Review: CHIPS

Starring Dax Shepard and Michael Pena

Review: Life

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds

Review: Power Rangers

An Enjoyable Reboot That May Divide Fans

Review: Danny Boyle's T2 Trainspotting

Starring Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, and Jonny Lee Miller

Review: Terrence Malick's Song to Song

Starring Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, and Natalie Portman

3/28/2017

Andrew Garfield To Play War Journalist Carlos Mavroleon In 'Black Lion'


After earning an Oscar nomination for his performance as Desmond Doss in Hacksaw Ridge, Andrew Garfield has chosen another project that will send him to the battlefield. Garfield will produce and star in Black Lion, about the life and death of war correspondent Carlos Mavroleon.

Penned by Alessandro Camon (The Messenger), the film will star Garfield as Mavroleon, the Harvard-educated heir to a wealthy Greek shipping empire who gave it up a lucrative career as a Wall Street trader to report from Afghanistan. There he lived a life that took him in unpredictable directions. Some say he fought alongside the Mujahideen against the Red Army at one point. He lived a fast life of glamour and excess, romancing famous women and doing lots of drugs. We do know that later he become a correspondent for 60 Minutes and became known for his willingness to report from dangerous locations. Deadline adds, "The story will be framed by Mavroleon’s final assignment for 60 Minutes, where he was tasked with sneaking into Afghan tribal territories immediately after President Clinton’s 1998 missile strikes against Bin Laden’s camps, aimed at the perpetrators who bombed the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. Mavroelon was one of the first journalists to discover the link between Pakistan and the Al Qaida/Taliban axis. He was subsequently found dead in a Peshawar motel room days later under mysterious circumstances."

No word on who will direct or when this will shoot, but there's already a great deal of promise behind it. Finding someone to get behind the camera should be no problem at all.

Nope, Sony's 'Venom' Movie Won't Connect To The Marvel Cinematic Universe


A new trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming debuted today, and with it only comes more questions about Sony's handling of the character and the deal they struck with Marvel. We know they're planning to launch a cinematic universe led by Spider-Man supporting characters, but if you were hoping to see Tom Holland's Peter Parker swing on by for a visit that's definitely not happening.

'Homecoming' director Jon Watts tells Fandango that Sony's brewing Venom movie won't have anything to do with his movie or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is what we suspected...

“It’s not. It’s not connected to the Marvel world, so that’s really intriguing…what that will be. I don’t know anything about it. It’s not connected, so there’s not that overlap. I’m only focused on my movie right now."

This still seems like a potentially disastrous idea, and a lot like the stuff Sony was planning when everything went belly up.  If Sony wants this to work they'll need to slow down and make sure they are developing solid stories before trying to turn everything into sequels and prequels and spinoffs, because that's where they screwed up before.

Venom opens October 5th 2018, while Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives this summer.

John Cena Is Full Of Bull In First Trailer For 'Ferdinand'


Talk to a lot of WWE fans and they'll tell you John Cena's poster boy act is a lot of bull. Well now they can take that literally as "Mr. Hustle Loyalty Respect" voices the horned title character in Ferdinand, about a bull who doesn't want to enter the ring.

The animated film is based on the popular book by Munro Leaf, and centers on Ferdinand, a bull who is a lover not a fighter. He'd much rather be smelling the flowers than butting heads, but when he grows up he is mistaken for a mad bull and chosen to fight. Joining Cena are the voices of Kate McKinnon, David Tennant, Jerrod Carmichael, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Cannavale, and Gina Rodriguez, with Carlos Saldanha (Rio, Ice Age) behind the camera.

Ferdinand opens December 15th, meaning it will go up against Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That's a bold counter-programming move by 20th Century Fox. Not sure it will pay off but I appreciate the confidence.

