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3/20/2019

Rumor: 'Game Of Thrones' Showrunners' 'Star Wars' Movie Eyes Fall Start, Possibly Based On Hit Videogame


The Knights of the Old Republic video games remain the most popular of the Star Wars brand. Fans have often asked to see it adapted in some way, and any time a new movie or TV show is shrouded in mystery a rumor soon follows that they are about to get their wish. This time it may actually be true, and if so it'll be part of the new Star Wars movies developed by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

According to Star Wars News Net, Benioff and Weiss' Star Wars movie, expected to be the first part of a brand new trilogy, could shoot as early as this fall. That's not surprising as the slate is bare following this December's release of Episode 9, and Lucasfilm will want to get ahead on what comes next.

As for the story's timeline, the site's source says Disney sees Knights of the Old Republic as a way "to open up the Star Wars timeline and appeal to a more ‘Game of Thrones‘ style audience.” In keeping with the end of the Skywalker Saga in Episode 9, Benioff and Weiss will be chronicling adventures set "hundreds of years prior to the Skywalkers", although the games are actually 4000 years ahead of the Galactic Empire.

Count this as a rumor for now, but my gut tells me now is the time to give fans what they've always wanted and make KOTOR a reality.

'Bill & Ted 3' Gets A Most Excellent 2020 Release Date


Whoa. Shut me the Hell up, because Bill & Ted 3, which has been in the works for nearly a decade, is actually happening. We know it because Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter announced it in a new video, which you can see below:



This summer, Winter and Reeves will reprise their roles as best buds and eternal rockers William "Bill" S. Preston Esq. and Theodore "Ted" Long in Bill and Ted Face the Music, which will hit theaters on August 21st 2020.  Galaxy Quest's Dean Parisot has long been attached to direct a script first penned by Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson years ago. The story finds the middle-aged rockers looking to fulfill their rock 'n roll destiny by writing a song that will save the universe.

Expect lots of new faces from across time, and a fitting tribute to late comedian and franchise co-star George Carlin.

No X-Men Or Fantastic Four In Marvel's Plans The Next Two Years


As of 12:02am this morning Fox and Disney are a single entity, and while that spells bad news for thousands of employees who are now out of a job, at least we're getting the X-Men in the MCU!  What? Too soon?  Anyway, now that the deal is done, little things like release dates that were curiosities before take on an added weight of speculation.

While there are no confirmed dates set up beyond this year's Spider-Man: Far From Home, THR says the two films likely to shoot this year are Black Widow, which has been casting up nicely, and The Eternals which is just beginning the process of finding a lead, possibly one who is openly gay. If that schedule holds up we should see both movies in 2020, and as of right now that's all Marvel has even close to being ready.

In 2021 there are likely to be three films, two of them sequels we know are coming. There's Black Panther 2, which we've heard little about, and Doctor Strange 2 which has been the subject of rumors lately. The last one would be Shang-Chi, with the kung fu flick landing Destin Daniel Cretton as its director just days ago.

The point being that as of right now there is no place for the X-Men, Fantastic Four, or any Marvel characters that were once under the Fox umbrella. That said, it's always possible somebody gets introduced within another movie. Or, and this is where I'm leaning right now, Marvel shoots for a Disney+ debut in a serialized format. It would be a way of easing the concept of mutants into the MCU. And honestly, I think the Fantastic Four would work better as a Lost in Space-style TV show. The earliest we could see something would be 2022, but announcements could come as soon as Comic-Con.

Or we could just follow Ryan Reynolds' Twitter...

'Stranger Things' Season 3 Trailer Teases A Teenage Wasteland


After what feels like an endless number of teases, Netflix has finally dropped the first real trailer for Stranger Things' third season.  The end of last season found the kids of Hawkins overcoming yet another extradimensional threat, and promos ever since have mostly focused on something far less scary. New malls, ice cream, romance, fun in the sun...of course, it isn't going to last. What kind of show would this be if it did?

Set to the sounds of "Baba O'Riley", the trailer finds the kids we all know and love facing everything from monsters, to workout videos, to broken friendships. It's a reminder of the nostalgic qualities that are a reason so many have gravitated to the show, even those who may not have been from that bygone Amblin-esque era.  As for plot details, those are being kept secret and that's exactly how it should be.  Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) seems more like a regular kid than ever, but we all know it won't be long before those telekinetic powers of hers will be called into action.

Netflix will kick off Stranger Things season 3 on July 4th.

Robert Pattinson May Be Next To Join Christopher Nolan's Next Film


We may not know anything about Christopher Nolan's next film, but we may not need to. Not with a cast like this that he's putting together. According to Collider, Robert Pattinson is the next actor to join the mysterious film, joining BlacKkKlansman's John David Washington who was announced just yesterday.

The report claims Pattinson and Washington are the two leads, with a female lead of similar age yet to be cast, along with an older male. Otherwise, details remain scarce, although it's suggested the film  "could be more of a sequel" to Inception, which sounds dubious at best.

