Review: Deadpool 2

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, and Zazie Beetz

Review: Book Club

Starring Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda, and Mary Steenburgen

Review: The Seagull

Starring Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan, and Elisabeth Moss

Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Han Gets The Kinetic Origin Story He Deserves But May Not Need

Review: The Yellow Birds

Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Jennifer Aniston, and Tye Sheridan

5/24/2018

Trailer For Pawel Pawlikowski's Cannes Award-Winning Drama 'Cold War'


Filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski has been getting name-checked all over the place lately as Paul Schrader cites his 2015 Oscar-winning drama Ida as a major influence on First Reformed. But Pawlikowski has also been in the news for his latest film, Cold War, which recently won him Best Director at Cannes. Now a trailer for it has been released to give those of us unable to attend a look at why he achieved such accolades, because it is absolutely stunning.

There's not much of a plot to speak of in this footage to go along with the lack of dialogue, but it doesn't really need it. What you do get is star Joanna Kulig singing a soulful tune backed by a jazz ensemble while images from the film are shown. The story follows two star-crossed lovers (Kulig and Tomasz Kot) as they find one another in 1950s Poland during the Cold War. 

Here's a fuller synopsis: Cold War is a passionate love story between a man and a woman who meet in the ruins of post-war Poland. With different backgrounds and temperaments, they are fatally mismatched and yet fatefully condemned to each other. Set against the background of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris, the couple are separated by politics, character flaws and unfortunate twists of fate – an impossible love story in impossible times. Pawlikowski’s most recent film, Ida, was a global success, winning the Oscar and BAFTA for best foreign language film as well as five European Film Awards including best European film, director and screenplay. His other key credits include My Summer Of Love and Last Resort.

Amazon Studios will release Cold War stateside later this year.


'The Sisters Brothers' Trailer: Joaquin Phoenix & John C. Reilly Aim For Laughs In Jacques Audiard's Comedy Western


Of all the places for Palme d'Or winning director Jacques Audiard (Rust & Bone, A Prophet, Dheepan) to go, the dark comedy western The Sisters Brothers is the least likely. Audiard makes his English-language debut with the film that boasts a terrific cast led by John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Riz Ahmed, and I'm expecting it will be very popular on the fall festival circuit.

That goes double now that the trailer is out and it looks like a strange synthesis of Audiard's gifts as a dramatic filmmaker with the comedic skills of his cast. Based on the novel by Patrick deWitt, the story follows siblings Eli and Charlie Sisters (Reilly and Phoenix) who have been hired to hunt down a thieving prospector in 1850s Oregon.

The western genre has become fertile ground for comedy movies and they have found a home in the indie scene. Slow West and Damsel are two recent examples and both  were notable presences at film festivals, so don't be surprised if Annapurna Pictures gives The Sisters Brothers a similar run before it hits theaters this fall.




LeBron James And Channing Tatum Are Making An Action-Comedy Together


In a perfect world Channing Tatum and LeBron James would be starring in a White Men Can't Jump remake, but we'll have to settle for this. For now. THR reports the duo are teaming up to produce Public Enemy, an action-comedy from writer Lucas Carter.

Details on the film are scarce, but it's being described as a "subversive" look at "speed of media in the current landscape."  Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? What is it? Morning Glory meets Speed? I'm confused. Maybe that's why neither Tatum or James is confirmed to actually star in the film, although we'll see how long that lasts. You can bet every attempt will be made to get them in front of the camera.

It would be a shame to not take advantage of the comedic potential of a Tatum/James buddy comedy. James was pretty funny in Trainwreck while Tatum is good at just about everything, right? Both have become powerful producers to go along with their other careers. James is developing a House Party remake co-written by Stephen Glover, while Tatum recently produced Steven Soderbergh's Logan Lucky as well as both Magic Mike films.

