Review: The Commune

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg

Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

Starring Jason Drucker and Alicia Silverstone

Review: Paris Can Wait

Starring Diane Lane, Alec Baldwin, and Arnaud Viard

Review: Everything, Everything

Starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson

Review: Alien: Covenant

Directed by Ridley Scott

5/26/2017

Blake Lively Learns 'The Husband's Secret'; Janelle Monae Joins Robert Zemeckis' 'Marwencol' Remake


After her book Big Little Lies became arguably the TV event of the year on HBO, author Liane Moriarty has another project ready to be adapted, only this one for the big screen. Blake Lively will star in and exec-produce The Husband's Secret, in which she plays Cecilia Fitzpatrick, a busy wife and mom who uncovers a secret about her husband that he's been hiding for years. It forces her to realize the life she's been leading was built on lies. [Deadline]


After a killer year with Moonlight and Hidden Figures, Janelle Monae is now turning her attention to Robert Zemeckis' long-developing remake of 2010 documentary, Marwencol, which Steve Carell is set to lead. Leslie Mann and Baby Driver's Eiza Gonzalez are also aboard the heart-warming drama based on the true story of Mark Hogancamp, who builds a 1/6th scale WWII-era village with action figures and dolls as a way to recover from a violent assault. The figures represent Mark, his friends, family, and even his attackers.  [THR]

First Clip From Liam Neeson's Watergate Drama 'The Silent Man' Has Perfect Timing


How many times have you heard Watergate talked about TV lately? A lot, I bet, and that's not likely to change with the current President embroiled in a scandal that dwarfs anything Nixon did. So that makes this a good time for drop the first clip for Watergate film, The Silent Man, starring Liam Neeson as Deep Throat himself, Mark Felt.

Formerly titled Felt, which they thankfully realized was a pretty awful title, the film stars Neeson as the infamous Watergate whistleblower who fed info to reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.  The film chronicles the professional and personal risks Felt took on in the name of justice.

Peter Landesman wrote the script and will direct, having tackled other scandals with JFK assassination film Parkland and NFL drama Concussion The Silent Man opens in September with co-stars Diane Lane, Marton Csokas, Josh Lucas, Tony Goldwyn, Michael C. Hall, Tom Sizemore, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ike Barinholtz, Bruce Greenwood, Brian d’Arcy James, Kate Walsh, Noah Wyle, and Maika Monroe.


'The Jetsons' Animated Movie Lands 'Sausage Party' Director


While The Jetsons crew have been busy battling WWE superstars, Warner Bros. has quietly been putting together a new animated movie for them on the big screen. It's been a couple of years since we've heard anything solid on it, but now comes word from THR that animation vet Conrad Vernon has joined with an eye towards directing.

Vernon is the guy behind the hit films Shrek 2, Monsters vs. Aliens, and the most successful R-rated animated movie ever, Sausage Party. Warner Bros. has been trying to mount a Jetsons movie since the '90s with Robert Rodriguez and Adam Shankman attached at various points, but they're moving forward now in the way they're best recognized.

No word on when this could start, but presumably The Jetsons will be part of the Hanna-Barbara shared universe revealed last year.

5/25/2017

Rosario Dawson Joining 'New Mutants' As Dr. Cecilia Reyes


Rosario Dawson just can't stop helping to heal superheroes, but at least this time she'll have some powers of her own. Presumably. Earlier today there was a rumor that she was up for an unspecified role in X-Men spinoff, New Mutants, and now THR reports that she is officially in talks, and that she'd be playing former X-Man, Dr. Cecilia Reyes. Of course, Dawson has been playing nurse Claire Temple in every one of Marvel's Netflix shows, most recently seen in Iron Fist.

Reyes was one of my favorite short-term X-Men. She arrived during the Operation: Zero Tolerance storyline back in 1997, and was a mutant with the ability to create protective forcefields around herself. She never wanted to be an X-Man or to become a superhero, as her powers were purely defensive. She just wanted to help people. In the movie she'll serve as a mentor to the young team of teen mutants, basically taking the place of James McAvoy's Charles Xavier who will not be appearing. Nor will Alexandra Shipp as Storm, which was a rumor floated some months back.

Dawson joins Maisie Williams and Anya Taylor-Joy in the Josh Boone-directed film, which opens April 13th 2018.

'The Boss Baby 2' Will Take Charge In 2021


Want to know what the #6 highest-grossing movie of the year is with $468M, more than Get Out, Ghost In The Shell, and John Wick Chapter Two? It's The Boss Baby, proving that people really love Alec Baldwin when he's voicing a child, just as he does on SNL. Put him in an actual movie like Paris Can Wait and nobody shows up. Anyway, Dreamworks is keen to get as much milk out of this bottle as possible, and have already lined up a sequel.

Dreamworks and Universal have announced The Boss Baby 2 for March 26th 2021. Of course Baldwin will be back voicing the baby who speaks and acts like a power-mad mini Donald Trump. His arrival into a new family annoys 7-year-old Tim, who comes to find out the baby actually has a mission to stop people from loving puppies so much. It still sounds crazy weird, even now.