Daniel Radcliffe Must Survive The 'Jungle' In Trailer For Greg McLean's Thriller


At first it seems weird that Daniel Radcliffe would star in Jungle, a survival thriller from Greg McLean, the director behind Wolf Creek and The Belko Experiment. But then you remember he also starred in The Woman in Black, Horns, and Swiss Army Man, and everything makes a lot more sense. Basically, Radcliffe isn't letting himself be stuck in any creative box, and that's to be commended.

Jungle finds the former boy wizard on an expedition into the Amazon that doesn't go as planned, as he's forced to battle against the threat of human nature and nature itself. This trailer kind of came out of nowhere and it hardly seems finished, so who knows how this will end up looking, hopefully better than this.

Alex Russell and reliable bad guy Thomas Kretschmann co-star, and we'll let you know when there's a premiere date.

Review: ‘The Boss Baby,’ Starring Alec Baldwin


In these troubled times, we should take Alec Baldwin in any form we can. His presence elevates The Boss Baby from tolerable to enjoyable as he lends his silky gravitas to voicing a baby in a suit that wants to undermine the world’s love of puppies. Yes, it’s all goofily ridiculous and overly complicated, like so many children’s movies are these days. But Baldwin provides an air of dignity that the content probably doesn’t deserve but that older audiences forced to sit through a shocking number of scenes with nude baby butts will appreciate.

The Boss Baby begins with 7-year-old Tim (voiced by Miles Christopher Bakshi), the only child of parents (voiced by Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow) who work at the mega-popular company Puppy Co. Their careers in marketing mean they’re often busy, but they always have time to play with Tim, read him a bedtime story, and sing him “Blackbird” by the Beatles (an extremely odd choice for a child’s favorite song, given that creator Paul McCartney has said it’s inspired by the American civil rights struggle). But all of that is upended one day when Tim’s parents announce he’ll be getting a little brother, and don’t take his “No, thanks,” for a suitable answer.

From the moment the baby (voiced by Alec Baldwin) arrives, Tim and his parents are at odds. He’s convinced the baby showed up in a taxi cab, carrying a briefcase and chatting on the phone. His parents laugh off his worry, ascribing them to his “overactive imagination.” But as his parents spend more and more time with the baby, Tim thinks it is trying to usurp his parents’ love, a concern that seems validated when the nightly ritual of hugs, stories, and songs stop.

So Tim decides to confront the baby, who admits that he’s there to shake things up—“I’m the boss,” is a perfect thing for Baldwin to smugly say—but who refuses to explain why. Piece by piece, his motives are revealed: On a secret mission from Baby Corp., the world’s provider of infants, the Boss Baby is there to discover what secret product Puppy Co. is working on. “We’ve always been a must-have item,” the Boss Baby says of children, but the world’s newfound obsession with puppies means that fewer babies are being produced. If Boss Baby can spy on Tim’s parents and learn what the Puppy Co. plan is, he’ll return to Baby Corp. a hero, and will receive a promotion into the upper echelons of management. But if he can’t figure it out, he has to stay with Tim’s family forever—a conclusion neither of them wants.

It’s inevitable that the two will team up, and it’s inevitable that the head of Puppy Co., Francis E. Francis (voiced by Steve Buscemi), will have a shady past that threatens both of the boys. But it’s legitimately surprising that the film is so amusing. A lot of that is from Baldwin, who delivers his lines with his trademark blend of condescension, detachment, and self-satisfaction, but Bakshi pulls his weight, too, offering up an ongoing sense of childhood wonder and rage. (“Are you the baby Jesus?” he wonders of how mysteriously the Boss Baby entered their lives.) The push-pull dynamic between the two is clearly the film’s emotional center, and they pull it off.

The rest of this is all, as expected, pretty standard kids’ movie stuff, with varying degrees of success. There are naked baby butts everywhere, including some farting out baby powder; there are various gags with vomit and kitty litter; there’s an allusion to how babies “really” get made that has the Boss Baby disgusted when Tim volunteers his parents’ explanation. Some of it is excellent (we experience a chase scene between Tim and the Boss Baby’s henchmen, and then realize that our understanding was Tim’s exaggerated perspective, when in reality the scene was far more tame), and some of it feels lazy, like when the Boss Baby confidently says that “chicks dig babies.” The shoddily written moments aren’t pervasive, but they’re noticeable.

