Review: American Assassin

Starring Dylan O'Brien and Michael Keaton

Review: mother!

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, and Channing Tatum

Review: Wetlands

Starring Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbage and Heather Graham

Review: It

Stays Afloat with Genuine Frights and Haunting Performances


Gal Gadot May Join Bradley Cooper In Sci-Fi Film 'Deeper'

While still glowing in the box office and critical success of Wonder Woman, which has a sequel green lit and ready to go, Gal Gadot is finding time to fit in other projects not involved with the DCEU. Fortunately, this next one isn't a sequel to Keeping Up with the Joneses. Deadline reports that she is in talks to join Bradley Cooper in Max Landis' sci-fi film, Deeper.

Penned by Landis with Kornel Mundruczo (White God) directing, the film has been previously described as "Birdman + The Shining + Locke + 2001 + The Descent + Miyazaki", which sounds like a typically bombastic Landis-type thing to say. The story follows former astronaut Eddie Breen, who experiences mysterious forces while exploring a newly-discovered oceanic trench that may be the deepest point on the planet. There he encounters mysterious forces both psychological and physical.

Next up for Gadot is Justice League on November 17th, and Wonder Woman 2 follows in December 2019.

‘The Purge: The Island' Prequel Film Has Found Its Leads

The Purge film series has taken a life on its own.  What first started out as a good old-fashioned haunted house thriller under the premise of “what if all crime (including murder) was legal for one day a year?” has now expanded into a socio-political analysis of class and race.  The second and third films Purge: Anarchy and Purge: Election Year further expanded the world built in the first film, showing not only the purge outside the scope of one little house, but society as a whole.

Having three films gross more than $319 million off of a $22 million budget (the Blumhouse way), it’s a no brainer that they will continue to tell stories in this alternate universe.  There’s already a TV series in development.  Before the TV show comes, a prequel film will hit theaters next July.  The Purge: Island will focus on the first try of the Purge as an experiment and will take place in Staten Island, NY before it became a “national pastime” in the film series.  With no time to waste until it hits theaters, the film has just cast its leads.

The Tracking Board has just learned that Y’lan Noel and Lex Scott Davis have joined the film as the leads.  While Purge director James DeMonaco wrote the script for the prequel, he’s passing the reigns off to Burning Sands director Gerard McMurray for the upcoming prequel film.  Noel has recently gained popularity on the hit HBO show Insecure where he plays Daniel, an off again on again love interest for the main character Issa.  Davis first burse on the scene in Lifetime’s Toni Braxton: Unbreak my Heart and played a recurring role on CBS’ Training Day.  The Purge: Island promises to explore the creation of The Purge and how the New Founding Fathers were able to manipulate things to make it come to fruition.  The last two Purge films focused on ensembles, but the prequel intends to focus on the singular character William (It’s assumed that Noel will play the role) as he tries to survive the night.

The Purge: Island hits theaters July 4, 2018.

John Cena Continues Being Adorable in New Trailer for 'Ferdinand'

I don't know who is responsible for casting John Cena as the gentle bull Ferdinand, but that person is MAGIC. The animated film from 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios has a new trailer that includes an intro from Cena himself, and his face just makes me happy.

You may already know the gist -- gentle bull is sold, faces off against a bull fighter, makes new friends, and finds himself -- but Cena is doing a lot to sell this thing. Check out the new trailer below:

Ferdinand comes out on December 15, 2017, and it's pretty clear that 20th Century Fox is hyping this hard -- hoping that it will be a massive family release. But it's facing pretty stiff competition from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which we all know, despite its PG-13 rating, is something parents will be taking their children and tweens to. It will be interesting to watch whether Ferdinand carves out a niche for itself, and I can see Cena's charm being a major part of the continued ad campaign to come.

'The Meyerowitz Stories' Trailer: Adam Sandler & Ben Stiller Are Dysfunctional Siblings

It's funny that whenever Adam Sandler makes a movie that isn't outwardly grotesque like Ridiculous 6, we trip over ourselves to sing his praises. "He can be so talented when he wants to!" Yeah, why doesn't he want to? I find myself beginning every post about Sandler's dramatic efforts by reminding everyone how good he was in Punch Drunk Love, when that has absolutely no bearing on what he's doing right now. And what Sandler has right now is Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories, which has been earning strong reviews since Cannes, including some strong buzz for Sandler's performance.

The latest trailer follows up on the previously-released teaser, but it doesn't reveal much more. The film finds Sandler surrounded by Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Grace Van Patten, Adam Driver, Candice Bergen, Judd Hirsch, Elizabeth Marvel, and Rebecca Miller, in a story that tracks the dysfunctional Meyerowitz clan. Here's the synopsis:

From writer/director Noah Baumbach, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is the emotional and comic intergenerational tale of adult siblings (Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Marvel) contending with the long shadow their strong-willed father (Dustin Hoffman) has cast over their lives.

The Meyerowitz Stories hits theaters and Netflix on October 13th.