The Week In DC: Barry Faces Off Against DeVoe For The Fate Of The World


This week marks another end of this season of a spectacular show on the CW’s Arrowverse.  Before we get to Barry and DeVoe’s showdown, a quick recap as to what’s been going on.  Last week on Supergirl, Reign was revealed to have all the powers of the World Killers, and in order to complete her journey to the dark side, she had to kill her human alter-ego’s daughter Ruby.  Lucky for little Ruby, Kara, Alex, Mon-El, and Lena Luthor all had her back.  Unfortunately, she finally found out that her mother was the evil World Killer Reign, which won’t bode well for her future therapy bills.  Kara and Lena were at odds with each other, since Kara didn’t appreciate her hoarding Kryptonite, and Lena didn’t appreciate that Kara was so hypocritical about the one thing that could hurt her (when she could destroy a city if she so chose).  Meanwhile, on The Flash, DeVoe was one step closer to bringing about The Enlightening and reducing everyone’s intelligence across the planet.  In order to try to stop them, Barry needed to give Cisco and Caitlin a little bit of his Speed Force abilities so that they could rescue ARGUS hostages and stop DeVoe from launching his satellites.  They managed to save the hostages and destroy one satellite.  However, DeVoe then used STAR Lab’s satellites instead to launch his attack on the planet.

So how did this week in the Arrowverse go?

Supergirl: "The Fanatical”



This episode begins at one of Lena Luthor’s facilities.  Reign is once again back in their custody after she was stopped from killing Ruby.  Lena reveals that they are safe from Reign as she has developed a new technology that shields Kryptonians from escaping the cell.  Kara even tries to use her x-ray vision to look into the now blocked cell, which ends up hurting her.  She is once again angered with Lena Luthor for developing technology that could hurt her.  Once again, Kara is a bit of a hypocrite as she wants to remain invincible.  The people of earth would be stupid not to have a means of defending themselves.  What if she gets some red Kryptonite and turns evil?  Then humanity would need some of Lena’s technology to keep them safe.
    
At CatCo, Kara decides to confront James about telling Lena the truth about her having him as Guardian spy on her.  James told his girlfriend the truth, which Kara has a problem with.  James maintains that he did the right thing and even tries to counsel Kara on finding common ground between the two of them.  Out of nowhere, one of Thomas Coville’s followers, a woman named Tonya comes into James’ office needing help.  She has one of his Cult of Rao journals, which reveals that the cult (even without their leader) is trying to build a bomb.  Tonya knows that James knows who Supergirl is, so she hopes that Supergirl will be able to stop them.


As expected, Ruby is not having a good time.  After the reveal that her mother is a superpowered serial killer, one would feel a little down.  Alex has taken Ruby in under he wing and is trying to do everything she can to try to lift her spirits up, with no such luck.  J’onn is also struggling with his father Myr’nn’s deteriorating mental health.  The two decide that both need something to pick them up.  They take them to a local arcade.  Myr’nn, not used to how shoot ‘em up games work is terrified of one of the arcade games and Ruby still doesn’t want to do anything.  However, the two of them have a conversation with each other about their problems, and they discover foosball, which they both absolutely love.  The two enjoy smiles and laughs while playing foosball as Alex and J’onn happily look on.

Members of the cult try to kidnap Tonya, only for James to stop them.  However, during the scuffle, James helmet is knocked off and Tonya finds out that he’s Guardian.  The cult then reveals that they had a camera and the only way they won’t reveal that James is Guardian, as long as they turn over the journal and Tonya.  Later on, James is discussing his options with Lena.  For the first time, James really acknowledges that he’s a black man.  As he monologues his experiences with Lena, he reveals that story many young black men all can tell: their first experience being arrested by the police for being nothing else can being young a black.  He’s worried that the reveal of Guardian being black will paint him in another light.  At first, he’s going to hold a press conference to remove the cults leverage, but Tonya tells him she’s proud that he’s Guardian.

