Review: Happy Death Day 2U

Starring Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard

Review: Alita: Battle Angel

From James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez

Review: Isn't It Romantic

Starring Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth

Review: Fighting With My Family

Starring Florence Pugh as WWE Superstar Paige

2/20/2019

DC Readers: Attend A Free Advance Screening Of 'Greta'


We're happy to offer our DC readers the chance to attend a free advance screening of Greta, starring Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz.

SYNOPSIS: A sweet, naïve young woman trying to make it on her own in New York City, Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) doesn’t think twice about returning the handbag she finds on the subway to its rightful owner. That owner is Greta (Isabelle Huppert), an eccentric French piano teacher with a love for classical music and an aching loneliness.  Having recently lost her mother, Frances quickly grows closer to widowed Greta. The two become fast friends — but Greta’s maternal charms begin to dissolve and grow increasingly disturbing as Frances discovers that nothing in Greta’s life is what it seems in this suspense thriller from Academy Award®-winning director Neil Jordan.

The screening takes place on Tuesday, February 26th at 7:00pm at Landmark E Street Cinema. If you'd like to attend, go to the Focus Features screening site here.  Please remember all screenings are first come first served and you will need to arrive early to ensure receiving a seat. Enjoy the show!

Greta opens in theaters on March 1st.

'The Highwaymen' Trailer: Kevin Costner And Woody Harrelson Hunt Down Bonnie & Clyde


A hundred years from now Hollywood will still be telling stories of Bonnie & Clyde. The crime duo and young lovers captured the hearts and minds of an entire generation, and the landmark 1967 movie changed the way love and violence were depicted on the big screen. But a new take on the material is on the way, as John Lee Hancock's The Highwaymen will turn its attention to the law enforcement who ultimately ended their crime spree.

In the works since 2005, the film was originally going to start the legendary duo of Robert Redford and Paul Newman, which would've been amazing. Years later, we have to settle for Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson as Texas Ranger Frank Hamer and his partner Maney Gault, who were tasked with bringing Bonnie & Clyde down.  Actually, the combination of Costner and Harrelson is pretty great, too. The script is by John Fusco, who has let his southern pride fly penning films such as Young Guns, Hidalgo, and one of my personal favorites, Crossroads.

Here's the synopsis: “The Highwaymen” follows Texas Ranger Frank Hamer and ex-partner Maney Gault. The lawmen were out of the Rangers by the time Bonnie & Clyde started their robbery reign, but were commissioned as special investigators, coaxed by a consortium of banks to assemble a posse and end the robbery spree of the notorious gang reputed to have killed 13 cops and others.

The Highwaymen hits Netflix on March 29th.

Danielle Macdonald May Join The Next Film From 'Eighth Grade' Director Bo Burnham


It's been a banner week for Eighth Grade writer/director Bo Burnham, with his acclaimed film winning Best Screenplay at the WGA Awards. Next up for him won't be a directing gig, but he'll pen the script for an untitled movie that Deadline says may star Patti Cake$, Dumplin, and Bird Box breakout, Danielle Macdonald.

Macdonald is in talks for an untitled film that Burnham will write for director Amy York Rubin, best known for her work on SMILF. Also up for a role is Jaboukie Young-White, a standup comedian who also had a role in Rough Night.

Details on the story aren't clear, but the film was originally titled Gay Kid and Fat Chick. Thankfully cooler heads have prevailed and the title will change before cameras roll. Macdonald has been great in literally everything she's done, and Burnham wrote one of the most honest portrayals of school life I've ever seen. The potential for this to be great is through the roof.

Review: 'How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World', A Sweet And Soaring Finale


The soaring journey we've been on with Hiccup and his dragon pal Toothless is coming to an end, but it's not to be met with sadness. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is more than just a satisfying end to the high-flying franchise that has been around since 2010, it features action and emotional notes that rank among the series' best. You won't want to say goodbye to these characters we've loved for so long, but you'll be happy with where they are headed.


This story finds Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) now fully-cemented as leader of Berk, the Viking clan that once had a fear of dragons but now live among them in harmony. As their home has become a dragon sanctuary, so too has the chance for danger been increased as trappers and hunters are everywhere. From the beginning Hiccup's arc has been of trying to learn to believe in himself, to find his place in the world. He was the only one of his people to befriend a dragon, his beloved Night Fury named Toothless, and now he's changed the hearts and minds of everyone he holds dear. But Hiccup's issues with self-confidence remain, as the possibility of marriage to Astrid (America Ferrera) looms, and the arrival of a new foe, Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), who stands opposed to everything he believes.


