Review: Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Jack Black, and Rooney Mara

Review: The First Purge

Witness the Annual Night of Murder's Deadly Origin

Review: Sorry to Bother You

Starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Armie Hammer

Review: Shock and Awe

Starring Woody Harrelson, James Marsden, and Tommy Lee Jones

Review: Skyscraper

Starring Dwayne Johnson

7/16/2018

Duncan Jones All But Confirms 'Rogue Trooper' As His Next Movie


A few days ago Warcraft director Duncan Jones hit social media to tease that his next film would be a comic book movie. He said that another clue would be coming soon after, and he wasn't kidding. Although I hesitate to even call this a "clue" as an outright reveal, as he's pretty much confirmed the film will be based on the Rogue Trooper character from the 2000 AD comics.



The Mohawk he's sporting there at the end is exactly like Rogue Trooper's. Let's see if he keeps it throughout production, though. 

For those unfamiliar with the character, Rogue Trooper is a blue-skinned super-soldier known as a G.I. or Genetic Infantryman. Developed by the Southers to be immune to virtually all toxins, Rogue travels the wasteland on a mission to find the Traitor General, who destroyed the other G.I.'s. He's accompanied on this mission by his three of his fallen comrades whose personalities are kept in biochips attached to his helmet, backpack, and rifle. The character was created by Gerry Finley-Day and Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, first appearing in a 1981 issue of 2000 AD.

The timing of all this tells me Jones may have some new information at Comic-Con, so I'll be sure to keep an eye out!

'Zombieland' Sequel Confirmed With Original Cast Returning


When Zombieland opened in 2009 it caught everyone by surprise with a strong $24M opening weekend. It was around the time that we were seeing a new wave of zombie films with unique twists to the overdone concept, and this violent, R-rated road comedy was something most mainstream moviegoers hadn't seen. The film went on to earn over $100M worldwide on a $24M budget, but it was on home video that it became a cult classic. A sequel was promised soon after but it is only now, nearly a decade later, that it can be confirmed.

THR has the news, and along with the sequel comes word that the original cast  of Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin are returning. The original film made huge stars of Eisenberg and Stone, and it went a long way in proving Harrelson as a major franchise star. He really hasn't looked back since, starring in numerous blockbuster studio films. Also returning are director Ruben Fleischer and screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, all having seen their careers take off thanks to Zombieland. Fleischer is currently working with Harrelson on Sony's Venom movie, while Wernick and Reese have done okay for themselves with two Deadpool flicks.

Expect the film to open sometime next year, marking Zombieland's 10th anniversary.

7/15/2018

Box Office: 'Hotel Transylvania 3' Scares Off The Rock With $100M Worldwide


1. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (review)- $44.1M/$45.3M
Scaring away both The Rock and Marvel was Adam Sandler's Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, the latest in Sony's popular animated franchise. It's also the best thing Adam Sandler has going, if we're being perfectly honest. The third movie finds Count Drac and his monster fam 'n friends on a vacation cruise, where he falls in love with the cruise director, who just so happens to be of the monster-hunting Val Helsing clan. To be fair, this was the least effective movie in the series, but other than Incredibles 2 there have been very few must-see animated movies for families this year and so this was certain to do well. The film opened with $44.1M but it includes another $1.2M from Amazon's sneak preview just days earlier, a gamble I'm sure was lucrative enough to see again in the future. Overseas it has also performed well with an addition $54.8M for $100.1M worldwide.
2. Ant-Man & the Wasp- $28.8M/$132.8M
Marvel's Ant-Man & the Wasp took a 62% tumble for $28.8M, obviously suffering a little bit from the presence of Skyscraper and Hotel Transylvania. The $160M sequel is one of the least costly Marvel has, so they've got very little to lose here. Already it has $283M worldwide and should make a push to match or surpass Ant-Man's $519M in 2015.
3. Skyscraper (review)- $25.4M
Dwayne Johnson's Skyscraper didn't climb to the heights some would have expected, but that was always going to be tough on a week like this. The film opened with a modest $25M which has to be disappointing considering Johnson's star power, but to be fair this is a movie always designed to do the most damage overseas. Universal and Legendary picked up the tab on this one, and they surrounded Johnson with a cast of Chinese stars for a story set in Hong Kong. I expect it will do huge business when it opens in China next week. For now it already has $40M internationally for a $65M total, which while not great, could have been worse.
4. Incredibles 2- $16.2M/$535.8M
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom- $15.5M/$363.2M
6. The First Purge- $9.1M/$49.5M
The numbers aren't huge, but at a cost of only $13M it's a win for The First Purge to have $72M worldwide.
7. Sorry to Bother You (review)- $4.2M/$5.3M
I've been very interested to see how Boots Riley's buzz-worthy Sundance hit Sorry to Bother You would perform in wider release, and so it's doing very well. Expanding to 805 theaters, the offbeat social satire stars Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Armie Hammer in the story of an Oakland guy who basically sells out to become the best telemarker in the biz. And then all sorts of other weirdness happens. In its second week the film earned $4.2M which is a jump of 485% from its debut. I can see this one becoming the summer's biggest indie sleeper in a quiet season thus far.
8. Sicario: Day of the Soldado- $3.8M/$43.2M
9. Uncle Drew- $3.2M/$36.6M
10. Ocean's 8- $2.9M/$132.2M

