Review: Nina

Starring Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone

Review: Elvis and Nixon

Starring Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey

Review: The Huntsman: Winter's War

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, and Charlize Theron

Review: Green Room

Starring Anton Yelchin, Patrick Stewart, and Imogen Poots

Review: Sing Street

Written and directed by John Carney

4/30/2016

Rumor: Trouble Brewing Between Zack Snyder And Warner Bros. Over 'Justice League'


Uh oh, is trouble brewing at Warner Bros. over their struggles with the DCU? Last night we learned that "creative differences" had caused Seth Grahame-Smith to drop out of directing The Flash, although the nature of what those differences are is unclear. It could be anything, but it was inevitable that in the wake of poor reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice there was going to be some kind of change in approach. And it looks like those studio concerns have finally reached Zack Snyder and his Justice League film, with a bigger shake-up a definite possibility.

A report at Birth.Movies.Death claims that Snyder is butting heads with Warner Bros. behind-the-scenes as he begins shooting on Justice League. Apparently, studio execs wanted to take more definitive action, like maybe removing Snyder from the film entirely or pushing back the release date, given the poor response and underwhelming box office of 'Batman v Superman'. But since shooting on Justice League followed so closely behind, they couldn't really do anything about Snyder and things just had to proceed as planned. That hasn't stopped Warner Bros. and Snyder from fighting, however.

And there could be ramifications beyond Justice League, too, as Aquaman director James Wan is seriously considering whether all of this pressure is worth it. He's spoken in the past about wanting to make the aquatic hero's film more "fun", probably similar to what he was able to do on Fast 7. But if he's going to face push back and have to make a lot of compromises creatively, what's the point? He's one director who has more than enough to do without having to add a superhero movie to his resume.

So keep an eye on this situation. The source has been decent when it comes to reporting on the DCU, but they haven't been perfect. They were only half right about the Suicide Squad reshoots, for instance. There's likely more to this story than they know.  However, when there's smoke there's fire, and clearly some within Warner Bros. are starting to feel the heat. If Suicide Squad doesn't work out, we could see a lot of heads rolling in response.

Interview: Lorene Scafaria Talks The Many Charms Of 'The Meddler'


It's always the end of the world for somebody in Lorene Scafaria's movies. In Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, which has long been one of my go-to movies when I need a "pick-me-up", teens played by Michael Cera and Kat Dennings have a wild night on the town before heading into the uncertainty of adulthood. Her directorial debut Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is exactly how it sounds, two people (played by Steve Carell and Keira Knightley), finally find that someone special just as the apocalypse arrives.

In her latest film, the perfectly-timed comedy The Meddler, Scafaria injects some of her own life experiences into the story of a mother and daughter, played by Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne respectively, dealing with the loss of a loved one in very different ways.  While Byrne falls into a depression and buries herself in work as a TV writer, Sarandon moves to L.A. to be closer to her daughter and, yes, she begins to meddle in her life as well as others.  It's the perfect film to take mom to for a Mother's Day excursion.

I had a chance to talk with Scafaria about The Meddler, the personal tragedy that inspired the story, and some of what she's encountered trying to get small movies like this made today.  You can check out that interview below, and read my review of The Meddler here.

Free Screening Of 'The Man Who Knew Infinity' Starring Dev Patel And Jeremy Irons


We're happy to offer our readers the chance to attend a free advance screening of The Man Who Knew Infinity, starring Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons.  Directed by Matthew Brown, the film tells the true story of self-taught genius Srinavasa Ramanujan who obsessively pursued his passion for mathematics despite rejection and derision from his peers With the help of prominent mathematics professor G.H. Hardy, he leaves his home in India for Cambridge so that his brilliant theories can be further explored.

The screening takes place on Wednesday, May 4th at 7:00pm at  Landmark E Street Cinema. If you'd like to attend, simply download and print the below E-Pass, good for you and one guest. Please remember that having passes does not guarantee entry and you'll want to arrive early to ensure receiving a seat. Enjoy the show!

The Man Who Knew Infinity opens May 6th.


Alec Baldwin Goes Sci-Fi In Trailer For 'Andròn-The Black Labyrinth'


A couple of years ago Alec Baldwin did something he very rarely does nowadays, which is sign on to lead a science-fiction movie. That film was the interestingly-titled Andròn-The Black Labyrinth, and right away it sounded like somebody's idea of what The Maze Runner would look like if cast with adults. Apparently the film has been quietly making the festival rounds, like very quietly, but now it's getting some attention with the arrival of its trailer.

