Review: Mortal Engines

The Latest Blockbuster Adaptation From Lord Of The Rings' Peter Jackson

Review: Mary Poppins Returns

Starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Review: Bumblebee

Starring Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena

Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Miles Morales Finally Swings His Way Onto The Big Screen

Review: Mary Queen of Scots

Starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie


Kate Winslet And Saoirse Ronan To Play Lovers In Romance Drama 'Ammonite'

Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images

How is it we've never had a movie with Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan before? Thankfully, our long national nightmare is about to come to an end. Winslet and Ronan will star in Ammonite, a period romance from God's Own Country director Francis Lee.

The story will center on real-life paleontologist Mary Anning, who made important Jurassic fossil finds in the 1800s, and her romance with a London woman. Here's the synopsis courtesy of Deadline...

Set in a UK coastal town in the 1840s, the drama will follow the unlikely romance between palaeontologist Mary Anning and a London woman of means to whom she must unexpectedly play nursemaid. Production is due to start in March.

If the film is set in the 1840s that would be fairly close to Anning's death from breast cancer in 1847, at the young age of 47. Stands to reason Winslet would be taking on the Anning role if that's the case, but the site does not specifically say so. The title Ammonite comes from the extinct species of mollusk that Anning built her career making important discoveries.

Lee made a splash at Sundance last year with God's Own Country, a gay drama about the romance between two male farmhands. Not only was it a box office hit in the U.K. but was nominated for Best British Film at the BAFTA Awards.

Ammonite begins production in March.

Jared Leto's 'Morbius' Film Adds Adria Arjona As Female Lead

With so many Spider-Man spinoff movies and sequels going around the Sony office, it's easy to forget there are other characters without "Spider" in their name. Jared Leto is set to star in Sony's film Morbius the Living Vampire film, and with production right around the corner a female lead has been named, and it's Pacific Rim Uprising star Adria Arjona.

Arjona is in talks for the role of Martine Bancroft, the fiancée of Dr. Michael Morbius. Michael Morbius attempted to cure a rare blood disease with an experimental serum derived from bats, but instead, it gave him vampiric superhuman abilities and a thirst for human blood. Martine becomes a potential victim of Morbius' cravings as he struggles with bloodlust.

It's been a busy few years for Arjona ever since her breakout role in James Gunn's The Belko Experiment. On the big screen she has appeared in Pacific Rim Uprising, Life of the Party with Melissa McCarthy, and next year's Triple Frontier and Six Underground. She also had a role in HBO's True Detective, NBC's Emerald City series, and will be seen in Amazon Prime's Good Omens.

Morbius will be directed by Daniel Espinosa with filming to begin in February. [Deadline]

Spider-Man Could Stay In The MCU Rather Than Return To Sony

Okay, so I've made my opinion known many times that Sony never should've struck their Spider-Man deal with Marvel Studios, but what should they do when the initial contract is up? Following the success of Venom and Into the Spider-Verse, Sony is in a better position than ever and many think they'll want to bring Spider-Man into the mix. But if it's up to Sony producer Amy Pascal, we'll be seeing Tom Holland's Spidey stick around in the MCU for the long haul.

Speaking with Vanity Fair as part of a larger piece about Sony's Spidey cinematic universe, Pascal insists she doesn't want to see Spider-Man separate from his teammates in the Avengers...

"I think about crying. I can only hope for a future where things work out. I've known Kevin since he was Avi's very, very quiet assistant, who for many years sat in that room listening to us and being so much smarter than any of us without any of us realizing. I will say that working with Marvel has been one of the highlights of my professional career."

The exact nature of Sony and Marvel's deal isn't really clear, but the thought was that Spider-Man would revert to Sony after a third solo movie. Spider-Man: Far From Home opens next July, and the character will be seen in Avengers: Endgame in April. Of course, what happens isn't totally up to Pascal but she's got a lot of influence at Sony, especially right now, and if she wants Peter Parker to keep webbing up enemies in the MCU that's probably where he'll stay.

Drew Goddard's 'Sinister Six' Movie May Still Happen At Sony

Ever since Sony's revitalization of the Spider-Man universe, one thing has been clear to me: they're just rehashing all of the same ideas they've had since The Amazing Spider-Man, which is why it was stupid to loan Spider-Man to Marvel Studios. They would've been perfectly fine just moving ahead and continuing on, but they got freaked out. Now as Venom is a massive hit, Into the Spider-Verse is one of the best-reviewed movies of the year, and plans for female-Spidey spinoffs take shape, it's more clear than ever.  I was just waiting for somebody to say Drew Goddar's Sinister Six movie was still happening, and well, here comes producer Amy Pascal.