Kara and the DEO decide to stage a sting to lure Tonya and get the cult in one fell swoop.  They allow Tonya to get kidnapped and Mon-El will tag along, acting like their getaway van is an Uber ride. Actor Chris Wood had a bit of fun playing against type, being a nerd instead of a prince-turned-superhero.  The cult finds a way to stop Mon-El’s tracker, but once he gets to their hideout, he uses his powers to reveal the location to Kara.  However, the cult uses a ritual to give one of their members World Killer powers, which makes the fight between them, Mon-El, and Supergirl difficult.  Instead of fighting, Kara once again appeals to the woman’s humanity, just as she did last week against Reign.  After the woman lets go of a rock that gave her the powers, Kara and Mon-El destroy it.

At the DEO they discover that the rock is five light years away and maybe they can defeat Reign if they have it.  They borrow J’onn’s spaceship/convertible so they can find it.  But they have to hurry up as Reign is becoming immune to Lena’s technology.

Next week, Kara and Mon-El go on a ride where she runs into Kryptonians…. Even her mom???



The Flash: “We Are the Flash”



First off, this season of The Flash has been a breath of fresh air.  For the first time, the big bad villain wasn’t a speedster.  We finally have some diversity in his villains with DeVoe.  While he did have all the bus metahumans’ powers towards the end of the season, for the most part, the only thing that DeVoe had against Barry was his intelligence.  And to watch him continuously outthink Barry and Team Flash, gave us a competent villain, who proved to be more than a match for them.

The episode begins with the beginning of The Enlightenment.  Captain Singh is going to Jitters for a cup of coffee (does anyone go to a bar?  Like who gets coffee after work?) where he even leaves Barry a voicemail that he can get his job back on the account that DeVoe was an evil supervillain all along.  Soon enough, the sky goes purple and all technology goes off as the satellites have been launched.

At STAR Labs, they manage to get the power back on, and now have to race against the clock to stop the dark matter energy from satellites from covering the entire planet.  Lucky for them, DeVoe’s wife Marlize is now on their side and they have to find a way to stop DeVoe.  Marlize thinks the best option they have is to enter DeVoe’s mind and find the one part of him that is still good to try and get him to stop The Enlightenment.  In order to do that, they will need some help from Cecile, who can bridge minds thanks to her pregnancy.  However, she’s about to get ready to deliver.  It’s going to be tough.

It works out as Barry is transported into DeVoe’s consciousness.  It’s not as easy as Marilize hopes it would be.  Turns out, they cannot find a good version of DeVoe as he’s completely evil.  However, there is one good person stuck in DeVoe’s mind: Ralph!  Remember, DeVoe is using Ralph’s body, so somewhere in there, Ralph’s consciousness remains alive.  We all knew he was going to come back in one way or another.  Barry is determined to get Ralph back to the land of the living.  If they manage to escape, Ralph will come back, and DeVoe will be destroyed.  However, this is something DeVoe was prepared for as well.  He has multiple versions of himself stop Barry and Ralph from trying to leave his mind, while in the real world, he goes to STAR Labs to stop Team Flash.  As he is fighting them in his mind, he almost kills Cecille, which would kill Barry.  However, Barry and Ralph find a way out of DeVoe’s mind, destroying DeVoe in the process.  With DeVoe, no loDeVoe transfers his consciousness to his chair, but Maralize destroys the chair, stopping DeVoe for good.  Unable to get control of the satellites, The Enlightenment is over.

Just in time, as Cecille’s water breaks and she is able to deliver her baby.  Marlize and Cisco find a way to reverse Harry’s brain degradation.  However, it doesn’t fix him completely, and he doesn’t have the same level of intelligence (a least he can talk).  Harry now is in tune with his emotions, and is completely fine with not being one of the smartest people in the multiverse.  He leaves Earth-1 to spend some time with his daughter.  In the aftermath, everyone is at Joe’s house to celebrate he and Cecil’s new daughter.  Even Wally shows up to meet his new sister.  Barry and Iris even talk about them one day having children.  Just on cue, the Mystery girl comes back.  she’s now seeking their help.  She reveals to Barry that she is he and Iris’s daughter Nora Allen-West, and she’s from the future.  She reveals that she made a “big, big mistake” by traveling back into the past and might have created her own “Flashpoint” and now needs her parents help to right her wrong.