7/14/2018

Scarlett Johansson Exits 'Rub & Tug' Due To Casting Controversy


Well, this is unfortunate but I can't say it's all that surprising. Scarlett Johansson has dropped out of her role in the biopic Rub and Tug, which received criticism for the actress being cast as a trans man. Last week Johansson defiantly spoke out against her critics in the LGBTQ community, saying "they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment." All of those cis actors have received acclaim for playing transgender. Tex Gill, the real-life person Johansson was to play, had been misidentified as a woman who cross-dressed as a man, but was later confirmed to be transgender. Considering Gill has been repeatedly misidentified throughout her life it's possible Johansson didn't know when she took the role.

The backlash against Johansson was especially heated, in part due to the controversy of her starring in last year's Ghost in the Shell, playing a role traditionally written for an Asian woman. That film, much like this latest one, would team Johansson with director Rupert Sanders, who at this point remains on Rub & Tug. We'll see if that lasts now that the star he wanted is no longer attached, and it's become clear he won't be able to cast the film as he wanted.

Here is Johansson's statement to Out Magazine on her decision: “In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project. Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues. According to GLAAD, LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40% in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release.”

She goes on, “While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film. I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly. My production company, These Pictures, actively pursues projects that both entertain and push boundaries. We look forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide.”

So where does Rub and Tug go now? Will a trans be hired for the role? And if so, will the film get the same level of attention and support? The latter almost certainly won't be the case. 


7/13/2018

‘Cloak and Dagger’ S1E7: “Lotus Eaters”


Last week on Cloak and Dagger, Tandy tried to get in good with young Mina, an idealistic Roxxon employee whose father happened to be on the oil rig the same night that changed her and Tyrone’s lives forever.  Eventually, Mina found out who she really was, and gave Tandy the chance to talk with her father.  The downside was that he father has been in a catatonic state since the oil rig explosion.  Even he trying to use her light powers didn’t work as she couldn’t open the door.  She needed Tyrone’s help and lucky for her, he just happened to her after almost being shot by Connors.

The episode starts back to eight years ago when Mina was a young girl, spending the morning with her father Ivan.  Mina always goes through a routine with her father to ensure that he comes home in one piece.  Of course, we all know what’s going to happen.  When he gets to the rig, it seems like a normal day.  However, Ivan learns that the shielding tiles ordered (something important for the rig’s safety) weren’t ordered by Roxxon, which causes Ivan to worry.  Later on, an alarm goes off on the rig, which means the accident/event is about to take place.

Tyrone is distraught about his one lead to take Connor down has been killed.  His brother’s former friend had been partnering with the crooked cop, and Tyrone was almost able to get him to flip against him when Connor engineered it for him to be killed during the meeting.  As sympathetic as Tandy is to what Tyrone is going through, she also needs his help in reaching Ivan and going through the door.  Tyrone later meets her at Ivan’s hospital where they both decide to use their powers to go into Ivan’s mind.

