2/27/2020

Olivia Wilde To Direct Biopic 'Perfect' On Olympic Hero Kerri Strug


Following on the heels of her Indie Spirit Award-winning Booksmart, it should come as no surprise Olivia Wilde is one of the hottest filmmakers around. And she's been quick to capitalize with a number of upcoming projects, including one on Olympic champion gymnast Kerri Strug.

Wilde will direct Perfect, a film about Olympian gymnast Kerri Strug, who became famous when she battled through injury to land her final vault and secure Team USA's first gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The image of her landing on her one good ankle, then being carried to the medal podium are some of the most iconic in the competition's history, and made Strug an American hero.

The script will be penned by Ronnie Sandahl, who wrote the excellent tennis biopic Borg/McEnroe, and is based on Strug's book, Landing On My Feet, A Diary Of Dreams. Buyers are already starting to line up to purchase the rights, with Searchlight Pictures leading the way. Others in pursuit include Warner Bros., A24, and at least one streaming service, so expect a big deal to be announced soon, and that's without even knowing who will play the role of Strug. Usually, these packages come with a big star attached, and I wouldn't be surprise if someone is named very soon.  [Deadline]

Jason Blum And Leigh Whannell Are Both Interested In An 'Upgrade' Sequel


Leigh Whannell is poised to become a much bigger name with the arrival of The Invisible Man this weekend. And with that, more attention has been brought to his previous work on the Saw films, Insidious Chapter 3, and his 2018 cyberpunk horror, Upgrade. That last film, in particular, became something of a cult favorite, it's certainly one of mine, and its fans have been asking about plans for a sequel. At least according to Whannell when speaking with Fandom, he's open to it, but uncertain it's necessary...

“A sequel is a champagne problem created by the success of a movie. So Hollywood economics dictates whether there’s going to be a sequel, and ‘Upgrade’… I wouldn’t exactly call it a monster hit. I’d call it a cult hit, and cult hits, when they look at the books of cult hits, they’re like ‘Nyah, sequel’. So we’ll see. I loved making that film, so I’d love to do it with a bit more money.”

Upgrade was produced by the folks at Blumhouse, with a characteristically low $3M budget. The film went on to earn $16M, which is on the low end for them. That said, producer Jason Blum is into making it happen, and sounding more enthusiastic about it than Whannell…

“I would love an ‘Upgrade’ sequel. I will say that we haven’t put it to bed yet. We have no immediate plans, but ‘Upgrade’ is very much on my mind — and on Leigh’s mind as well.”

I've often referred to Upgrade as the poor man's Venom, trading the idea of an alien symbiote for an artificial intelligence with a violent streak. The movie is wild and deserving of being discovered by a larger audience.

2/26/2020

'No Time To Die' Clocks In With A Franchise-High Runtime Of 163 Minutes


Cementing its place as one of the most misleading titles ever, No Time to Die is reported to have the longest runtime in the franchise's history. Regal Cinemas has clocked the 25th James Bond film at a whopping 163-minutes, or 2 hours and 43 minutes, so pack a lunch and perhaps one of those astronaut diapers.

It wouldn't be fair to suggest the movie's length will hurt box office, especially with extra-long films like Avengers: Endgame and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in the very recent past, but it probably doesn't help. This could be a huge gamble on Sony's part because the Bond franchise does not have the committed fanbase of Marvel Studios. They could afford to clock Avengers: Endgame at an insane 181-minutes because they knew audiences would show up, and they did in record numbers. But No Time to Die arrives five years after the franchise's previous Bond record-holder, 2015's disappointing Spectre, with 148-minutes. The level of audience devotion isn't the same for Bond as it is for Marvel.

On the other hand, audiences may want to show up for Daniel Craig's swansong as 007. It's clear they're going to squeeze every bit they can out of him before he rides off into the sunset.

No Time to Die opens April 8th.