Surprisingly, it doesn't look that bad. Yes, it still resembles The Maze Runner mixed with The Hunger Games and maybe with a dash of Cube thrown in, but the effects are solid and the premise intriguing. Baldwin plays a man who has trapped players in a weird, claustrophobic maze, forcing them to fight one another for survival while he broadcasts the battles.  The cast includes Danny Glover, Michelle Ryan, Gale Morgan Harold III, Skin, Leo Howard, Antonia Campbell Hughes, Jon Kortajarena, Mauro Conte, Korlan Madi, Alex Martin, Gaia Scodellaro, Elettra Mallaby, and Clara Pasieka, with Francesco Cinquemani directing.

So clearly Baldwin being out of his element is the draw here.  Andròn doesn't have a release date yet but we'll update you when one is finally locked down.

'Watership Down' Miniseries Headed To Netflix With John Boyega, James McAvoy, And More


If you were a kid who loved to read then chances are Richard Adams' adventure novel Watership Down is one you've likely crossed paths with. Published in 1972, the best-selling novel has been adapted prominently a couple of times before, first as a and harrowing movie in 1978, and again as a lighter miniseries in 1999. And now the story is being brought to a whole new generation courtesy of Netflix and the BBC.

Variety reports that Netflix and BBC are partnering up on an animated Watership Down miniseries. The voice talent assembled for it is appropriately impressive, too The cast includes James McAvoy as Hazel, Nicholas Hoult as Fiver, Ben Kingsley as General Woundwort, John Boyega as Bigwig, Gemma Arterton (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) as Clover, Miles Jupp (The Thick of It) as Blackberry, Freddie Fox (Pride) as Captain Holly, Olivia Colman (Hyde Park on Hudson) as Strawberry, and Anne-Marie Duff (The Magdalene Sisters) as Hyzenthlay.  Whoa. And perhaps most surprising of all is the choice of director for the four-part series; Noam Murro who was last at the helm for 300: Rise of an Empire.

The largely allegorical tale centers on a group of rabbits forced to flee their home after a disaster and find a new one, encountering many trials and tribulations along the way. Adams pulled from Greek and Hebrew myth, giving he characters a rich backstory and personalized languages. It's really an extraordinary piece of work and should be just as great on the small screen. Look for it to arrive some time next year.

4/29/2016

Marion Cotillard And Guillaume Canet Are Ready To 'Rock 'n Roll'


It can't be easy juggling a Hollywood career and a stable romantic relationship, but it must be even more difficult bringing aspects of that relationship to the big screen. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt recently vented their dirty laundry in By the Sea, a film that pretty much nobody saw but them. And now Marion Cotillard and her partner, filmmaker/actor Guillaume Canet, are preparing to do the same, but in a more light-hearted way.

Being shopped at Cannes next month is Rock 'n' Roll, a comedy which Canet will direct and star in alongside Cotillard. The trick is, they'll be playing versions of themselves with Canet as an actor who changes his life around when a gorgeous young actress tells him he's no longer as "bangable" as he used to be. Can't blame him for that. Gilles Lellouche, Fanny Ardant, Philippe Lefebvre and Yvan Attal co-star.

Canet has directed Cotillard a couple of times before in Little White Lies and the '70s crime thriller, Blood Ties. They also starred together in Love Me If You Dare and 2009's The Last Flight. [ScreenDaily]

John Krasinski Is The New 'Jack Ryan' In Amazon's TV Series


Remember back when John Krasinski was up for the Captain America role? Seems like forever ago, doesn't it? And back then it was hard to imagine Jim from The Office doing anything other than cracking jokes from behind a desk. Well that has definitely changed, and Krasinski showed he makes a pretty good tough guy in Michael Bay's 13 Hours. And now the actor is taking those skills and heading back to the small screen in a series adaptation of the Jack Ryan movies.

Krasinski will play CIA analyst Jack Ryan in the eponymous series picked up by Amazon Studios. Running the show will be Lost duo Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland, and they've got a task ahead of them. The Jack Ryan films were once wildly popular with The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and Clear and Present Danger. But they hit a bump in the road when the Ben Affleck-led Sum of All Fears failed to live up to expectations. The franchise sat dormant for 12 years until 2014's failed reboot, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and obviously producers felt TV was a better way to continue on.

This is probably the smart way to go. We could be talking about Jack Ryan as the new 24 if Amazon plays their cards right. [Deadline]

SEGA Is Bringing A 'Shinobi' Movie To The Big Screen


Ninjas have long been a part of many a video game franchise, but the original (and best in my opinion) was Shinobi, which not only ate up a ton of quarters at the arcade but caused a lot of butt burn on the SEGA Master System console.  The game was basic as Hell, since all you really did in the side-scroller was throw ninja stars and smoke bombs and generic goons. But it was fun, and hopefully that can be translated to the big screen.

