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Empire Big Screen wrap up – our best bits and best images from the weekend

The 2011 Empire Big Screen is drawing to close, and although I type this as our roving reporter Tom Fordy is still down there and I am sure that he will want to add a few things to the site either later today or tomorrow, but I wanted to round off my two days at the show which, I might I add, I thouroughly enjoyed. Personally I took in the Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, Icon Entertainment and Optimum Releasing in addition the separate presentations from individuals and studios. There were a few stand-outs for me that I just wanted to go through, hopefully in the order that I saw them.

Even though I had seen it before, as I had with a lot of stuff this weekend, I really enjoyed seeing the IN TIME stuff on the big screen and I hope that the film lives up to my expectations. It has that MINORITY REPORT feel to it, and I loved that movie a lot. A few people around the 02 were saying that they believe that this will be the movie that will turn Justin Timberlake into the bonafide movie star that he seemingly wants to be. Just stay away from that DIRTY DANCING remake dude.

The TITANIC 3D scenes for which I think we saw around six, really did grab my attention in terms of the quality of James Cameron’s meticulous conversion from 2D to 3D. The 3D is AVATAR stunning, and it looks amazing. They have a way to go until the film’s April 2012 release (to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of the famous sinking), but if these clips are anything to go by, we’re in for a treat. The scene where we are first introduced to Rose; you know – the one where we see the top of her hat before the camera tilts down and she looks up – is so subtle, but it looks like that hat is halfway out of the screen. This will make tons of money for Fox and line Cameron’s pockets with more movie gold.

I loved the early look at Mark Wahlberg’s CONTRABAND and even the little piece that saw from IMMORTALS, which hits 11.11.11. Very 300 looking, and very gory! Most of the rest of the Universal panel on Friday was pretty uninspiring. One of my highlights from day one was the superb Pint Of Milk Like with Dominic Cooper. Obviously a hit with the ladies Cooper was on fire with wit and humour and won over the majority of the crowd during a 45 minute chat in Cineworld 2. Cooper talked a lot about his recent movie release THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE, how famous he is on a scale from one to ten, what his favourite joke is and indeed how much a pint of milk costs. See more regarding the panel here.

We also managed to stay in the Cineworld 2 for a very in depth chat with Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, the hilarious duo who wrote the TV series THE INBETWEENERS and the upcoming movie, which opens next week. Here’s a snippet of video from that panel. They were hilarious!

Onto day two and straight into the EOne Panel which saw us promised some clips from TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN PART 1. We had a bit of an issue in terms of getting to the two clips, but indeed they came just as the Sony panel was about to begin. Saturday was the day that we started live blogging the event and yes, we ran into a little bit of trouble in being allowed to do this during the Sony panel which we respect 100%, but that did affect us nearly missing said two TWILIGHT clips. They did come, and we were allowed to stay to see them. Here’s our thoughts at the time (from the live blog):

The first clip is of Edward and Bella in their honeymoon suite with Edward carrying her into the room….

  • They are looking down at the marital bed
  • Edward very coy looking, they are holding hands and Edward asks Bella if she wants to go for a swim???
  • They kiss, and Edward heads out onto the veranda while Bella exters the bathroom to ‘prepare’.
  • Apologies guys, we have just been asked to leave the auditorium to hand in our laptops. We did just manage to see the two clips. The end of the one we were describing saw Bella and Edward go for a midnight swim, and then the second was heavy with the prescence of Taylor Lautner and the wolf pack in a forest… We will post a full report later, but we are currently to sort out the security problem. Apologies

So that was all that we got down at the time, and again we apologies to the hundreds of TWILIGHT fans that were reading the blog as we updated. We think that a lot of you missed out as we also had to switch blog consoles as this overlapped into the Sony panel. We have been told since however that these clips are all set to hit the web next week, so do keep it THN as we will post them just as soon as we get them.

I want to rewind back to the Warner Brothers panel which was placed between all of the madness above. The highlight of this panel was definitely Mr. Guy Ritchie taking to the stage to introduce the trailer and behind the scenes footage from SHERLOCK HOLMES: GAME OF SHADOWS.  Ritchie confirmed that the film is nearly finished and they are literally a couple of weeks away. The film looks action packed, confirmed by Jude Law (Watson) in the video that yes, there is more action and laughs in the flick, and Stephen Fry also gets his kit off, so sayeth Mr. Ritchie.

During the WB panel we also saw extended footage from Steven Soderbergh’s CONTAGION, which looks fantastic and a very long production blog from Peter Jackson and his in-production THE HOBBIT. My favourite part of the WB panel was actually the opening scene, and when I saw opening scene I mean ‘the accident’ in its entirity from FINAL DESTINATION 5. The scene takes place on a bridge, which then collapses killing everyone on board this bus – in the most spectacular wasy imaginable. This went down so well with the audience that I predict that this could be a surprise of the year. I know the series is popular, but the death scenes in just this scene alone are just so inventive and hilariously gory that it could do extra well in terms of word-of-mouth. A bit like FAST FIVE earlier on in the year.