DC Readers: Win Passes To An Early Screening Of Pixar's 'Onward'


We're happy to offer our DC readers the chance to attend a free early screening of Pixar's Onward, featuring the voices of Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer. The film is directed by Dan Scanlon (Monsters University).

SYNOPSIS: Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers (voices of Chris Pratt and Tom Holland) who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. Pixar Animation Studios’ all-new original feature film is directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae—the team behind “Monsters University.” “Onward” releases in theaters on March 6, 2020.

The screening takes place on Tuesday, March 3rd at 7:00pm at AMC Mazza Gallerie. If you'd like to enter, simply complete the Rafflecopter contest form below. Winners will be selected and notified by email. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

'Fatima' Trailer: Religious Drama Finds Children Of War Believing In Miracles


While Peter Rabbit 2 is likely to be the biggest movie catering to the Easter audience, those looking for something with a bit more spirit will need to look a bit harder. Fatima is based on a true story of faith set during the hardships of WWI, and could be more in line with those looking to celebrate the season.

Directed by Marc Pontecorvo and featuring a mix of young actors and screen vets, the film centers on three children in a small parish in Portugal who report being visited by the Virgin Mary, a claim which draws the ire of the government and the Catholic Church.

The cast includes Joaquim de Almeida (Downsizing), Goran Višnjić (Beginners), Stephanie Gil (Terminator: Dark Fate) and Lúcia Moniz (Love, Actually), with Sônia Braga and Harvey Keitel, who need no introduction.

SYNOPSIS: In 1917, outside the parish of Fátima, Portugal, a 10-year-old girl and her two younger cousins witness multiple visitations of the Virgin Mary, who tells them that only prayer and suffering will bring an end to World War I. As secularist government officials and Church leaders try to force the children to recant their story, word of the sighting spreads across the country, inspiring religious pilgrims to flock to the site in hopes of witnessing a miracle. What they experience will transform their quiet lives and bring the attention of a world yearning for peace.

Fatima comes to theaters on April 24th.

Adolescent High Adventure Abounds In The Trailer For Netflix's 'The Letter For the King'


A young soldier must take a message that can save the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands, to a military commander far away through dangerous terrain. Nope, I'm not talking about 1917 I'm talking about Netflix's new six-part adventure series The Letter for the King which is, of course, based off of a YA novel. The cynic in me wanted to to start his by making some crappy joke, like calling it 1517 or something like that but then I realized the glory of what Netflix is doing for us with films like this. The Letter for the King is EXACTLY the type of movie that wouldn't get made if major studios still controlled all of production. A mid-range budget series about kids on an adventure, the stuff that Amblin is made of, and we almost totally lost it! This, my friends, is the beauty of Netflix producing so many films and short series.

Grandeur aside, the movie looks like a ton of fun, armor, horses, swords, a somewhat diverse cast of underdog kids, and the allusion to some sort of magic. Andy Serkis, who appears to be coming up as one of Netflix's go-to guys shows up as the one recognizable face, but here's the other beauty of Netflix properties, we've come to expect them as no-name ensembles that almost always produce a stand out!

The Letter for the King is set to be released March 20, 2020

Steven Spielberg Out As 'Indiana Jones 5' Director, James Mangold In Talks To Replace Him


With Lucasfilm really struggling to crack a story idea for Indiana Jones 5, perhaps we should've guessed all was not right with the film? Perhaps the reason we assumed the best was because of the steady presence of Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg, who have been there from the franchise's beginning. Well, now you can forget that, because for the first time ever Spielberg will not be directing a new Indiana Jones adventure.

Variety reports that Spielberg has decided to step down from directing Indiana Jones 5, a film he has been talking about for quite a while. He thinks now is a good time to pass the torch, and reportedly in talks to replace him is none other than James Mangold.

It's hard to argue with that choice. Mangold is coming off his Oscar-nominee Ford v Ferrari, but is also beloved by fans for films including Logan, 3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, and The Wolverine. He's among the most consistent directors around and could bring the sense of fun that an Indiana Jones movie should have.