In Pascal's extensive chat with Vanity Fair, she confirmed that Goddard's Spidey-villain flick is still very much in the works and may indeed happen. It all depends on Goddard's schedule opening up...

“I’m just waiting for Drew to be ready to direct it. I would do anything with Drew Goddard. I’m just waiting for him to tell me he wants to."

Well, if it's up to Goddard then we can count on it becoming a reality. As recently as October he was still expressing a desire to direct Sinister Six. It's only a matter of time until it happens. 

The Sinister Six is basically a revolving crew of Spider-Man's worst foes, including Kraven the Hunter who we know Sony wants to make a solo movie for. The original plan was for Sinister Six and Venom to be released before Sony's canceled Amazing Spider-Man 4, but since there was no Amazing Spider-Man 3, they never happened. However, the timeframe would have ended up being...oh, right about now.  Told you, Sony isn't doing anything new here. I'm just happy they're finally bringing all of these great ideas to fruition. 

Spider-Woman And Silk Will Be Part Of Sony's Spider-Gwen Spinoff Movie

The breakout character of Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse may not be one of the boys. Instead, it may be Spider-Gwen, voiced by Hailee Steinfeld, who we know Sony already has plans for her own spinoff movie. While we knew she would be joined by other female heroes, producer Amy Pascal has confirmed two that will be swinging into action beside her.

Pascal, in chatting up Sony's Spider-Man franchise with Vanity Fair, confirmed that Spider-Gwen will be joined by Jessica Drew aka the original Spider-Woman and Cindy Moon aka Silk. This doesn't scuttle plans for the Silk live-action movie also in development, as the character is clearly seen as a high priority for the studio.

Pascal said...

"I think it’s great that we’re going to be able to tell movies about female superheroes in this realm, and in the live-action realm as well, because I believe that there are going to be characters that really resonate for people. They’re funny and quirky and different, and heroic in all kinds of different ways that only animation allows you to do."

All three of these characters have shared adventures together in the comics so this teamup makes sense, however don't be surprised if there are more characters added, such as Arana aka Spider-Girl or Madame Web. Into the Spider-Verse had a ton of Spideys so it's only fair Spider-Gwen have a bunch of allies, too.


Benicio Del Toro Is Playing Swiper Fox In The 'Dora The Explorer' Movie

This story works best if you imagine Benicio Del Toro costumed as an orange fox in blue bandit gear.

Del Toro will bring his screen intensity to the role of Swiper Fox in the live-action Dora the Explorer movie produced by Michael Bay and starring Isabela Moner.  Unfortunately, it's only a voice role and we won't actually get to see Del Toro as the thieving animal.  As the name implies, Swiper Fox is a villainous fox who steals things, but never manages to get one over on Dora, at least not for very long. We'll see if that still applies now that she's of high school age.

What exactly Swiper will be...uh, swiping isn't clear, especially since Dora's adventure is considerably more dangerous this time. Not only must she rescue her missing parents, but she must solve the mystery of a lost Inca civilization. She'll be joined by her ever-present monkey pal Boots, and her cousin Diego.

Directed by James Bobin with Eva Longoria, Michael Pena, Eugenio Derbez, Adriana Barraza, and Temuera Morrison co-starring, Dora the Explorer opens August 2nd 2019. [THR]

Benedict Cumberbatch Causes Political Shockwaves In HBO's 'Brexit' Trailer

If you've been following the recent turmoil in the U.K. over the 2016 Brexit decision, you know the impact of such a significant decision will be felt for a long time. Even though we don't know how things will shake out ultimately, it's not too soon for a movie to be made about it. HBO's Brexit stars a balding Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings, the political activist who spear-headed the referendum to leave the European Union.

“Everyone knows who won. Not everyone knows how", Cummings says in the trailer. The answer to "how" is through overt racism and other dirty dealings, led by Cummings as part of his Vote Leave movement.  His nationalist approach divided the U.K. in a way that mirrors the rise of Donald Trump here in America. So yeah, you could say Cummings is a controversial figure, and the Brexit decision one that a lot of people are regretting right now.

The film is directed by Toby Haynes (Doctor Who) with Rory Kinnear, John Heffernan, Liz White, and Kyle Soller co-starring.  HBO will premiere Brexit on January 19th 2019.

'Mapplethorpe' Trailer: Matt Smith Stars As The Incendiary Photographer

One of the most incendiary photographers of the '70s and '80s, Robert Mapplethorpe lived a life made for the big screen. Filmmaker Ondi Timoner, known for directing films on other rock star celebs such as The Dandy Warhols and Russell brand, made it a reality with the film Mapplethorpe, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival where star Matt Smith earned rave reviews.