Once they both touch him, they reach the door and although Tandy cannot open it, Tyrone can.  Once the door is opened, the two are transported onto the Roxxon rig.  As soon as they get there, they are attacked by some of the workers on that rig.  For the first time, they can be attacked (and hurt) by while within someone’s mind.  Tandy, now in full control of her dagger powers, is throwing light daggers like a seasoned pro.  Tyrone doesn’t have offensive abilities (yet), so he manages to master his ability to teleport, so that the possessed rig workers cannot hurt him as he fights with them.  They make it to the room where Ivan is and talk with him.  However, Ivan isn’t too helpful.  He doesn’t even know his own name.  He’s excited as they are new people he sees, and even more excited that they “have names.”  It’s clear something wrong is going on.  After the first alarm goes off, Ivan tells them that they have less than two minutes before the rig explodes and they have to shut off the vale, but they won’t be successful.  Tandy and Tyrone then run to the core room to try and shut it off, fighting more rig workers during that time.  However, time runs out and then there’s an explosion.

As soon as the explosion happens, Tandy and Tyrone end up right back in the room with Ivan.  Because they are in his mind, they are stuck in a time loop.  It’s essentially Groundhog’s Day for them.  They continue to relive the same two-minute scenario over and over through the episode.  They find out that Ivan’s mind has snapped and doesn’t remember anything of his life outside of this two-minute event because he’s done this more than two hundred thousand times.  When Tandy brings up who she is and her father, Ivan remembers he’s the “guy on the phone.”

This causes Tandy to stop dead in her tracks.  The phone rings and she instead picks it up, and she’s not talking to her father for the first time in eight years.  Sure, it’s an alternate reality inside a catatonic person’s mind, but to her, it’s very real.  She then carries on conversations with her father loop after loop.  Tyrone knows this isn’t good and manages to convince Tandy that he’s not real and they need to leave Ivan’s mind.  Tandy agrees and then they go back to the real world, only Tandy doesn’t.  She’s content to remain and have the chance to talk with her father.  Tyrone goes back into Ivan’s mind to get Tandy, only for her to no longer recognize him.  In the two minutes he was in the real world, she experiences the two-minute loop more than two hundred times.  She’s now losing her mind just like Ivan did.  She eventually remembers Tyrone’s name but still wants to remain behind.  The two argue about her having to leave and come to grips that it’s not really her father.  He tells Tandy to ask her “father” something only he would know.  When she asks him if she’s in the back seat while he calls, he says no, helping her snap out of it, which she does.  But they still need to get out of Ivan’s mind.  Tyrone had already shut off the vale, only for the loop to continue.  They realize that the person who needs to shut it off is Ivan.  Tandy and Tyrone provide backup against the rig workers and help Ivan shut off the vale.

They all wake up at Ivan’s hospital.  Ivan has no idea who they are, even though they all went on this adventure in his mind.  Mina is ecstatic that her father has regained consciousness after eight years.  Hopefully, Tandy can get some much-needed answers concerning Roxxon now.  Tyrone and Tandy go back to their different homes.  Tyrone goes through his box of memories (including Tandy’s ballet shoe) and finds an old tape recorder of him and his brother rapping.  He then gives Tandy a call as he just “needs someone to talk to.”  It’s clear that the two, who are first, couldn’t stand each other, are now connected in a very deep and emotional way.  They both listen to him and his brother’s tape on the phone, finding comfort in each other.

Next week, they take the fight to their enemies:


'Venom' Flashes His Teeth In New Look At Sony's Antihero Film


I've heard a ton of complaining from people who have not liked the look of Sony's upcoming Venom movie. Understandable after the first teaser failed to show much other than Tom Hardy looking very constipated. The trailer that followed, which gave us our first real look at the Venom symbiote, was much more impressive. But for those who still have doubts, maybe these new images from EW will change your mind.

The main photo gives us a clear look at Venom and the amount of veiny detail that has been put into its design. Look at how far back that ugly smile stretches, it practically rips his skin in half. He doesn't look like any antihero there, just some slimy, toothy monster bent on violence. His counterpart Eddie Brock (Hardy) is a journalist trying to rebound from a scandal by investigating the mysterious Life Foundation and its leader, Dr. Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). It's through his sleuthing that Brock is exposed to the alien symbiote, and pretty much nothing is the same for him after that.


Hardy says, “There’s a tragic clown element, which I find funny and is harmonious with some of the work that I like to do. There’s something funny about the circumstances of having a gift but it’s a tragic gift. It’s a superpower you don’t really want, but at the same time, you love it. It makes you feel special. He’s a reluctant hero and an anti-hero.”

