Review: Black Panther

Long Live Marvel's New King!

Review: Red Sparrow

Starring Jennifer Lawrence

Review: Game Night

Starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams

Review: Early Man

Eddie Redmayne Goes Prehistoric In Aardman Animation's Latest

Review: The 15:17 To Paris

Directed by Clint Eastwood

2/22/2018

First Look At Adam Driver And Jonathan Pryce In 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote'


The curse has lifted on Terry Gilliams' The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. The director has been trying to make the film for decades, enduring one legendary catastrophe after another. But last year he assembled an all-new cast and things went well with filming actually being completed. Now the film is making the rounds for buyers at the European Film Market, and we have the first official photo.

The image features frequent Gilliam collaborator Jonathan Pryce as Don Quixote, with Adam Driver by his side as Toby. The rest of the cast includes Stellan Skarsgard, Olga Kurylenko, and Joana Ribeiro. Here's the official synopsis:

Once upon a time, Toby was an idealistic young film student. His great achievement, a lyrical re-working of the Don Quixote story set in a quaint old Spanish village. But that was then; these days he is a jaded, arrogant and over-sexed commercials director. Money and glamour have derailed him, and now he juggles his boss’s wife Jacqui, a biblical storm and his own ego as he tries to complete a new commercial shoot in Spain. Until a mysterious Gypsy approaches him with an ancient copy of Toby’s student film: Toby is moved and sets off to find the little village where he made his primary opus all those years ago. To Toby’s horror, his little film has had a terrible effect on the sleepy village; Angelica, the young girl who was innocence personified, now works as a high class call-girl, and the old man who played Quixote has now gone completely mad, believing he really is the ‘Knight of the Mournful Countenance’. A series of accidents leads to a fire that threatens to destroy the village. The police come for Toby, but he is ‘rescued’ by the deluded old man, who, mistaking him for his loyal squire Sancho, leads Toby away into the countryside on the quest for his perfect lady, Dulcinea. On their quest, Toby comes face to face with demons, both real and imagined, modern and medieval. Damsels are rescued, jousts are fought, giants are slain and women have beards! Reality and fantasy blur on this bizarre road trip which leads to a phantasmagorical finale.

Amazon Studios has yet to give the film a release date, but I expect it will hit a festival or two first, anyway.

Kiersey Clemons Joins Gael Garcia Bernal In Futuristic Zorro Film, 'Z'


It's still unclear if Kiersey Clemons will stay on board for the upcoming Flash movie, currently titled Flashpoint, but if that falls through she's got another potential blockbuster to take its place. Clemons will join Gael Garcia Bernal in Z, the futuristic reimagining of the classic swashbuckling hero Zorro.

Jonas Cuaron (Desierto) will write and direct the film, which finds the Mexican swordfighter defending the downtrodden in a future setting.  While Variety's report doesn't state it, a look at the film's IMDB page says Clemons will play a character named Zee, which is just weird and kinda confusing.

Clemons was most recently seen on the big screen in the Flatliners remake, and in the Sundance film Hearts Beat Loud.

2/21/2018

Mackenzie Davis Turns Riot Girl In Trailer For 'Izzy Gets The F*ck Across Town'


This business continues to fascinate me. How is it possible that a movie with Mackenzie Davis, Alia Shawkat, Lakeith Stanfield, and Carrie Coon slip under my radar until an email about it hits my inbox? I don't know, but that's what happened with Izzy Gets The F*ck Across Town, and I'm excited for it based on the cast and this new trailer.

Also starring Haley Joel Osment, Brandon T. Jackson, Annie Potts, Rob Huebel, and Alex Russell with  Christian Papierniak serving as writer/director, this looks like a terrific showcase for Mackenzie Davis as a riot girl who sets out to blow up her ex-boyfriend's nuptials.  Check out the synopsis:

Riot grrrl rocker and shameless hot mess Izzy wakes up hungover AF to find out that her ex-boyfriend is celebrating his engagement to her ex-best friend tonight at a bougie party across town. Enraged and desperate, Izzy embarks on a frenetic quest across Los Angeles to break up the party in order to fulfill what she believes to be her destiny … before it’s too late. A favorite from the festival circuit, IZZY GETS THE F*CK ACROSS TOWN is a delightfully chaotic indie comedy that showcases the absurdity and mayhem that is Izzy’s life.