Unfortunately the film was universally panned at the festival, but that doesn't mean it can't produce a terrific trailer.  The footage shows the ex-Doctor Who as Mapplethorpe, sporting a thick Long Island accent totally foreign to the English actor. We see Mapplethorpe and his first encounter with legendary punk rocker Patti Smith (played by Marianne Rendón), who would use his photo as the iconic cover image for her debut 1975 album, "Horses".

Mapplethorpe became an important cultural figure as he pushed the boundaries of what could be explored in his work, such as BDSM and homoeroticism. His connection to us here in DC stems from a controversial exhibit that was to be displayed at the Corcoran in 1989, but was ultimately canceled for indecency as extreme conservative groups seized on it and used it as an example of why public funding to the National Endowment of the Arts should be ended.

The film co-stars John Benjamin Hickey, Mark Moses, Carolyn McCormick, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kerry Butler, and Assassination Nation's Hari Nef.  Here's the synopsis:

Robert Mapplethorpe is arguably one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Mapplethorpe discovered himself both sexually and artistically in New York City throughout the 70’s and 80’s. The film depicts Mapplethorpe’s life from moments before he and Patti Smith moved into the famed Chelsea hotel, home to a world of bohemian chic. Here, he begins photographing its inhabitants and his new found circle of friends including artists and musicians, socialites, film stars, and members of the S&M underground. Mapplethorpe’s work displayed eroticism in a way that had never been examined nor displayed before to the public. Exploring the intersection of his art, his sexuality and his struggle for mainstream recognition, MAPPLETHORPE offers a nuanced portrait of an artist at the height of his craft and of the self-destructive impulses that threaten to undermine it all.

Mapplethorpe opens March 1st 2019.

The Source of Your Childhood Nightmares Has a Release Date! 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' is Coming!

My love of horror filmis, and being scared in general, comes directly from this book series. That's not an exagerration. I can still remember that most glorious of days when the Scholastic book fair came to my elementary school and I was immediately taken by the macabre art work that graced the cover. That book, of course, was Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark which spawned a range of sequel storybooks and plenty of sleepness nights. The stories were especially dark, gory, and grim for a book aimed at young children but damn were they effective. 'The Big Toe' always stands out as one of the most memorable, but they all had something worth talking to your friends about the next day at the monkey bars.

As should be obvious, the series is being turned into a film but don't groan yet! None other then master of the macbre Guillermo Del Toro is involved in the script and though he doesn't direct, I'm sure his fingerprints will be all over the visuals. The press release lists the synopsis below:

Inspired by one of the most terrifying children’s book series of all time, SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK follows a group of young teens who must solve the mystery surrounding sudden and macabre deaths in their small town.
It sounds like they are taking the Goosebumps route, which is appropriate considering they were competing books around the same time. I just hope that, like the books, Scary Stories proves to be more true to horror and less Sci-Fi/Fantasy. You don't have long to wait as the release date has just been announced as August 9th. 2019. Why not go for the October/Halloween release, was my first thought but honestly as long as it digs up the same feelings they could release it on Memorial Day for all I care. 

You're Cordially Invited To Check Out The First 'Downton Abbey' Movie Trailer

Downton Abbey is one of those shows I always felt I should watch because literally everyone I knew was. And yet at every turn I stopped myself, remembering how bored I was watching Gosford Park. But clearly, I was in the minority because the series was a phenomenon, with the Brit drama about the regal Crawleys and their plethora of servants running for six seasons. Almost immediately after it left the air rumblings began about a movie, and now the first trailer is here.

While just a teaser, it's hard not to get caught up in the slowly building, sweeping score. For good reason we don't see much other than the Crawley's stately manor, as the film is still nine months away from opening. But for fans of the show this has to be an exciting taste of what's to come.   

While Dan Stevens isn't expected to return, series regulars Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Matthew Goode, Penelope Wilton, and Allen Leech will all be reprising their roles. New cast members include Imelda Staunton, Geraldine James, Simon Jones, David Haig, Tuppence Middleton, Kate Phillips, and Stephen Campbell Moore. If you're British and not somewhere on this list you must have seriously pissed someone off.

Here's the synopsis: The television series Downton Abbey followed the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country house. Over its 6 seasons, the series garnered 3 Golden Globe Awards, 15 Primetime Emmy Awards, 69 Emmy nominations in total, making Downton Abbey the most nominated non-US television show in the history of the Emmys – even earning a Special BAFTA award and a Guinness World Record for the highest critically rated TV show along the way.

Series creator Julian Fellowes, of the aforementioned Gosford Park, wrote the script for Michael Engler to direct. Downton Abbey opens September 20th 2019.