Directed by Reuben Fleischer and co-starring Michelle Williams, Jenny Slate, Woody Harrelson, Scott Haze, and Reid Scott, Venom opens October 5th.


'Galveston' Trailer: Ben Foster & Elle Fanning Plot Revenge In New Film By Nic Pizzolatto


Check this out. Galveston debuted at SXSW earlier this year and for the most part flew by without much attention paid to it. But when you hear the talent involved, and then watch the new trailer, you're going to wonder how that was possible. Behind the camera is Melanie Laurent, who you may know best from starring in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. She's working making her English-language directing debut on a script by True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto who is adapting his own book, and oh yeah, it stars Ben Foster and Ellen Fanning.

Details on the plot remain a mystery and the teaser keeps things pretty close to the vest. That's a good thing, and a smart move because if you're going to see Galveston it's for the sheer amount of involved talent. I mean, do you really care what the story is knowing who is in it?  The barest description finds Foster as a dying hitman who returns to his hometown to plot revenge after an attempted setup.

Co-starring are Riverdale's Lili Reinhart, Beau Bridges, and Adepero Oduye. Galveston doesn't have a release date but expect that to change soon.

DC Readers: Win Passes To A Free Screening Of 'Unfriended: Dark Web'


We're happy to offer our DC readers the chance to attend a free advance screening of Unfriended: Dark Web, a standalone sequel to 2014's inventive horror.

SYNOPSIS: Unfolding in real-time UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB​​ is ​the most terrifying horror yet from the producer of GET OUT, HAPPY DEATH DAY and THE PURGE, and the ​makers of UNFRIENDED.  When a 20-something finds a cache of hidden files on his new laptop, he and his friends are unwittingly thrust into the depths of the dark web.  They soon discover someone has been watching their every move and will go to unimaginable lengths to protect the dark web.

The screening takes place on Wednesday, July 18th at 7:00pm at AMC Mazza Gallerie. If you'd like to attend, simply complete the Rafflecopter contest form below. Winners will be selected on Monday, July 16th and notified by email. Good luck!

Unfriended: Dark Web opens July 20th.



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A 'Downton Abbey' Movie Is Headed To The Big Screen


Still feeling the void left behind by Downton Abbey since it went off the air three years ago? Well then today's your lucky day, because the Crawleys are coming back, and to a theater near you. Focus Features has confirmed a Downton Abbey movie is in the works with the show's creator and the original cast.

Behind the camera will be Brian Percival, who loyalists may remember directed the series pilot back in 2010. Series creator Julian Fellowes wrote the script, which will bring back the original principal cast. And this isn't just some TV movie with limited production values, this is a major theatrical event. 

The multi award-winning Downton Abbey ran for six seasons and centered on the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants at a Yorkshire country estate at the turn of the 20th century.  When the show started it was the year 1912 just after the sinking of the Titanic, but it ended in 1926 as major historical events began to shift the British social heirarchy. The major cast included Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Joanne Froggatt, Phyllis Logan, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Penelope Wilton, and Rob James-Collier.

“When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production,” said producer Gareth Neame. “Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”

'A Simple Favor' Trailer: Anna Kendricks Searches For A Missing Blake Lively In Paul Feig's Thriller


Breaking free from the comedy genre that has defined his career, Paul Feig goes into thriller territory with A Simple Favor. Feig's Gone Girl-esque adaptation of Darcey Bell's 2017 novel still puts the focus on female characters, as all of his movies have, played by Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, who he's working with for the first time.

So unless she's got a secret cameo we haven't found out about, there's no Melissa McCarthy anywhere. The film centers on two best friends, one a mommy blogger played by Kendrick, with Lively as the mysterious one who suddenly vanishes from their small town. Henry Golding, who is set to make a splash later this year in Crazy Rich Asians, plays Lively's husband who gets in on the investigation.

The tone still feels a bit off as Feig tries to be thrilling while maintaining a dark streak of humor.  But Feig hasn't really had a total dud yet and I doubt he'll start here. Here's the synopsis:

A SIMPLE FAVOR, directed by Paul Feig, centers around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily’s husband Sean (Henry Golding) in this stylish thriller filled with twists and betrayals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.

A Simple Favor opens September 14th.