Izzy Gets The F*ck Across Town opens May 14th.

Read 'Black Panther' Director Ryan Coogler's Heartfelt Letter Of Thanks To Fans


Based on the record-breaking, jaw-dropping numbers you've probably already seen Black Panther. And if you have, then chances are you've seen scores of people dressed up in their finest tribal outfits, or seen large families gathered together for a night at the movies. In short, Black Panther is a cultural phenomenon that has impacted more lives than I think anybody could have imagined.  And that goes double for director Ryan Coogler, who has clearly been blown away by the response.

Coogler, who already has two acclaimed films under his belt with Fruitvale Station and Creed, was nonetheless stunned by the response to Black Panther, and he's penned a heartfelt letter thanking the fans for its success. I can't do it justice, so here it is in full:

I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment, but I will try.

Filmmaking is a team sport. And our team was made up [of] amazing people from all over the world who believed in this story. Deep down we all hoped that people would come to see a film about a fictional country on the continent of Africa, made up of a cast of people of African descent.

Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong. It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film. But to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters – often moved me and my wife to tears.

For the people who bought out theaters, who posted on social about how lit the film would be, bragged about our awesome cast, picked out outfits to wear, and who stood in line in theaters all over the world – all before seeing the film…

To the press who wrote about the film for folks who hadn’t yet seen it, and encouraged audiences to come out…

And to the young ones, who came out with their parents, with their mentors, and with their friends…

Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.

Sincerely,

Ryan Coogler

P.S. Wakanda Forever 

Chris McKay Eyes Directing 'Dungeons & Dragons' As 'Nightwing' Loses Steam At DC Films


Nearly a year has passed since The Lego Batman Movie director Chris McKay was hired by Warner Bros. to do a Nightwing movie. There hasn't been any movement on the project centering on Batman's former sidekick since, which may explain today's news. McKay is now in talks to direct Hasbro's long-developing Dungeons & Dragons movie for Paramount Pictures.

According to The Tracking Board, Warner Bros. really wants to keep McKay under their umbrella, which is why they were quick to give him the Nightwing assignment. However, that film doesn't seem to be a high priority for them at this point and may take years to get off the ground because DC Films has so many projects already in the works.  Meanwhile, McKay will stay busy with the studio as an exec-producer on The Lego Movie 2 and The Billion Brick Race, the latter having troubles keeping a director around.

Dungeons & Dragons is much further along at this point with a script by Michael Gilio and a release date of July 23rd 2021. Ansel Elgort was at talks to star at one point but that doesn't appear to be the case anymore.

'Lost In Space' Trailer: The Rest Of Human History Heads To Netflix


Truth: I completely forgot this was happening. Lost in Space is a sci-fi property that Hollywood has been trying to get right for decades. The '60s TV series was campy and kind fun, leaving quite an impression over the course of its three seasons. But later attempts to revive it have been pretty awful, led of course by the terrible 1998 movie led by Gary Oldman and Matt LeBlanc (!!!), followed by an aborted TV series in 2003 that had John Woo directing the pilot. Well it's been a while, but the Robinson clan is back and they've found a home a Netflix, the place where all revivals go to die. Danger Will Robinson!!!

Starring Molly Parker, Toby Stephens, Parker Posey (!!!), Ignacio Serricchio (???), Maxwell Jenkins, and Taylor Russell, the 10-episode series will have some episodes directed by Neil Marshall (Hellboy). But worryingly it also hails from creators/writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the duo behind Gods of Egypt and Dracula Untold. Uhhhhh....here's the synopsis:

Lost in Space is a Netflix Original dramatic and modern reimagining of the classic 1960’s science fiction series. Set 30 years in the future, colonization in space is now a reality, and the Robinson family is among those tested and selected to make a new life for themselves in a better world. But when the new colonists find themselves abruptly torn off course en route to their new home they must forge new alliances and work together to survive in a dangerous alien environment, light-years from their original destination. Stranded along with the Robinsons are two outsiders who find themselves thrown together by circumstance and a mutual knack for deception. The unsettlingly charismatic Dr. Smith (Parker Posey) is a master manipulator with an inscrutable end game. And the roguish, but inadvertently charming Don West (Ignacio Serricchio) is a highly-skilled, blue collar contractor, who had no intention of joining the colony, let alone crash landing on a lost planet.