Next 'Transformers' Sequel Officially Yanked From Paramount's Schedule


The Transformers franchise has hit the skids, and Paramount is taking a pretty big step by yanking the next film off the schedule. Transformers 7, which had been dated for June 28th 2019 as a follow-up to the Bumblebee spinoff directed by Travis Knight, is no longer on the release slate. It has been replaced on that date by the Tiffany Haddish comedy, Limited Partners.

So what does this mean for the future of the Transformers franchise? Hard to say, but this news doesn't come as much of a shock. Michael Bay's fifth and "final" film, Transformers: The Last Knight, earned just over $600M worldwide, the lowest by far. These movies routinely soar over the $1B mark and to see such a dropoff suggests a change in direction may be in order.

To that end, rumors have been swirling of a possible reboot after Bumblebee has its run. Paramount launched a high-profile writers room some time ago to expand the Transformers universe with 10 more years of spinoffs and sequels, but the result of that was The Last Knight which failed.

Perhaps Bumblebee can salvage things when it opens on December 21st, but as of now there will be no Transformers movies in 2019.

Vin Diesel Joined In 'Bloodshot' By Eiza Gonzalez, Michael Sheen, And Sam Heughan


The Valiant Comics cinematic universe is growing and so is the cast of Bloodshot, which stars Vin Diesel as the nanite-powered hero. According to Variety and Deadline, Diesel will be joined by Baby Driver star Eiza Gonzalez, Outlander's Sam Heughan, and Michael Sheen who really needs no introduction at this point. He's been in everything, hasn't he?

It's unclear what roles they'll be playing, however. We do know Diesel is set to play the titular soldier who, after a mortal injury, is revived using nanotechnology that gives him increased healing and other superhuman abilities. He's tasked with finding and bringing in others just like him, known as harbingers.

The plan by Sony is to launch multiple franchises out of this. The first film will be Harbinger, followed by Bloodshot which is directed by Dave Wilson. They will then crossover in a Harbinger Wars movie that features both title characters.

5/23/2018

Idris Elba To Direct And Star In A Modern 'Hunchback Of Notre Dame' For Netflix


Idris Elba's first partnership with Netflix didn't work out so hot. Beasts of No Nation was expected by many to be an Oscar contender but the streaming network was still going through some growing pains and had no idea how to mount an awards campaign. Actually...they still have that problem. That said, Elba is furthering his relationship with Netflix, first by producing and starring in the series Turn Up Charlie, and now by setting his next directorial effort.

Elba will direct and star in an adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the 19th-century Victor Hugo story about the titular hunchback who falls in love with the beautiful Esmerelda. This version will be a modern retelling written by Michael Mitnick (The Current War), providing a "sonic and musical experience". That's unsurprising given Elba's use of music in his recent directorial debut, Yardie.

No word on where this fits into Elba's schedule. He can be seen right now in Avengers: Infinity War, reprising his role as Heimdall. [THR]


Cast Revealed For Damon Lindelof's "Remixed" 'Watchmen' Series


For good reason there has been trepidation regarding Damon Lindelof's adaptation of Watchmen. Neil Gaiman and Dave Gibbons' seminal graphic novel is seen as a classic that should probably be left alone. Zack Snyder gave it a go in a big screen effort that polarized fans and disappointed at the box office. Personally, I love his strict dedication to the source material but understand those who feel otherwise. Lindelof took to Instagram to try and convince fans to give his upcoming HBO TV series a shot, because his version will be very different...

“We have no desire to ‘adapt’ the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago,” Lindelof wrote. “Those issues are sacred ground and will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted.”

“They will, however, be remixed,” he continued. “Because the bass lines in those familiar tracks are just too good and we’d be fools not to sample them. Those original twelve issues are our Old Testament. When the New Testament came along it did not erase what came before it.”

“This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built…but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original. It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary. The Old Testament was specific to the Eighties of Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev. Ours needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless. And speaking of Horsemen, The End of the World is off the table…which means the heroes and villains–as if the two are distinguishable–are playing for different stakes entirely.”