Following that came the Sony panel. The highlight of this for me was not THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN but in fact the five minutes or so from TOTAL RECALL. The scene that we saw was the one that played at Comic Con last month, and features Farrell’s Doug Quaid entering Rekall (decked out in Asian massage style decor) to take his ‘trip’ and have those memories implanted. Obviously this goes the shape of the pear and the implant seemingly goes wrong. Cure a bunch of stormtrooper looking cops entering the room and Quaid subsequently wasting them all before escaping. There are a lot of guns (no lasers – real bullets), a lot of huge camera moves in slow and fast motion sweeping around the room, and a lot of kung fu like moves from a muscle bound Colin Farrell – his pecs are really quite defined ladies. I loved this, and although the latter part of the clip was all pre-viz, we can see where things are going. Can’t wait for this, and at the end Farrell even utters the line; “If I’m not me… who the hell am I?” I was on my feet.

This still is from the segment that we saw

Going back to the Spidey footage, again all of this was rehashed stuff from Comic Con. A lot of character based scenes featuring the aftermath of Andrew Garfield’s character beating up a bully at school. Martin Sheen’s Uncle Ben and Aunt May were seen, and we get a little insight into the type of relationship between Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy and Parker. We saw a little Spidey-swinging, but the climax of the Sony show featured the debut footage of Rhys Ifans as The Lizard in full CG, but again, this was already seen at Comic Con. The crowd did like it though, so I guess that’s a winner.

My fave part of Saturday’s afternoon session was the superb segment devoted to DRIVE, director Nicolas Winding Refn’s superb looking Ryan Gosling starrer. We were treated to the trailer and a very gory clip of Gosling’s character kicking the hell out of a bad guys head in a lift, right after having a delicate smooch with Carey Mulligan in the corner. Lovely stuff. The film was also Saturday’s secret screening, something we got wind of just before but there was literally not one space left in the screening room, so alas, couldn’t get in. Still really looking forward to this one though. The other highlight of the Icon/ Optimum showcase was the exclusive (Comic Con) clip from Steven Soderbergh’s HAYWIRE. This film looks brutal!

The clip featured Michael Fassbender and Gina Carano returning from what seems to be an evening out together. They are pleasant and smiley towards one another as they approach a hotel room door, but as soon as that door closes behind them Fassbender sets about kicking, punching and pulling the living crap out of Carano for the next five minutes. There is no music, just the sound of violence and i’s unrelenting. This will shock you… I hope they release this online soon, but for now I guess that trailer above will have to be enough to whet your appetite.

During the presentation we also got to look at a trailer for TROLL HUNTER, actually a film that I got to see last Wednesday. The review is going to hit the site soon, but I can tell you that I really enjoyed it. The director of the film André Øvredal hit the stage with lead actor Glenn Erland Tosterud for a quick Q+A afterwards too. Here’s the trailer that we saw.

We also got a panel to introduce the in-production WELCOME TO THE PUNCH. Star Mark Strong and director Eran Creevy took to the stage to talk about the crime thriller which will hit in 2012. Enjoyed this, but there were no stills or footage to be seen… The film is now shooting in Canary Wharf in east London, just a stone’s throw from the 02.

Finally, I attended both the Optimum presentation and the press conference for THE WOMAN IN BLACK with director James Watkins and editor Jon Harris. The best part of the presentation was the superb panel on stage where the guys answered questions about the movie (read the live blog here), and introduced a great little clip, a clip that I think that the official WIB Facebook page are hinting may appear online later this week. We also saw a fantastic new poster for the film featuring a huge close up of Daniel Radcliffe’s face next a spooky image. I’m sure that we will see that online very soon too. This one hits on February 12th next year.

Another image taken from the scene that we saw

Last thing on Saturday evening, I also got a spot in the REEL STEEL showcase from Disney, which featured a very upbeat and entertaining panel with director Shawn Levy. The film looks good, sounds good and possibly could actually be good from what we saw. I have a full detailed report on that over here.

So, that’s my highlights of the three day show. I’d personally like to thank the folks at Empire for putting up with us over the three days, and to say that we thoroughly enjoyed it, is perhaps an understatement. We also met some lovely folks from the film world, and made actual human contact with people we’d been talking to on Twitter and other internet programs and sites for  many years. You know who you are.

Until next year, it’s back to the day job. More movie news coming up…

I will leave you with a few more pics from our day out…

DeLorean! Get's us every time

DeLorean! Get's us every time

The real stars of the Harry Potter movies

Another vehicle, this time the actual Land Rover used in TROLL HUNTER

.. and another, the old school Aston Martin from Bond

The REAL STEEL booth with Atom from the film

It looks like I dashed into this photo at the last minute, but no, no photobombing here

Part of the Sony booth

The other end of the Sony booth, a bike from MIB3

A very difficult to photograph set from PIRATES: AN ADVENTURE WITH SCIENTISTS

The STAR WARS BLU-RAY PANEL

Pint of Milk with Dominic Cooper (aka legend)

THE WOMAN IN BLACK helmer James Watkins and editor Jon Harris

The lights go down at the end of the first Empire Big Screen

Paul has been writing for film websites for over ten years. The Hollywood News was born out of love for film and his frustration at not being a very good filmmaker himself. Those who cannot do, write about – or so they say. Aside from the site, Paul has directed a music video (badly), has one credit to his name on the IMDb, enjoys running, driving (now that he has finally passed his test at the age of 33), and of course going to the movies.