My initial take on the newly-released teaser is that it doesn't look like much fun, but at least it has a robot. Sorta.  Fingers crossed this turns out to be good because I'm definitely going to give it a shot to be.

Lost in Space hits Netflix on April 13th.

Review: Hilarious 'Game Night' Has Jason Bateman And Rachel McAdams Playing To Win


If you're going to take game night "up a notch", then mimicking David Fincher is a good way to do it. Game Night finds a bunch of boring suburban couples placed in what amounts to a comedic version of Fincher's 1997 thriller, The Game, with references to some of his other films such as Fight Club and Gone Girl sprinkled in like lollipops in a game of CandyLand. Tossing "normal" folks into an evening of life-or-death situations is classic Hollywood comedy at this point, but Game Night adds a fun new wrinkle by having the players clueless to how much danger their actually in.


Ever actually had a game night with friends? Like, a regular thing? It can be pretty lousy if the wrong combination of people shows up. Game Night is a lot like that; the players are what keep it so entertaining from start to finish. The ever reliable Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are hyper-competitive couple Max and Annie, who meet cute in the way people like them should, over bar trivia. They somehow find romance in their shared love of games, whether it be Charades, Jenga, or Dance Dance Revolution like at their wedding.  They keep that spirit of competition high with a weekly game night featuring their closest friends, while ignoring their creepy cop neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons) who used to be invited.


On one particular Gary-less evening, Max and Annie assemble their usual crew: longtime couple Kevin and Michelle (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury), who are faced with a sudden celebrity hookup scandal; and their dim-witted buddy Ryan (Billy Magnussen) who usually brings women as dopey as him, but this time has found a ringer in whip-smart co-worker Sarah (Sharon Horgan). This night is special because it also signals the return of Max's more successful, more handsome ("He’s like the Mark Wahlberg to Max’s Donnie!") brother Brooks, who promises to kick game night up to the next level. No more Trivial Pursuit, instead he hires a murder mystery group to launch a night-long scavenger hunt with an awesome prize at the end for the winner. There's just one problem: Brooks is actually a pretty bad guy, and he gets actually kidnapped by actual bad guys with actual guns. Not that any of the other players know it. They're blissfully munching on cheese spread while Brooks fights for his life a room away.


Co-directors John Francis Daly and Jonathan M. Goldstein have been pretty decent as writers (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Horrible Bosses) and atrocious as directors (Vacation), but they've always found a way to inject playfulness into their films regardless of the overall quality. Fortunately, they click pretty well with screenwriter Mark Perez who puts the gang through a night of super self-aware hijinks and escalating mishaps in which being really good at Pictionary is only marginally useful. What's great about it is that these characters aren't complete idiots...okay, they're pretty stupid, but there's at least some small part of them that recognizes the absurdity of what's going on. I mentioned the numerous references to Fincher movies, but Liam Neeson's name gets brought up, too, as the film pokes fun at the action genre. Turns out "getting the drop" on your enemy is a lot harder than they make it look in the movies. There are even some surprisingly nifty visual cues, like transitions designed to resemble game boards with moving pieces.


Also, the women seem to be the brightest bulbs of the bunch while the guys all have serious hang-ups. Max is struggling with feelings of inadequacy compared to his brother, to the point that it may be causing fertility issues with Annie; Ryan's a dope who can't get over his Fight Club fetish; and Kevin won't let Michelle's past infidelity with a Hollywood celeb slide. That last one is a running gag that you think is going to go nowhere, but the payoff is pretty great. Everybody gets their moment to shine, though. Magnussen may have the best pathetic bribe attempt since Chris Elliott in Get A Life, and McAdams is a constant winner as she frolics around unaware that she's carrying a loaded pistol, and nearly pukes when she's called upon to do some emergency surgery. But the best may be Plemons, whose controlled weirdness as Gary is strangely calming for a movie that is necessarily off the rails. Bateman is...well, he's Bateman. We've seen him do this put-on regular guy routine so much that it looks effortless from him, and it probably is. Not bad, just familiar. I like the film better as a chance for others like Morris, Magnussen, and Horgan to show what they can do.