SEGA is teaming up with producer Marc Platt (Drive) to develop a Shinobi feature film. Clearly just in the conceptual stages, there are no writers or director attached at this point.  In the original 1987 game you played Joe Musashi, a ninja sent to rescue the kidnapped children of his clan. Musashi's backstory was fleshed out to reveal that he was once a weak boy who joined the clan and worked diligently to become their most skilled warrior. Later games revealed more, while others, such as Shadow Dancer, ditched Musashi altogether. So it's hard to figure where the movie might go.

We'll see where this goes. SEGA has a tendency to strike these deals and then have nothing actually happen. Remember that awesome live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movie? You don't because it never happened. 


'The Flash' Loses Its Director Over "Creative Differences"


So far Warner Bros.' DC Comics universe has been totally under the guidance of Zack Snyder, and so far the reaction to Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been mixed. But at least he's been a stable presence and will continue to be entering into Justice League, however there's a problem coming up with one of the movies Snyder won't be directing. The Flash, which is set to star Ezra Miller as the crimson speedster, was to be directed by Seth Grahame-Smith, but it looks like that is no longer the case.

According to THR, Grahame-Smith has dropped out of The Flash due to "creative difference", a blanket term that can mean just about anything nowadays.  Grahame-Smith, who wrote the novels Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies before helping to adapt them both, was an interesting fit for the job, anyway.  It's unfortunate that Warner Bros. couldn't get Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie) to do more than just write the screenplay, but they are busy with Disney's young Han Solo spinoff.

The Flash doesn't arrive until March 3rd 2018, a year after the character's next appearance in Justice League. So there's time to find another director, just not a lot of it.

Review: 'Ratchet & Clank' Brings The Video Game To Life On The Big Screen


So real talk I was actually surprised when Sony announced they were making a movie from of their video game franchises. For the most part I think Ratchet and Clank’s claim to fame was really those early commercial selling the game with their weird weapons like turning people to sheep. Those were hilarious and was still in that comedic tone of the early PlayStation brand (it’s a damn shame we don’t have a Crash Bandicoot movie but that’s another story). So I was game (no pun intended) for this movie, I played some of the games back in the day on the PS2 (PlayStation 2 for the non gamers) and found them funny so I could see this working. Like at the worst it has to be better than Turbo or the second Planes movie, right?

Ratchet & Clank follows the basic story of the first video game. A character named Chairman Drek is going through the galaxy blowing up planets with the purpose of taking pieces from each and making a new planet for his people, the Blarg. Ratchet is a young mechanic on a desert planet that dreams of becoming a Galactic Ranger and having space adventures like his hero, Captain Qwark. Ratchet meets Clank, an escaped robot from Drek’s factory and ends up stopping an attack on the Rangers. Becoming loved by the people they are offered a place in the Rangers to help them try and stop Drek’s plan.

This movie is interesting; while I can see a lot of people not being completely with it, I kind of rode with it. I have history with the characters and story, but also I think it falls into the trap of being not that amazing, just a really a good TV movie level story. Like those Scooby Doo straight to DVD animated movies that you end up watching on Cartoon Network on a boring Saturday. Yeah that level. That’s what’s really holds it back, the scale of the story is never big enough even though the threat is. It also never really builds the relationship between Ratchet and Clank. It’s their movie but we never see that friendship build, it’s too focused on Ratchet’s heroic journey and growth and while that’s cool for a game where you spend most of the time playing as Ratchet it doesn’t work as well in a story you’re just passively experiencing.


One of the few things that surprised me with this movie is how good the texturing and lighting was in this movie. It might be because I still think of these characters as PlayStation 2 era models and seeing them modeled with such life. You can see the hairs and skin textures really popping off the screen. The environments are designed really fun and the lighting is able to capture the mood and feeling of the characters and situations they are in. It’s clearly one of the highlights of the film. All that being said though the 3D is completely wasted, nothing really pops out and the depth of field is completely lacking. This is something if you’re going to see in the theater, just see the 2D version.


So should you go see Ratchet and Clank? You know I don’t know because there are some parts that really felt like cinematics after finish one of the game's boss battles. So to be honest I’d watch this at home as a rental on TV. I have a feeling that the best version of this might actually be the PS4 game version of this remake. Hey in the end it’s still the best video game based movie of all time. So that’s good right?

Rating: 3 out of 5