Nevertheless, The Boss Baby will win you over with Baldwin’s commitment to the absurdity. He manages to be both a calming force and an instigating one, and in a children’s movie that could have relied solely on expected choices, Baldwin messes with the mundane in an enjoyable, memorable way.

RATING: 3.5 OUT OF 5 GUTTENBERGS



Haunting Trailer For David Lowery's 'A Ghost Story' With Casey Affleck & Rooney Mara


Some have begun to classify David Lowery's new film, A Ghost Story, as simply a horror, probably based on the title and early images of a white sheet-clad ghost. But that's not really fair. The film is quite a bit different than that and not at all scary. It's more like a character study of someone who has ceased to exist in our plane of existence, but not in another. Sound interesting? Then this might be for you.

It wasn't for me, though. One of the most divisive movies at Sundance, I fell on the side of disliking Lowery's ambitious effort while appreciating what he had in mind. In simplest terms, it's the story of a dead man who returns to watch over the home he shared with his grieving wife. And it's a tale that spans centuries as Lowery explores the elasticity of time and grief.

Not everybody's cup of tea, but already I can see this one being built into a cult classic. Starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, A Ghost Story opens July 7th.

Peter Parker Swings Into Action In New 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Trailer


It's been a very busy week for Spider-Man, not just because of Sony's plans to push forward on spinoff movies. Marvel and Sony have been dropping teasers for Spider-Man: Homecoming, with a handful of posters, new plot details and images of Michael Keaton as the Vulture, and now today comes the full trailer that actually debuted last night at CinemaCon.

This version of the character is played by Tom Holland, and he's already swung his way into a lot of hearts after Captain America: Civil War.  Peter Parker is very much a young high school kid here, and we see a lot of him, more than I was expecting, with his mentor Tony Stark. Plus, we get a healthy amount of the Vulture here, and after learning that he has a personal interest in destroying Iron Man he's suddenly become a more interesting bad guy, certainly more interesting than the comic book version of the character.

Directed by Jon Watts with Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, Bokeem Woodbine, Tony Revolori, Donald Glover, and more co-starring, Spider-Man: Homecoming opens July 7th. 

Punch Drunk DVDs: 'Fantastic Beasts', 'Patriot's Day', 'Silence', 'Why Him?', And More!

NEW THIS WEEK





This 1920’s set Harry Potter spin-off stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, a world-traveling wizard in search of rare magical animals to rescue and document. After accidentally losing his holding case of creatures while on a visit to New York, Newt and his new allies are in a race against time. They must track down all of his fantastic beasts before they further damage the already fragile divide between the non-magic and wizarding worlds.

We Said: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first of what will be five movies when all is finished, shows that Rowling's Potterverse has a limitless potential for growth. There are so many wonderful characters and concepts introduced that any one of them could branch out into something new and spectacular.” Rating: 4 out of 5





The latest collaboration between Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, Patriot’s Day  focuses on the tragic Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. This true-crime thriller follows the special agents and first responders who helped track down the suspects in the aftermath of the attack.

We Said: “It's an impressive feat [director Peter] Berg and his talented cast have pulled off with Patriots Day, making us feel the tension they must have felt while the terrorists were loose in the city. That's why it was also important to end by showing the actual people depicted in the film; to see that they have indeed come out on the other side of this tragedy stronger than ever.” Rating: 4 out of 5





Matrin Scorsese's sobering new epic tells the story of two Portuguese missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who travel to Japan to rescue their former mentor (Liam Neeson). Set during the Kakure Kirishitan period of the 17th century, the missionaries find themselves in a place where Chirstianity is violently forbidden by the Japanese government.  