No word on the sequel's plot and if it will directly adapt author Marla Frazee's 2016 sequel, The Bossier Baby, which introduces a sister into the mix.


Review: 'Wakefield' Starring Bryan Cranston & Jennifer Garner


"What is so sacrosanct in a marriage, a family that we need to live in it day after day?" 

Here's a tip: if your significant other ever says something like this, start packing a bag. Or more likely, they've already packed their bags and are headed for the door. That's what Bryan Cranston's disillusioned family man does in Wakefield, a promising but tedious oddity from writer/director Robin Swicord, best known for The Jane Austen Book Club. It's not often there's too much of Cranston, he's one of the most entertaining screen actors around, but this is one of those times.

The vast majority of Swicord's slow-moving character study is told in Cranston's voiceover, from a dingy old, visually unappealing attic. From there sits Cranston as Howard Wakefield, a Manhattanite who has grown tired of his seemingly perfect life with his gorgeous wife (Jennifer Garner, mostly seen from afar through windows), two daughters, and career as a high-powered attorney. One day, after chasing a raccoon into the attic above their outdoor garage, Howard just decides to stay there. Why go back home he an observe his life from afar through the window/peephole? How will those in his life react to his disappearance? Will they suffer? Will they celebrate? Will his wife move on?

Early on we catch on to what Howard really is. He's a voyeur. He gets off on watching others and seeing what they do. We learn that he likes to play a game with his wife where she flirts openly with other men, just to make him jealous. They would then have amazing make-up sex, until ultimately Howard takes things too far. This is his M.O., and this latest exercise is him taking the game way too far once again. He becomes obsessed with watching his family move on without him. Days, weeks, months pass, with Howard sneaking into the house to steal food, or eating straight out of the garbage. Eventually he comes to look like a homeless man, unrecognizable and free to walk around the city to observe things even closer. But what is the ultimate point? What's his end game?

That answer remains frustratingly out of reach for Swicord, and thus it remains out of reach for Cranston, who plays Howard as just some curio rather than a man with a legitimate problem. Howard just isn't a very interesting or sympathetic guy, and his Peeping Tom antics don't suddenly make him one. We learn precious little about why he felt this need to live outside of himself for what turns out to be an entire year. And what we do learn about Howard only makes him look more like a creep. He has a few witty thoughts that pass through his warped mind every now and then, but not enough to make spending two hours with Wakefield worth the investment.

Rating: 2 out of 5


Review: 'Buena Vista Social Club: Adios' Marks The End Of The Tour



Back in 1996, guitarist Ry Cooder went to Cuba and recorded a week of sessions with local musicians.  They turned up some of the original son players, the same ones whose bands in the '40s and '50s worked in the hotels and casinos and kicked off the Latin dance boom in America.  These very same musicians were still around, playing and singing in Cuba, unheard of outside the island.  Together, they captured some of the old songs in an album perfectly targeted at the rising self-consciously globalist strain of American consumerism.

Two years later, in the wake of the album's critical and popular acclaim -- including two Grammy awards -- Cooder assembled the musicians for two performances in Amsterdam and one at Carnegie Hall.  Wim Wenders made a documentary at the time, Buena Vista Social Club, which itself was nominated for an Academy Award and won a number of others around the world.  But it focused more on the album and the live performances, and less on the history behind the music itself.

Sixteen years after that, as the Obama administration finally began to work towards normalizing relations between America and Cuba, the five musicians who remained held one last tour.  Documentarian Lucy Walker spends some time with them, and digs deeper into the history and culture behind the music itself in Buena Vista Social Club: Adios.

The first hour of the film covers the history lesson that Wenders' documentary didn't.  The roots of son cubano in the eastern highlands around Santiago de Cuba rhyme strongly with those of blues and jazz in the American south, but with a distinctly Hispanic accent.  Bantu-derived rhythm and percussion combined with Spanish canción and guitar variants that settled most commonly on the tres.

Through the early 20th century, Cuban bandleaders like Arsenio Rodríguez and Beny Moré developed the son, merging in and spinning out most of what America now thinks of as Latin dance.  Rumba, mambo, cha-cha-chá, and salsa all have their roots in these Afro-Cuban dancehalls.  And before the rise of rock 'n' roll in the late '50s, it was the hottest sound across the United States.

But the focus is always drawn back to the core group that ended up involved in the '96 album and '98 tour.  They have some interesting stories to tell, but it can sometimes feel like their presence is due as much to being in the right place at the right time as to any sort of inherent importance to the son.  Some of them, like Compay Segundo, really do occupy a central role, and were famous back before the revolution; most seem to have been hard-working and talented, but little-known before Ry Cooder needed to assemble a band.  Compounding this, many of the '96 lineup aren't around anymore, so their stories are told through a combination of archival footage -- often from Wenders' documentary -- and testimonials from the others who have survived.