Pattinson's on one Hell of a roll, but starring in a Nolan film is a change of gear for the actor. He's largely stuck to smaller prestige films since Twilight ended and this would bring him roaring back into the spotlight. Stay tuned because it's clear the pieces are coming together quickly on this. Whatever Nolan is doing is set to hit theaters on July 17th 2020.

'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' Trailer: Leonardo DiCaprio Faces Bruce Lee In Quentin Tarantino's Latest


It really hasn't been that long since Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, but it feels like a lifetime. The divisive director is back with his latest, the '60s era Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which would be the 9th of the 10 films he's promised to complete before retiring. I don't think anybody believes that, but hey, we'll see.  The long-awaited first trailer has arrived and it's got two of the biggest stars in the world, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, trying to prove they can make it in Hollywood.

We don't know a heck of a lot about the story since this is one of the rare times a Tarantino script hasn't been passed around for months, but DiCaprio plays a TV Western star with Pitt as his able load-carrying stuntman as they try to move into feature films.  Set in 1969, it also includes the story of Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie and seen in a kitschy dance number, who happens to be a victim of the Manson Family. We even get to see DiCaprio have a showdown with Bruce Lee, the latter played by Mike Moh.

The cast also includes Bruce Dern, Damian Lewis, Al Pacino, Luke Perry, Emile Hirsch, Lena Dunham, Dakota Fanning and many more. It's a movie about Hollywood, how can Tarantino not chock this thing full of celebrity cameos?

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens July 26th.

Review: Jordan Peele's 'Us' Is Twisted, Subversive, And Messy


Two years ago Jordan Peele shook up the horror genre with Get Out, a film that was as socially-aware as it was scary, as funny as it was unflinching, and it earned him an Oscar win to boot. The expectations have been through the roof for his followup, the simply-titled Us, which has been described as Peele's "new nightmare" inspired by a favorite episode of The Twilight Zone. And again Peele is back exploring humanity's ills through the lens of horror, specifically the divide between us that will surely lead to our downfall.

Or it's just a home invasion movie with a twist. Take your pick.


Peele never liked the "social thriller" label attached to Get Out, a term that only got muddier when it landed in the comedy/musical category at the Golden Globes. He's on much firmer genre territory with Us, but tackling serious issues and confronting tough truths remain a point of interest for the filmmaker, although he does so less successfully this time while his skills at eliciting frights have never been sharper.


Us begins in 1986, a year that saw more than six millions Americans lock hands in a publicity stunt called Hands Across America, a charity benefit meant to fight homelessness and poverty. How'd that work out? Peele seems to be asking that question as his camera looms over the boxy TV set showing an ad for the big day, meant to be a personification of unity in fighting a common cause. It's at this same time that young Adelaide Wilson (Madison Curry) becomes separated from her arguing parents while on the Santa Cruz boardwalk. The girl wanders into a Vision Quest hall of mirrors and encounters her doppelgänger, Adelaide's face widening into a shocked stare fans of Get Out will recognize immediately. 


Years later and an adult-aged Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o) is still traumatized by the fifteen minutes she was lost. She's still a little bit off, but she tries to keep it together for her family: husband Gabe (Winston Duke), daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph), and son Jason (Evan Alex) who seems to have picked up some of mom's peculiar tendencies. He never goes anywhere without his Chewbacca mask, and has trouble communicating socially, even with his own family. Her anxiety and his only get worse when the family's summer vacation to Santa Cruz is turned upside down by the arrival of four malevolent doppelgangers dressed in bloody red robes.


Peele explores the idea of human connection, or this country's lack of it, and the hopelessness that has been allowed to fester for far too long. There is a widening split between those who have everything, and those with nothing forced to exist in the shadows. When Adelaide asks her crimson twin who they are, she simply replies "We are Americans.". The crowd at our screening laughed at that one, not because it was funny but because it was true. The problems of this world are ours, and the ramifications of our apparent disinterest are also ours. We reap what we sew. Peele dabbles in this and other ideas without committing to much of anything, which can be frustrating because there's potential in further exploration. The #MeToo movement and the push to believe women is touched upon as Adelaide struggles to convince Gabe of her childhood traumas. Much of the conflict between the couple seems to stem from his insistence on being the man-in-charge, even when she is proven to be more than capable of taking care of business.


There's dread hanging in the air right from the start, and Us really finds its footing as Peele plays within the boundaries of the horror genre. The home invasion sequence is a thing of nerve-racking beauty; it stretches on for so long you begin to feel terrorized by the dark copies. Peele's sense of humor never wavers, though, catching you off-guard with a visual gag or a darkly-ironic slip of the tongue. It truly feels as if anything can happen and that anyone can be a victim of this mad mirror attack, while Peele's use of light and music (The use of an iconic old school rap song during a murderous sequence is perfectly-timed to be both hilarious and ominous. Don't let anyone spoil it!!) tie your senses into knots. While Us isn't awash in extreme violence it only makes the bloodshed all the more impactful and tough to shake. Like he did with Get Out, Peele has crafted images that will be seared into memory long after Us has left theaters.