Ford recently talked about Indiana Jones 5 not moving forward unless they could assure it would be great, but did he know this move was coming? Had he already factored Mangold into that equation? Given Mangold's accomplished screenwriting chops, I wouldn't be surprised if he takes over the screenplay from David Koepp, prompting a delay in production.

For now, Indiana Jones 5 is set to arrive on July 9th 2021. That seems like a longshot to me.

'Creed 3' Moves Forward With 'King Richard' Writer Zach Baylin


Creed 3 is happening, which we shouldn't be surprised by if it truly wants to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, the long-lived Rocky franchise. Although to this point we hadn't heard of any movement on the sequel to Ryan Coogler and Steven Caple Jr.'s films, THR reports writer Zach Baylin has been hired to pen a script for the boxing drama.

MGM has tapped Baylin, whose King Richard screenplay found its way on the 2018 Black List, to write the script for Creed 3. If you don't know what King Richard is, that's the movie about Richard Williams, father to tennis greats Vanessa and Serena Williams, and how he helped motivate them to be the champions they are. The film is currently in production with Will Smith in the lead role and Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters & Men) directing.

So that makes him something of a perfect choice to write a movie about Adonis Creed, the hot-headed boxer and son to legendary champ, Apollo Creed. What we don't know if who will direct, and how much involvement Sylvester Stallone will be involved. That could tell us a lot about the direction the movie goes.


'Saint Maud' Trailer: A24 Celebrates Ash Wednesday With Eerie Look At Their Religious Horror


For us non-religious folk, a day like Ash Wednesday could easily slip by without us knowing, unless we run into someone with an ashy cross-shaped mark on their forehead. But A24 isn't one to miss a trick, and have used today as the perfect time to drop the trailer for their Roman Catholic horror, Saint Maud.

Starring Morfydd Clark (of Amazon's Lord of the Rings series) and Jennifer Ehle, the film centers on a trouble Roman Catholic hospice nurse who fears she has been possessed by a demonic force as she becomes infatuated with an ailing ex-dancer. The film marks the directorial debut of Rose Glass, who was mentioned by Parasite director Bong Joon-ho as a filmmaker to watch.

SYNOPSIS: The debut film from writer-director Rose Glass, Saint Maud is a chilling and boldly original vision of faith, madness, and salvation in a fallen world. Maud, a newly devout hospice nurse, becomes obsessed with saving her dying patient’s soul — but sinister forces, and her own sinful past, threaten to put an end to her holy calling.

St. Maud hits theaters on April 3rd, and given the success A24 has had with Hereditary, Midsommar, The Lighthouse, The Witch, and others, you might want to mark down that date.

'Rumble' Trailer: Monsters Get Into The Ring In WWE And Paramount's Animated Grappler


The buildup to WrestleMania is here and it's real, but for two of the WWE superstars who are guaranteed to be somewhere in the main event, that road has taken an unusual detour. Roman Reigns and Raw Women's Champ Becky "The Man" Lynch are two of the featured voices in Rumble, an animated collaboration between Paramount and WWE Studios that takes sports entertainment to a monstrous new level.

"Let's Get Ready to Rumble!", the voice of Michael Buffer introduces us to the first trailer for Rumble, which is set in a world where monsters compete in the sport of professional wrestling, becoming global superstars in the process. The trailer features current champ, Tentacularis (voiced by Terry Crews), a glow-in-the-dark tentacled shark-like creature with legions of adoring fans and an unbeatable track record. But one human girl, Winnie (Geraldine Viswanathan), hopes to change that by training the unimpressive monster Steve (Will Arnett) into a champion.

The film is directed by Hamish Grieve in his directorial debut, from a script co-written by Tropic Thunder's Etan Cohen. Besides Reigns and Lynch, other voices include Tony Danza, Sonic the Hedgehog's Ben Schwartz, and Stephen A. Smith.

Rumble takes the ring next year on January 29th.