By the second half of the film, the focus is entirely on the album, the tour, and what has happened to the musicians since then.  If you're a huge fan of the original tour, it may well be fascinating, but it can feel like the sort of thing you'd find in the supplemental material of an anniversary re-issue of the Buena Vista Social Club DVD.

Notably missing from the film is a serious look at how recent political developments have interacted with the son.  The historical section at least glossed over the revolution and the segregated social clubs of the '50s, but what effect is the relaxation of tensions between the United States and Cuba having?

For that matter, what about the commercialism of the American and European bourgeoisie, and how they turned the original Buena Vista Social Club into a phenomenon in the first place?  There's a fascinating tension between recognition and exploitation, and a more daring documentary would pluck that string.  But of course Buena Vista Social Club: Adios only exists because of that well-off Anglo audience, and it knows better than to ask them to examine their own complicity in the difficulties their beloved struggling Latinx artists have endured.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Attend A Free DC Screening Of Ken Loach's 'I, Daniel Blake'


We're happy to offer our DC readers the chance to attend a free early screening of Ken Loach's acclaimed Palme d'Or winner, I, Daniel Blake.

SYNOPSIS: Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the latest from legendary director Ken Loach is a gripping, human tale about the impact one man can make. Gruff but goodhearted, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a man out of time: a widowed woodworker who’s never owned a computer, he lives according to his own common sense moral code. But after a heart attack leaves him unable to work and the state welfare system fails him, the stubbornly self-reliant Daniel must stand up and fight for his dignity, leading a one-man crusade for compassion that will transform the lives of a struggling single mother (Hayley Squires) and her two children. Graced with humor and heart, I, Daniel Blake is a moving, much-needed reminder of the power of empathy from one of the world’s greatest living filmmakers.

The screening takes place on Thursday, June 1st at 7:30pm at Landmark E Street Cinema. If you'd like to attend, simply download and print the below E-pass. Please remember that having passes does not guarantee entry. You'll still need to arrive early to ensure receiving a seat. Enjoy the show!

I, Daniel Blake opens in DC on June 2nd.




Gina Prince-Bythewood To Direct Sony's Silver Sable/Black Cat Movie


We may have all scoffed at Sony's non-Spidey Spider-Man cinematic universe plans, but they are definitely going about it the right way. First they managed to land Tom Hardy for their Venom movie, and now Silver Sable and Black Cat teamup flick just scored a talented director in Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Prince-Bythewood will direct what is being simply titled, Silver and Black, which is a pretty sweet title. She'll rewrite the script from Christopher Yost that centers on hired mercenary Silver Sable and thief Black Cat aka Felicia Hardy. Both have had interesting romantic entanglements with Peter Parker in the past, which could be fun if/when the character returns under Sony's umbrella fully.

It's kind of a surprising move for Prince-Bythewood if you go by her past credits, which includes Love & Basketball, Beyond the Lights, and The Secret Life of Bees. But she recently took a turn towards Marvel superheroes with the pilot to Freeform's Cloak & Dagger TV series.  Apparently Marvel liked what she did and decided to keep her in the fold, which hopefully means more work for her in the future.

'The New Mutants' To be A "Full-Fledged Horror", Plus Casting & Story Details


From the moment we learned Demon Bear may be the antagonist of Josh Boone's New Mutants film, it was clear this would not be your ordinary X-Men spinoff. Demon Bear debuted in 1983 with the arrival of impressionistic artist Bill Sienkiwicz, and along with writer Chris Claremont they took the teenaged mutants on a much darker course than you would see in typical superhero comics, bordering on horror comics, actually. And it appears that Boone is going to follow in that direction, based on his comments to EW...

“We are making a full-fledged horror movie set within the X-Men universe. There are no costumes. There are no supervillains. We’re trying to do something very, very different.”

That's a pretty bold move but not totally unexpected. Again, Demon Bear was kind of a giveaway, but also because Fox seems intent on doing new things with comic book movies in general. One only need to look at Logan to see their willingness for that.

So far the only confirmed casting is Maisie Williams as Wolfsbane and Anya Taylor-Joy as Magik, but the site says 13 Reasons Why's Henry Zaga (he played Tony's boyfriend) is close to nabbing the role of Roberto "Sunspot" DaCosta, who was last seen in X-Men: Days of Future Past. They also note unconfirmed sources that say Rosario Dawson is up for an unspecified role, and I have no idea who that could be. Maybe Selene, the Black Queen? I'd kill to see that.  The roles of Cannonball, Danielle Moonstar, and Warlock still need to be filled. Nat Wolff had been up for Cannonball but that may have fallen through.

As for the plot, it'll focus on the danger mutants pose when their powers are brand new, which is why Professor Xavier always tries to find them early.  Here's the logline from a close source: “Held in a secret facility against their will, five new mutants have to battle the dangers of their powers, as well as the sins of their past. They aren’t out to save the world — they’re just trying to save themselves.”

Just because Boone plans on making a horror, he's still aiming for a PG-13 rating rather than the ever-popular 'R'. Filming on The New Mutants begins in July and should open on April 13th 2018.