Review: Spending A 'Year by the Sea' Leads To Many Wonderful Life Lessons

Definitely one of the more endearing films of 2017, Year by the Sea, follows the journey of one woman as she separates herself from everyone and everything that she knows and loves in an attempt to rediscover just who she really is.

Karen Allen, plays the lead of the film as, Joan, a woman who after the recent marriage of one of her two sons and the discovery that her husband has shut down one of his offices, listed the house that they currently live in, and plans to move to another city, decides to reclaim her own identity by temporarily separating from her husband, thus, not joining him on this new venture, and instead moving into a little cottage by the sea in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It is there in this time of solitude that she realizes that though she enjoyed being a wife and mother, there was a "gradual erosion of faith in the essence of herself," and that the only way to get it back was to venture into the territory of self-exploration. Through the aid of friendships, both new and old, she learns that by seeking and "welcoming intuition, thoughtfulness, and surprise, and vulnerability" into her own life, instead of trying to manipulate it herself has allowed for her to begin the journey of realizing that she could actually like who she is and also could be.

Just from this character description alone, you can definitely get the feel that this film has a lot of insightful things to say about identity, spirituality, growth, marriage, womanhood, and friendships; this is where the movie truly shines, in its meaningful content. Though, this film claimed to be "for all mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters," as said at the end of the credits, I truly believe that anyone that watches this film can and will come out of it with some kind of new discernment in regards to their own life or maybe someone else's life whom they know.

One piece of insight that I particularly appreciated about this film is what it had to say about identity, more specifically, the identity of "mother" and "wife." Though, I am neither at this point in my life (we thank the Man upstairs because that is unneeded extra stress that I do not need in my life right now),  it still rang true because it's an insight that I have personally come to the realization of and I know that it's something that is sadly overlooked in today's society. Often times, when women join in a partnership with a man or take on the role of being a mother to another human being they forget that, they, at one point in their lives were their own person, with their own identity, hobbies, passions, like, and dislikes. While, I understand that taking on those new identities means that you now have someone else depending on you, meaning that you can no longer just think and do for yourself, I don't think that it should, however, come at the cost of losing entirely who you are in the process. I know that it's probably easier said than done, but you are are still your own person; you came into this life by yourself (unless of course you're a twin, but, still, my point remains because one had to come out before the other), and that's how you'll leave it, so at the end of the day it's important to remember to still try to find time to breathe and to take care of yourself. I loved that kind of transparency and authenticity to the story. The realism and connection to the viewers that it is able to provide though great acting and dialogue is what really brings this film to life.

I also loved the symbolism that was rampant throughout the film. From the boat that Joan would have to use to get from her cottage to the rest of the town and vice versa that symbolized her lack of control and stability; to the ocean representing fluidity and flexibility, things that Joan would need to learn on her journey to self-actualization; to the choice in loose and colorful clothing for Joan's friend, who is also named Joan (Celia Imrie), that is meant to represent her eccentric, lust for life, optimistic, go with the flow kind of attitude, all of these things, along with many others  were thoughtfully chosen to help reinforce many of the film's themes.

If I had to pick out flaws of the film, it would have to be that at times it does come off as a bit preachy, maybe even pretentious to some. I also think that the film could have perhaps worked just as well if it was shaved down a bit by taking out some scenes that weren't integral to the overall plot, but that's not so much of a necessity as it is me more so nitpicking. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Don't let the fact that this movie appears to be more for the AARP or approaching crowd stop you from watching a well-thought out film with many life lessons.

This film was adapted from the memoir, A Year by the Sea, by Joan Anderson which was on the NYT best-seller list for 32 weeks. It's directed by Alexander Janko. S. Epatha Merkerson, Michael Cristofer, and Yannick Bisson help to round out the cast.

Rating: 4 out of 5

'Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle' Trailers: The Rock Is A Video Game Avatar

Your excitement level for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle may be generational. Those who were fond of the original novel or the Robin Williams-led adaptation my balk at a sequel which takes the core concept, adds some video game flair, more action, less fantasy, etc. On the other hand, if you're a fan of watching Dwayne Johnson's muscles peak through his too-tight shirt, then this may be your speed.

A new trailer for the sequel is here and, honestly, to me it looks like Johnson's Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. I have no doubt it will be fun and Johnson will bring the best out of co-stars Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, but will it hold up to the original, which is still considered one of Williams' most cherished films? Here's the synopsis:

In a brand new Jumanji adventure, the tables are turned as four teenagers are sucked into Jumanji’s world – pitted against rhinos, black mambas and an endless variety of jungle traps and puzzles. To survive, they’ll play as characters from the game: meek Spencer becomes a braveexplorer (Dwayne Johnson); hulky jock Fridge becomes a tiny genius (Kevin Hart); It-girl Bethany becomes a bookworm professor (Jack Black); and unathletic Martha becomes an amazonian warrior (Karen Gillan). To beat the game and return to the real world with their lives, they’ll have to start seeing things in an entirely different way.