Nyong'o may have found her calling as a horror scream queen. Following her heroic turn in the horror-comedy Little Monsters, she takes on a physically-demanding dual role in Us. All of the cast pull double-duty, including co-stars Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker, but it's Nyong'o who stands out from the rest. She shifts from heartwarming and gentle to terrifying and cruel in a moment's notice, while finding something maternal within both characters. Duke is great as comic relief, masking that animal side we saw in Black Panther under a hail of jokes and offbeat behavior. Peele gets the most out of them and I wouldn't be surprised if he made an effort to work with them all again.


Us is going to mean different things to different people, and should inspire loads of discussion over repeat viewings. Whether you go in looking to be scared or to experience something more, Peele has delivered on another twisted crowd-pleaser that promises to be dissected for years to come.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Russos Are Tricking Audiences With 'Avengers: Endgame' Trailers


Marvel has gotten very good at tricking audiences into believing something that isn't necessarily true. In particular, the Russo Brothers have become experts at using movie trailers and set photos as outlets of deception; whether it's convincing us Hawkeye was in Avengers: Infinity War, that Hulk was in the battle for Wakanda, or excluding Spider-Man from Captain America: Civil War. You probably shouldn't believe what the Russos are selling with Avengers: Endgame, either.

In a conversation with Empire, the Russos admit they are again pulling the webbing over fanboys' eyes with the Endgame trailer. Joe Russo says...

"We talked about all scales of marketing. The thing that’s most important to us is that we preserve the surprise of the narrative. When I was a kid and saw The Empire Strikes Back at 11am on the day it opened…it so profoundly moved me because I didn’t know a damn thing about the story I was going to watch. We’re trying to replicate that experience.”

As someone who has grown to hate the multiple revealing trailers studios foist upon us for every blockbuster, I applaud the Russos keeping their secrets. I think there are better ways than being deliberately deceptive, but if it means we get to go into Endgame clean, I'm for it.  My gut tells me everything we saw in the teaser with Iron Man and Nebula is a ruse. I'm not sure they are where they appear to be. Something about Hawkeye feels off to me, too. Maybe it's because his return is so anticipated that I think fans will be particularly susceptible.

Avengers: Endgame opens April 26th.

'Girls Of The Sun' Trailer: Female Warriors Fight Back Against ISIS


In director Eva Husson's sophomore effort, Girls of the Sun, a group of Kurdish decide to fight back against their former captors in the Islamic State, literally taking up arms against ISIS as part of the titular battalion. It's a film that debuted at last year's Cannes where it competed for the Palme d’Or. Nearly a year later and a new trailer preludes its release into theaters in just a few weeks.

The film stars Emmanuelle Bercot and Golshifteh Farahani, the latter best known for her scene-stealing roles in Paterson and The Upside, and is based on the stories of real-life women who liberated themselves and fought against extremism. Included is a character based on renowned war photographer Marie Colvin, who was played by Rosamund Pike to some acclaim in A Private War.

Here's the synopsis: Somewhere in Kurdistan, Bahar (Farahani), commander of the “Girls of the Sun” battalion, is preparing to liberate her hometown from the hands of extremists, hoping to find her son who is held hostage. A French journalist, Mathilde (Bercot), comes to cover the attack and bear witness to the story of these exceptional warriors. Since their lives have been turned upside down, the Girls of the Sun find themselves fighting for women, life, and liberty.

Girls of the Sun opens April 12th.


3/19/2019

Cardi B, Constance Wu, Julia Stiles And More Join Jennifer Lopez's Strip Club Thriller 'Hustlers'


We don't see as much of Jennifer Lopez on the big screen like we used to, but last year she became attached to the promising strippers-turned-criminal masterminds thriller, Hustlers. Promising for more than just Lopez being attached, it also had the underrated Lorene Scafaria (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist) attached to direct the real-life crime story. Well now we know Lopez is going to be surrounded by an incredibly diverse group of women whose reach extends into the realms of TV, film, and even hip-hop.

Joining Lopez are rapper Cardi B, Crazy Rich Asians' Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Riverdale's Lili Reinhart, and Oscar winner Mercedes Ruehl. Wow. Trace Lysette and Mette Towley are also in talks for roles.

While most eyes will be on Cardi B who is making her big screen acting debut, it's all about Stiles for me. We don't get to see the Save the Last Dance star in major films like this very often and I'm personally looking forward to it.  As for Cardi B, she started out as an exotic dancer so maybe she can lend a bit of realism to the film, which centers on strip club dancers who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.

Filming begins later this month now. [Deadline]