Not all of the jokes score, of course, and the film gets too big for its own good in an oversized finale that would be better off in a different movie. There are also one too many twists for a film the audience probably isn't looking to be fooled by at all. Still, Game Night has the charm and definitely the players to be a real winner for those willing to roll the dice.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


'Justice League' Honest Trailer: DC's' Superhero Film Keeps Getting Kicked


Oh, are we still kicking around Justice League? It seems like suddenly it's back in style after recent rumors that put Zack Snyder's departure from the film in a different light. Is there really anything else to add, though? Are there really many more jokes that can be told about Henry Cavill's ghastly CGI mouth?

Well, ScreenJunkies are going to give it a shot with an Honest Trailer for Justice League. If I'm being honest about it, this one isn't particularly funny and it takes all of the usual jabs. Mismatched direction by Snyder and Joss Whedon, lame villain, mishandling of the incredibly popular Wonder Woman, lots of missing scenes from the trailers, etc. etc. etc. Nothing you haven't heard before, except with the Honest Trailer narrator guy's snarky voice this time.

Enjoy. Hopefully this will be the end of the Justice League bashing, at least until the Blu-Ray arrives on March 13th.


Danny Boyle Top Choice To Direct Next James Bond Film


In 2012 Danny Boyle kicked off the 2012 London Olympics with a James Bond-themed short film featuring Daniel Craig and Queen Elizabeth. Now he may get a chance to direct 007 for real. Variety reports the Trainspotting director is the top pick to direct the untitled Bond 25.

This is all very early on and no official offers have been made from MGM and Eon, but Boyle is said to be the frontrunner and "high on their list" of candidates. They really want to snag an A-list filmmaker for the job, which may be why Christopher Nolan's name lingered for so long before he killed those rumors recently.  Another director in consideration was Yann Demange (White Boy Rick), but he's hardly a household name and probably a long shot.

Boyle checks off all the boxes, though. He's found mainstream success with Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, created a cult classic with Trainspotting, and basically tried his hand at everything from horror (28 Days Later) to sci-fi (Sunshine) and heist thriller (Trance).  His kinetic style of direction would make for an interesting contrast for previous director, Sam Mendes, who took the Bond franchise to new box office heights.

'Kings' Trailer: Halle Berry And Daniel Craig Face The L.A. Riots


Somebody must've passed along a memo that now is a good time for movies about the worst race riots in modern American history. Last year Kathryn Bigelow gave us the underrated ensemble drama Detroit, which took place during the five-day riots of the 1960s. Now the 1992 L.A. riots are being explored in Kings, but the director for this one is someone not even from our shores. Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven takes the helm for her follow-up to the Oscar nominated Mustang, and it'll be interesting to see how an outsider perceives racial tension in our country.

Halle Berry and Daniel Craig lead the film which follows a protective foster mom in South Central Los Angeles, during the quiet before the storm that would be the Rodney King. Craig plays her eccentric neighbor, one of the few white men to live in the area. Here's a fuller synopsis:

Bracing, bold, and ferociously inventive, writer-director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s follow-up to her Academy Award–nominated feature debut Mustang stars Oscar winner Halle Berry and Daniel Craig as citizens of the same South Central neighbourhood. As Los Angeles races to the verge of the 1992 uprising, their lives are set on a collision course.

Millie (Berry) is a hardworking single mom with a soft spot for strays. When Kings begins, she already has eight children living in her house and will soon bring home another. Her neighbour Obie (Craig) is the local loose cannon, and the only white man in an area largely inhabited by African Americans, Latinos, and Koreans. With racial tensions running dangerously high, Millie and Obie would appear to be unlikely allies. Yet following the acquittal of four of the officers accused of beating Rodney King, these two must navigate the gathering chaos in the city to bring Millie’s kids home safely.

Mustang was a terrific film, one that explored burgeoning female sexuality in an extremely conservative culture, and clearly had some specific insight. Whether Ergüven can find the same level of understanding with the subject of racial tensions in America we'll have to wait and find out.

Kings hits theaters on April 27th.