came up with the concept of linking the students in a virtual network that honed the concept of MySpace into something more personal.
The problem is that it springs from a project Mark is working on for beefy twin rowers (Pence and Hammer) and their techie pal (Minghella), who immediately launch a legal battle against Facebook. Later, Mark links up with slick Napster founder Sean Parker (Timberlake) to push the site further, but he loses Eduardo in the process.

The chronological narrative is broken up by scenes from the legal encounters relating to the two lawsuits filed against Zuckerberg, and this gives the film its sense of dramatic momentum. But these legal skirmishes are red herrings; this is actually a story about relationships that go horribly wrong, most notably the friendship between Mark and Eduardo. And from the first scene to the last, the central point is that Mark simply can't make any relationship work.

While the irony of this is a little over-the-top, it's very nicely underplayed by the whole cast. Eisenberg is terrific in the film's most thankless role, but he never overeggs the performance, so Mark comes across sympathetically as a complex genius with a severe blind spot. He gained the world but lost his soul, as it were. Garfield gets a more emotional role and delivers an excellent turn that gives the film its heart. And Timberlake is also superb, never chomping on scenery in the flashiest role.

Of course, Sorkin's boyish script is snappy and almost too sharp, packed with hilarious jokes and intelligent conversations. It's great to see another big Hollywood movie this year (after Inception) that actually stimulates our minds for a change. While it sometimes feels a bit dense, it's also a thoroughly gripping look at the fallout of relational dysfunction. And we can all identify with it, whether or not we're a computer nerd.

Brothers Review

This remake of Susanne Bier's 2004 drama is an equally powerful story of family tensions and how violence affects more than just the victim. But the original Danish film's strained melodrama translates here as well.

Sam Cahill (Maguire) is a loyal Marine getting ready to head back to Afghanistan with his men. His wife Grace (Portman) is trying to be strong for their young daughters (Madison and Geare), but his stern father (Shepard) couldn't be prouder. Just before he ships out, Sam's black-sheep brother Tommy (Gyllenhaal) gets out of prison and, when Sam is reported killed in action, he rises to the challenge to help care for Grace and the girls. But several months later Sam is found, and what he experienced has left him dangerously paranoid.

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21 Review

With the ongoing popularity of high stakes poker, greenlighting a film like 21 would appear to be a Tinseltown no-brainer. After all, you've got the true story of how a group of MIT students broke the bank in Vegas by applying their highly trained analytical minds toward counting cards, beating Sin City's blackjack tables in the process. It's a mega-dose of Mensa wish fulfillment. But leave it to Hollywood to fiddle with the facts. Ben Mezrich's non-fiction book entitled Bringing Down the House centered on a group of mostly Asian geniuses grifting casinos for all the cash they could. Somehow, that translated into a cast consisting of Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, and Kate Bosworth.

When Ben Campbell (Sturgess) learns that Harvard Medical School will cost $300,000 for tuition, room, and board, he sees no possible way of paying the bill. While studying one night, he is approached by Jason Fisher (Jacob Pitts) who invites him into the secret world of Professor Micky Rosa's (Spacey) card-counting club. With an elaborate system of formulas, buzzwords, and signals, Rosa and his students have been hitting Las Vegas on weekends and winning big. They now want Ben to join their clandestine cabal. At first, he says no. But thanks to the seductive sway of juicy Jill Taylor (Bosworth), Ben acquiesces. Soon, he is leading the group toward untold riches -- and the investigative glare of casino security agent Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).

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Ghost Rider Review

It's gotten to the point where almost any movie with a narrated prologue is suspect. But the opening section of the comic-book adaptation Ghost Rider starts with a particularly troubling apocalyptic rumble of exposition. See, there was this guy a bunch of years ago who made a deal with the devil, to act as a bounty hunter for wayward souls. But in collecting souls from one dusty town, he saw things so horrifying that he defied the devil and absconded with the contract (I'm not being careful about spoilers; the movie really is that vague). The narration, which you may recognize in vocal tone if not wittiness from The Big Lebowski's Sam Elliott, says that this figure -- this first Ghost Rider -- "outran" the devil (Peter Fonda, by the way), but it looks more like Ghost Rider rode a horse into the sunset while the devil watched, perhaps as confused as those in the audience.

Now then: What does this have to do with Johnny Blaze, superstar motorcycle daredevil? Well, writer-director Mark Steven Johnson will tell you, in a second prologue, after the opening credits, showing Blaze, as a teenager, making one of those unfortunate and confusing satanic contracts in an attempt to save his father's life. Johnson is apparently under the impression that this 20-minute backstory technique worked so well in his Daredevil that he can't afford to, say, skip it and get right to Nicolas Cage, who eventually shows up as the adult Johnny, about to be confronted by the consequences of said contract. Young Johnny's deal is so inadvertent and, again, vague, that the situation lacks considerable drama, but the show must go on.

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