We Said: “The strength of Scorsese's convictions carries Silence through its weakest stretches, and you can sense the weight being lifted off his shoulders completing his greatest passion project.  With help from Garfield and Driver's exhaustive performances, Scorsese forces us to feel the weight of their spiritual burden, so that we must ask if any of us would be worthy of carrying it..” Rating: 3.5 out of 5




This acclaimed dramadey follows a sigle mother (Annette Benning) as she struggles to connect with her young son during the countercultural shift of the late 1970’s. With the help of two younger, more adventurous women (Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning) she manages to form an unconventional family for herself and her son to be a part of.

We Said: “Everyone in this story navigates an emotional journey, full of moments so small and perfect they could only have been pulled from a deep well of personal memories. As sharply observed as it is incredibly funny, this is [writer/director Mike] Mills and his wonderful cast at their very best.” Rating: 4 out of 5




Why Him? is a raunchy comedy which pins overprotective dad Ned (Brian Cranston) against his daughter’s boyfriend, the wealthy and boundary pushing Laird (James Franco). When Laird asks Ned for his blessing to marry his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch), the gloves come off and the two men spend the remainder of their holiday vacation together battling over who knows what’s best for her.  

We Said: Why Him? is fine. Nothing really special, but if you’re looking for some easy holiday entertainment, you could definitely do worse than Why Him?Rating: 3 out of 5




This new fantasy drama film tells the story of a young boy struggling to come to terms with the failing health of his single mother (Felicity Jones). One night, The Monster (Liam Neeson) suddenly appears to him, and as a means to help him through this troubling time, takes him on a fantastical journey that blends imagination with tragic reality.

We Said: “Adapted by author Patrick Ness and directed by J.A. Bayona, A Monster Calls weaves a story that will resonate with anyone who has had to overcome terrible, debilitating grief.” Rating: 4 out of 5






O'Shea Jackson Jr. Joins 'Godzilla: King Of The Monsters', Amber Heard To Star In 'The Kind Worth Killing'


We might be seeing most of the Straight Outta Compton cast in a big reunion very soon. With Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell both having big roles in Kong: Skull Island, now comes word that O'Shea Jackson Jr., who played his father Ice Cube in the rap biopic, has joined the cast of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. We know Kong and Godzilla will square off in a crossover film in 2020. Jackson joins Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, and Kyle Chandler in the Michael Dougherty-directed film. It opens March 22nd 2019. [Variety]


Amber Heard, who was last seen looking pretty boss in the Justice League trailer, has landed a new gig. She'll headline an adaptation of The Kind Worth Killing, based on the 2015 novel by Peter Swanson, adapted by Christopher Kyle. Directed by Agnieszka Holland, the story "follows Lily, a mysterious and stunning killer who meets Ted Severson on a late-night flight from London to Boston. Ted confesses that he’s had thoughts about murdering his unfaithful wife. Lily offers to help, and the two form a strange, twisted bond while plotting his wife’s demise." Apparently there's a dogged detective hot on their tail, too. Sounds like a lot of fun roles to be had here, and Heard should be perfect for the femme fatale-esque Lily role. [Deadline]

Paul Greengrass Is Making An Eliot Ness Movie Based On Popular Graphic Novel


It's been too long since we've had a really good movie about Prohibition agent and gangbuster, Eliot Ness. The best and most famous was by Kevin Costner in The Untouchables, which was based on Ness's autobiography which also became a TV series starring Robert Stack. Well now it's time for Ness to get another moment in the spotlight, and Paul Greengrass will be the guy to do it.

The Jason Bourne director will take the helm for Ness, penned by L.A. Confidential's Brian Helgeland based on Torso, the graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko. If that sounds familiar it's because Hollywood has been trying to adapt Torso for years, with David Fincher and David Lowery circling it for most of that time. Hopefully Greengrass is the guy who can get it done. This wouldn't be a traditional story of Ness taking down the likes of Al Capone, but of his attempts to bring down a Cleveland serial killer.

It'll be interesting to see who Greengrass casts to play Ness. Perhaps he turns to an old pal in Matt Damon? [Deadline]