The Hidden World is more of a love story than previous chapters, as the introduction of a female Night Fury, which they begin calling a Light Fury, has Toothless sprung like a virgin on spring break.   At the same time, Hiccup must learn to cope with the idea of a life without his dragon buddy, and whether he can still be an effective leader. Franchise writer/director Dean DeBlois wrote multiple drafts to come up with just the right story, one that hits on all of the primary themes while advancing his two main characters forward. He also introduces the villain in Grimmel, whose glee for hunting down dragons, in particular Night Furies, strikes at the core of what these movies have always been about. Despite Abraham's enjoyably theatrical performance,  Grimmel isn't as physically threatening as he should be. As a foil Grimmel's greatest impression is as Hiccup's ideological opposite.


While How to Train Your Dragon has achieved more than its share of accolades, I've always felt it never got the due it rightfully deserved. Part of that may be its mature tone, as these movies have never been what you would call cute or cuddly.  DeBlois lightens things up a little bit, with Toothless' ridiculously awkward attempts to woo the Light Fury, and Hiccup not exactly the best teacher. The supporting cast also provide a great deal of humor, with Kristen Wiig's annoyingly-vain Ruffnut and Jonah Hill's Snotlout getting increased attention. Unfortunately some of the other female characters important to Hiccup get moved into the background. Astrid has a couple of nice moments lifting Hiccup's spirits, but they could've done a lot more with Cate Blanchett as his warrior mother Valka, who was so prominent before.


The connection between Hiccup and Toothless is as natural as ever, though. They've gone through some ups and downs, literally, but this movie really gets to the heart of their bond and how it's been strengthened by their many ordeals. When faced with the very real possibility of leaving one another for good, it's heartbreaking not only for them but a real gut punch for us, as well, and I expect there won't be a dry eye in the place during the final bittersweet moments. Just how "final" they are remains to be seen, and the door is left open just enough that we may get to glide through the air on the back of a Night Fury again someday.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Daniel Kaluuya And Lakeith Stanfield Eye Black Panther Drama Produced By Ryan Coogler


Daniel Kaluuya will probably return as the traitorous W'Kabi in Black Panther 2, but first he'll have a role in a very different Black Panther movie that has nothing to do with Marvel. THR reports Kaluuya and his Get Out co-star Lakeith Stanfield are in talks for Jesus Was My Homeboy, which is being produced by Black Panther director Ryan Coogler.

Directed by Shaka King (Newlyweeds) who co-wrote the script with Will Berson, the film would star Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, a prominent activist and member of the Black Panther Party who was assassinated in 1969. Hampton was an Illinois-born Honors student, brilliant at negotiating pacts between rival gangs which added to the size and strength of the Black Panther Party. It was while he was on the verge of just such a union that FBI agents and Chicago police officers raided his apartment and murdered him with two point blank shots to the head. Stanfield would play William O'Neal, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Black Panthers and drugged Hampton just before the raid began. The story of Hampton's rise will be seen largely from O'Neal's perspective.

Assuming deals are worked out this is a pretty exciting pair on a story I don't think a lot of people know about. Hampton's been talked about in a couple of documentaries but no major efforts to bring his story to the screen have ever happened until now, and I hope it's done the justice it deserves.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Series May Be Headed To Disney+


Whether Disney and Lucasfilm want to admit it or not, the perception they are creating is of pulling back on movies and focusing on Disney+.  Case in point, the long-rumored Obi-Wan Kenobi movie may becoming a streaming series, rather than hit the big screen.

A new rumor from StarWarsNewsNet says an Obi-Wan Kenobi series is a "top priority" for Disney+. For years there's been talk of Ewan McGregor returning to the role he played in the Star Wars prequels, except in a spinoff movie. The idea originally intended for that is apparently where the germ of this series comes from, as well, so if true don't be surprised if McGregor is asked to return. He's been more than open to it in the past.

This would be a limited event series of around six episodes, which sounds like a lot for an idea that was meant for a single movie. But at the same time it sounds too short for covering the vast amount we don't know about Obi-Wan.

This isn't official by any means, but if Disney is going to make any kind of announcement you can bet Star Wars Celebration is where it will happen.

2/19/2019

'Leaving Neverland' Trailer: Controversial Documentary Promises To Change The Way You Look At Michael Jackson


I had a hard time finding anybody who saw the controversial Michael Jackson doc, Leaving Neverland, while at Sundance a few weeks ago. The reasons for that are many: HBO would be putting the film out in two parts in early March, the four-hour runtime pretty much ruined your plans for the entire day, and who wants to spend their Sundance with something guaranteed to be a depressing experience? Because this wouldn't be one of those movies celebrating Jackson's musical genius and artistry, but a searing account of his alleged sexual abuse of young boys, accusations that have dogged his career even beyond the grave.