Directed by Jake Kasdan, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle opens December 20th 2017.

New 'Terminator' Trilogy Brings Back Linda Hamilton And Arnold Schwarzenegger

Well, if you were hoping James Cameron's Terminator reboot/sequel would go boldly, completely in a fresh new direction...well, maybe later for that. It was revealed at a private event yesterday that Linda Hamilton, who last played Sarah Connor twenty-five years ago in Terminator 2, will return to the franchise, and of course Arnold Schwarzenegger will be joining her. Officially.

Deadpool director Tim Miller is at the first movie's helm, with a writer's room assembled to help plot out the rest of the proposed trilogy. The plan is to pass the torch to a new character, a young woman, who can battle Skynet in the future. Sounds a lot like Terminator Genisys, doesn't it? The writer's room consists of David Goyer (Blade) Charles Eglee (Dark Angel), Josh Friedman (The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and Justin Rhodes. That's a lot of TV people involved, and I suspect if the first movie succeeds there will be an attempt to branch out to the small screen. Again, that's what they wanted to do with 'Genisys'.

Here's Cameron's statement, captured by THR...

“We’re starting a search for an 18-something woman to be the new centerpiece of the new story. We still fold time. We will have characters from the future and the present. There will be mostly new characters, but we’ll have Arnold and Linda’s characters to anchor it.”

I personally find very little exciting about this, but that could change depending on who is cast as the new female lead. And there's some curiosity to see how Hamilton fits in this time. I still remember my jaw dropping at how ripped and shredded she was in Terminator 2. Not only had she transformed Sarah Connor from an innocent victim into a complete badass, but she was changing the way we looked at female action heroes. It was always a shame we didn't see more of her in similar roles.

New Trailer For Todd Haynes' 'Wonderstruck' Explores A Mystery In Two Eras

If there's a drawback to debuting at Cannes it's that latter films take away some of the spotlight. That seems to be the case with Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck, which has been drowned out at Telluride and TIFF over the last few weeks. But the adaptation of Hugo author Brian Selznick's fantasy novel has some major appearances left, including the New York Film Festival, and if all goes well it will be back in the awards discussion soon.

Taking place in two separate eras, the film follows two children on separate life-changing adventures. Julianne Moore, Oakes Fegley, Michelle Williams, Jaden Michael and Millicent Simmonds star. Here is the official synopsis, which speaks to the ambitious narrative under Haynes' command:

Based on Brian Selznick’s critically acclaimed novel Ben and Rose are children from two different eras who secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known, while Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his home and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out on quests to find what they are missing that unfold with mesmerizing symmetry.

Wonderstruck opens October 20th.

'The Punisher' Trailer: Jon Bernthal Shoots On Sight

Geezus, thankfully the nearly daily deluge of terrible promos for The Punisher have led to SOMETHING. Not a firm release date, though, which still remains annoyingly unknown; but a brand new trailer featuring Jon Bernthal as the resident gun-toting vigilante of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The new footage unveils just a bit more about Frank Castle and his origin: happy family man sees violence take it all away in an instant. The spark of revenge ignited, Castle also uncovers a conspiracy that stretches beyond the criminal underworld. If the show is anything like the comic (or Batman), the truth behind the murder of Castle's family will be teased for years without any clear answers. But there will always be new goons to kill in a variety of different methods.

Featuring Deborah Ann Woll, Shohreh Aghadashloo, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Ben Barnes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Amber Rose Revah, Daniel Webber, Jason R. Moore, Paul Schulze, Jaime Ray Newman and Michael Nathanson, The Punisher arrives later this year.

Woody Allen Reveals New Images And Synopsis For 'Wonder Wheel'

We're starting to learn more about Woody Allen's upcoming film, Wonder Wheel, which he's been keeping under wraps. What we knew was that it starred Juno Temple, Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, and Jim Belushi in a 1950s-set story gangsters, infidelity, lovers, and larger-than-life characters. Vague? Definitely.  Well, the new synopsis helps shed some light on Allen's latest:

WONDER WHEEL tells the story of four characters whose lives intertwine amid the hustle and bustle of the Coney Island amusement park in the 1950s: Ginny (Kate Winslet), an emotionally volatile former actress now working as a waitress in a clam house; Humpty (Jim Belushi), Ginny’s rough-hewn carousel operator husband; Mickey (Justin Timberlake), a handsome young lifeguard who dreams of becoming a playwright; and Carolina (Juno Temple), Humpty’s long-estranged daughter, who is now hiding out from gangsters at her father’s apartment. Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro captures a tale of passion, violence, and betrayal that plays out against the picturesque tableau of 1950s Coney Island.

Well, there are definitely gangsters because there's Paulie Walnuts and Big Pussy from The Sopranos. Those guys don't play anything but mobsters, do they?

Wonder Wheel opens December 1st. Check out the latest images below.