"Some of the characters will be unknown,” Lindelof continues. “New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising yet familiar set of eyes…and it is here we will be taking our greatest risks.”

I can honestly say this is the most interested I've been for the series, now that Lindelof has clarified exactly what he's trying to accomplish. Modernizing Watchmen to reflect today's world is exactly what he should be doing because that is a story built to evolve over time.

And now we see just how different this Watchmen is going to be by who will be starring as its costumed heroes. Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gosset Jr., Adelaide Clemens, and Andrew Howard will star as brand new characters. King, who worked with Lindelof on The Leftovers, is playing Angela Abraham; Clemens is Pirate Jenny; Gossett Jr. is Old Man; and Howard is the Red Scare.

Is Watchmen HBO's next killer tentpole series? They're certainly building it up to be. The clock is ticking, expect more news to come.

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'Hotel Artemis' Red Band Trailer And Clip: Jodie Foster Fixes Up The World's Worst Criminals


Hotel Artemis may not be set in the same world as John Wick, but it has the benefit of looking like it should. Set in a wartorn near-future Los Angeles, the film takes place in a hospital strictly for criminals, who are bound to follow a certain set of rules. Of course, these being a bunch of villains those rules get broken and shit hits the fan. Sounds a lot like the criminal infrastructure within John Wick's The Continental hotel, and with a star-studded cast led by Jodie Foster it could be the sleeper film of the summer.

At the helm is Iron Man 3 writer Drew Pearce, who has surrounded Foster with a cast that includes Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Sterling K. Brown (Black Panther), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek), Sofia Boutella (Atomic Blonde) Jenny Slate (Venom), Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta), Kenneth Choi (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and Charlie Day (Pacific Rim).  What, they couldn't find someone from Star Wars, too? They play various lowlifes making their way through the hospital, which has rules banning weapons and violence against other patients. Of course, when an item of great value is discovered all bets are off.

Pearce, who also wrote Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation, can handle large ensembles and chaotic, blockbuster-sized action. Looks like he'll need those skills for this, and I can't wait to see if he can pull it off. My expectations are through the roof. That scene with Bautista, who plays a friggin' orderly, getting talked down to by Day had me rolling. Bautista also features in a new clip which finds him having to rein in the situation when someone can't verify their membership.

Hotel Artemis opens its doors on June 8th.



Donald Glover Rumored For 'Black Panther 2' Villain Role


Here's a fun rumor that probably isn't worth the cocktail napkin it was first written on, but let's put it out there anyway. Just in case. Tabloid site Metro.uk says Black Panther director Ryan Coogler has his sights set on Donald Glover to play the sequel's villain. It also suggests Michael B. Jordan is due to return as previous villain, Erik Killmonger. That seems more reasonable, especially if you know Killmonger's story in the comics. He's quite resilient.

Anyway, let's take this with the amount of salt it demands. Glover is killin' it right now and is the toast of Hollywood, not only for his "This is America" video but for his role as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story. His performance was a highlight in the Star Wars spinoff and has started conversations about a potential spinoff. He's also star of the acclaimed series Atlanta and has a role in Jon Favreau's live-action The Lion King. In short, everybody wants a piece of Glover right now.

That said, Glover does have a connection to the original Black Panther movie. He and his brother Stephen were given a shout out in the credits thanks to their help in punching up some of the screenplay's jokes. Maybe Coogler is looking to expand on that brief partnership?

It's unlikely, though. Black Panther 2 is only in the earliest stages, and considering T'Challa's fate in Avengers: Infinity War, and Marvel's secrecy about it, this kind of news would NEVER get out right now. Plus, Glover has already appeared in the MCU, albeit in a minor role as Aaron Davis (aka Prowler) in Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Marvel could always say "Hey, that was Sony not us", but nope, that wouldn't work. Then again, I'm sure Marvel would ignore this if it meant getting Glover on board in a more prominent role.

Or maybe Black Panther 2's villain IS the Prowler? Eh, doubtful.