Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan star in “Mary Queen of Scots”

4113_D001_00325_R_CROP(l-r) Grace Molony stars as Dorothy Stafford, Margot Robbie stars as Queen Elizabeth I and Georgia Burnell as Kate Carey in MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, a Focus Features release.Credit:  Parisa Tag / Focus Features

Margot Robbie stars as Queen Elizabeth I and Saoirse Ronan stars as Mary Stuart in “Mary Queen of Scots,” a new Focus Features release. “Mary Queen of Scots” explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart along with her rivalry with Queen Elizabeth. Robbie has been taking on some challenging roles so it will be interesting to see how she portrays the iconic Queen Elizabeth. She could have easily settled for “hot babe” type roles but she’s pushed herself as an actress and she is getting rewarded with great parts.

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Monday night trailer: “Hanna,” the teenaged assassin

Director Joe Wright switches gears from his solid Brit-lit adaptations (“Atonement,” “Pride and Prejudice“) and the ill-fated “The Soloist” and gives us a bit of Luc Besson (I hope less thin than “La Femme Nikita” and “The Professional”), a bit of fairy tale and “Kasper Hauser,” a probably coincidental resemblance to a certain aspect of “Kick-Ass,” a bit of Bourne, and, I hope, a bit of Le Carre, Green and, and other classic spy writers, because we need more of that right now. Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, and Cate Blanchett star and the always wondrous Olivia Williams is also on board. Interesting cast for an action flick. This one is interesting.


‘focus’ Hanna – Trailer 1 @ Yahoo! Video

H/t Cinematical.

  

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Stolen videos!

A couple of embeds I saw on the sites of two of our more notable film news reporter/bloggers struck me as being very much of interest to PH readers and film fans in general, so here they are.

First, here is the one-year old trailer for “The People vs. George Lucas” which Nikki Finke noted today is going to be featured at this year’s South by Southwest film festival, though Finke named some names back when she ran this. It should be noted that a lot of the people shown aren’t really perpetrating a personal “diss” as Finke implied.  Also, as a useless blogger, I’d like to know who she considers to be “second rate” movie critics. Anyhow, like Finke, I’m intrigued.

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If you’ve ever directed anything, you know that directors and actors have a pretty unusual relationship. Whether a director’s approach is intensely personal or assiduously professional, there’s always (or should be) an interesting dynamic. Yesterday, Anne Thompson featured this short video documenting a Vanity Fair/Annie Liebovitz photo-shoot featuring actors and their directors that offers a fun peak into one of the most crucial working relationships in the world of film.

  

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An “Avatar” five-peat for MLK weekend?

With “Avatar” holding remarkably well last weekend to the tune of over $50 million, there’s every reason to expect another very strong performance over the coming Martin Luther King Day holiday. Still, along with the holiday, this is also the first weekend since Christmas where James Cameron‘s science-fiction adventure is facing some new decent genre competition.

That comes via “The Book of Eli,” another “Mad Max”-esque post-apocalyptic neo-western, this time starring Denzel Washington and featuring a bit of a religious element. The Warner Brothers film is getting mixed reviews and only rated 45% on the Tomatometer. Beneath the surface, however, I’m sensing that the film actually provides a bit of fun and while star power hasn’t been good for much lately at the box office, my hunch is the combination of a tried-and-true action-flick premise and this particular star is just strong enough to be reasonably potent here.

Denzel Washington in Directed by the Hughes Brothers who, rather unbelievably, haven’t released a theatrical film since 2001’s  fairly decent “From Hell” disappointed at the box office, “Eli” is expected to earn about $30-40 million. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a very close result. Jolly Carl DiOrio nevertheless fully expects an “Avatar” victory and reminds us that it would be the first five-time #1 streak since “The Sixth Sense” wowed audiences back in 1999.

The week’s other major new release is “The Spy Next Door,” a family-oriented Jackie Chan vehicle from Lionsgate that has managed the neat trick of getting eactly 0% of critics to give it a positive review at Rotten Tomatoes. Still, if parents will fork over beaucoup bucks for a certain singing group from the genus rodentia, it’s just possible they’ll take one for the family team by sitting through this possible kiddie-pleaser as well. Jolly Carl is talking about as much as $20 million for “Spy,” presumably partly because of the family appeal of costars George Lopez and Billy Ray Cyrus. As an admirer of Chan’s great Hong Kong work, I have to say that I’m sorry he feels he has to has to work with the guy who brought us “Beethoven.”

That’s it for major new releases, but Peter Jackson’s movie version of Alice Siebold’s “The Lovely Bones,” is finally going wide this week. According to Box Office Mojo, it’ll be expanding from 13 theaters into 2,563, about 500-800 fewer than the major releases I’ve discussed so far. Considering the lackluster reviews and only so-so awards showing for this theoretical piece of awards-bait so far, I wouldn’t expect anything too huge here this weekend   — though apparently younger females have been liking the film, or at least that’s who the film is being marketed to these days. In any case, a surprise Golden Globe or two at Sunday night’s show wouldn’t hurt it’s MLK day Monday. It could use a miracle or two.

Saoirse Ronan in

  

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