Directed by Dan Reed, the film visits the allegations that Jackson abused two boys in particular: James Safechuck and Wade Robson. Based on the new trailer HBO has released, we may never listen to Jackson's music the same way here. Or maybe we'll never want to listen to it again after this. Here's the synopsis:

This two-part documentary explores the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson. Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 37, and Robson, now 41, as well as their mothers, wives, and siblings, the film crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of their own.

HBO will release Leaving Neverland in two parts on March 3rd & 4th.

James Cameron Talks 'Avatar 2', Those "Pesky" Live-Action Elements, And Kate Winslet's Performance


James Cameron has done a pretty good job keeping details on his Avatar sequels under wraps, but he's finally starting to shed a little light. Avatar 2 arrives in 2020, and according to Cameron's comments to Empire, at the center of the story will be the relationship between Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), who he left his human side for and established a life with her on Pandora. The sequel is set some years after the 2009 movie, with Jake and Neytiri now having an 8-year-old daughter...

“There’s a three-page argument scene between Jake and Neytiri, a marital dispute, very, very critical to the storyline. I wound up shooting it all from the point of view of the eight year old hiding under the structure and peeking in […] Having gone through the experience with [Sam Worthington] on Avatar, I now knew how to write the Jake character going forward across the emotional rollercoaster of the next four movies. It’s been tough on him. He’s done two pictures back to back now, because we did 2 and 3 together. He had to go to some dark places.”

That's Cameron also confirming the next two sequels were indeed shot back-to-back, however he adds that production is far from over. He's got all of the technical stuff done, but damned if those "pesky" humans aren't slowing things down...

“[Performance-capture] is the vast majority of the characters, and that is the vast majority of the running time of the film, but that pesky little live-action component is going to cost me five months of my life, across the two movies.”

One of the new additions to the franchise is Kate Winslet, making this a reunion with her Titanic director. Cameron talked to Vulture (via People) a little bit about her "gung-ho" performance as Ronal, a free-diving member of the Pandoran race...

“She was really excited about doing the water work and at her peak, I think she held her breath for seven-and-a-half minutes – not during the scene but just during the training. She was regularly doing two-or-three minute scenes, underwater acting and swimming.”

Cameron jokingly added...

“She was a dream to work with — not the pain in the a— that she was the first time. No, she was a dream on Titanic as well.”


Avatar 2 opens December 2020.

Nope, Armie Hammer Isn't In Talks For 'The Batman'


I saw this rumor yesterday and ignored it because, well, the source is Revenge of the Fans. It was too bold in its headline that "Armie Hammer Is In Final Talks To Be The Batman" that I knew it better to wait for a response from Hammer himself. Well, it didn't take long. You'll be shocked to learn the rumor is complete booshit.

In an interview with Yahoo UK to promote the overseas release of On the Basis of Sex, Hammer shot down any talks that he's on the verge of becoming the Caped Crusader...

“No one who can actually give me the job has asked me if I’m interested. I don’t even know if they’re done – I think they’re still working on a script. I don’t think that they’re close to production but I can conclusively tell you that no one has checked my availability, which is a bummer.”

So that's a no.

Perhaps someone got their wires crossed. Maybe they found a decade-old story about Hammer playing Batman in George Miller's canceled Justice League Mortal, and thought that shit was current. Whatever. Sourcing matters, just sayin'.

Anyway, Matt Reeves is expected to go young in his search for an actor to lead The Batman. Hammer is 32, which isn't exactly old, but I think they'll go even younger. With shooting to start by year's end, I expect we'll hear definitive casting news around Comic-Con time. The Batman opens on June 25th 2021.



'The Dirt' Trailer: Rock Out To Netflix's Motley Crue Biopic


With Bohemian Rhapsody out there making $850M and raking in Oscar nominations, the time is right for musical biopics to step into the forefront. Enter Netflix's Motley Crue drama, The Dirt, which looks like it will be far less safe of a depiction than the aforementioned Queen film.

Promising an unconventional approach is director Jeff Tremaine, known for directing Bad Grandpa and other films in the Jackass franchise.  The cast is rather out of left field, too: Daniel Webber plays singer Vince Neil, Game of Thrones' Iwan Rheon plays guitarist Mick Mars, Douglas Booth is Nikki Sixx, and rapper Machine Gun Kelly is drummer Tommy Lee.   Motley Crue and Neil Strauss' book The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band serves as the source material, with a screenplay by Rich Wilkes.

With Motley Crue recording four new tracks for the film I expect audiences will be rockin' out hard to this one. The Dirt hits Netflix on March 22nd.