Review: Proud Mary

Starring Taraji P. Henson

Review: Hostiles

Starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, and Wes Studi

Review: The Post

Starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks

Review: The Commuter

Starring Liam Neeson

Review: Paddington 2

Starring Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins, and More

1/16/2018

Jason Mitchell Is The New 'Superfly' In Director X's Remake


The 1972 blaxploitation film Super Fly remains one of the most divisive among the African-American community. The original starred Ron O'Neal as Priest Youngblood, a drug dealer looking to get out of the game, but not until he makes a big enough score to retire gracefully. Its glorification of drug dealers has been a bone of contention for some, while others saw it as a realistic view of what it took for black people to stand on their own at the time. I'm not sure how Sony plans to make their remake, now titled Superfly, relevant to today's standards but they're putting together a cast that makes me interested to find out.

Mudbound and Straight Outta Compton star Jason Mitchell will lead the film, to be directed by Hype Williams protege Director X. Trevor Jackson of comedies grown-ish and black-ish will co-star as Eddie, with Mitchell starring as Youngblood Priest.  The cast also includes ex Scott Davis as Georgia, Andrea Londo as Cynthia, Jacob Ming-Trent as Fat Freddy, and Omar Chapparo as Adalberto.

Between Proud Mary and the upcoming Shaft remake it's like blaxploitation is in style again, and I can see why. As a response to long-standing criticisms of Hollywood's lack of diversity, not to mention a certain racist sitting in the Oval Office, we're seeing black filmmakers revive a genre that produced some of our most iconic screen characters. I'm all for it as long as the movies have something fresh to add. [Deadline]

Punch Drunk DVDs: 'Blade Runner 2049', 'Happy Death Day', 'The Snowman', 'Loving Vincent', And More!

NEW THIS WEEK





The long awaited sequel to the cerebral sci-fi masterpeice Blade Runner, the brilliant new thriller 2049 stars Ryan Gosling as Officer K, a new blade runner who accidentally uncovers an intensely protected secret that could further destory our already fractured distopian society. Seeking the answers only he would know, K goes on a quest to find Deckard (original star Harrison Ford), who’s been missing since the events of the original film.

We Said: “When all is said and done, Blade Runner 2049 enhances Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, but also improves upon it. He has taken the seed planted by Scott, nurtured it, and now it has blossomed into one of the finest works of science-fiction ever. Does it answer every question we've been pondering all of these years? Of course not, but in all of its ruminations about the future, Blade Runner 2049 has opened up a future in which this franchise will continue to grow and evolve.” Rating: 4 out of 5





This new hit horror/comedy focuses on young, rich, and selfish sororotiy girl Tree, who finds herself inexplicably stuck in a time loop, repeating her birthday over and over again for no apparent reason. Further complicating matters, every version of the day ends with her being violently murdered by a masked killer. Stuck in time until she solves her own murder, Tree begins her hunt to stop whoever keeps killing her.

We Said: “While there are pretty big problems with the basic structure of the movie, they don’t detract too much from the overall fun and inventiveness of Happy Death Day. It’s a familiar concept, but still entirely its own incredibly strange movie. It’s a very special brand of odd that I haven’t seen in a mainstream movie for a very long time.” Rating: 3.5 out of 5





Michael Fassbender stars as washed-up detective Harry Hole in this adaptation of the acclaimed detective series of the same name. begrudgenly on the case of the “Snowman Killer”, a mass-murderer who turns his corpses into snowmen and taunts Hole every step of the way, Harry becomes bound to stopping the madman and his own demons before time runs out.  

We Said: “The unfortunate part is that The Snowman had all of the right pieces – super successful and popular source material, talented stars across the board, and the backing of major Hollywood players… yet it still managed to fall flat. I wanted to like this one, I really did, but I couldn’t even convince myself that I somewhat enjoyed it by the end.” Rating: 1.5 out of 5





A beautiful new film about the mysteries surrounding the life and death of troubled painter Vincent Van Gough, Loving Vincent is comprised of beautifully hand painted frames of animation in style of the beloved artist.

We Said: “Loving Vincent is a gorgeous, inventive work of art, but some will take more value from it than others. They say that art is in the eye of the beholder, and that certainly applies here..” Rating: 3 out of 5







Men's Rights Activist Removes Women From Edited Cut Of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'


Damn, and I thought some extremely entitled men cried their share of man-tears over Ghostbusters, I had no idea how far they would go to "own" Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  A men's rights activist has taken a bootleg copy of Rian Johnson's film and edited out every single female, every reference to females, anything that offends his delicate male sensibilities. The result is a 46-minute cut he's titled “The Last Jedi: De-Feminized Fanedit”, that he says is “basically The Last Jedi minus Girlz Powah and other silly stuff."

I can see this guy over on the fainting couch every time Haldo (Laura Dern) gave poor reckless Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) a tongue lashing. Yeah, he cuts all that out, too, which also has drastic ramifications for Poe, of course. He even cuts out other stuff that has nothing to do with women, although in one instance (Porgs as Chewbacca food) I fully support the change.

Here's a breakdown courtesy of Pedestrian:

“Cut out most shots showing female fighters/pilots and female officers commanding people around/having ideas.“

“NO HALDO (sic)! She simply doesn’t exist. Her whole subplot doesn’t exist. The Kamikaze is carried out by Poe. ( = Poe dies.)“

“Leia never scolds, questions nor demotes Poe. He is a respected and very skilled high-ranking member of the resistance.“

“When there’s a scene where a woman is cut in making some important statement that can be substituted by another statement by a guy, then she gets cut out. Works pretty well actually.“

“Wookie eats the Porg, or at least isn’t interrupted in trying to do so.“

“No green milk.” (What the [frick])

The edited movie was uploaded to The Pirate Bay and the anonymous user wants you to know his thoughts on it. Basically, he digs not having any girls in it (They have cooties, y'know) but he's sorta embarrassed by the technical aspects. Oh, you're embarrassed by THAT, eh?

Obviously it’s far from perfect. The source is not even on DVD-level. Some of the technical edits were slacked because why not, it’s a CAM source (e.g. some masks and Snoke disappearing). Sometimes there’s an extreme zoom despite the mediocre quality. There are plotholes and continuity errors and some cuts are not as smooth as they should be, especially audio transition-wise.

But for what it’s worth, it can now at least be viewed without feeling nauseaus about most of the terrible big and small decisions they made in this film. Also, at least the intro sequence is now very watchable and actually much cooler without all of Leia’s nitpicking. Now it’s all one united Resistance fighting without inner conflict and that’s much more satisfying to watch. Due to the extreme shortening, the whole movie is much more fast-paced now, at times unfortuantely also rushed due to a lack of usable filler footage.

If this piece of crap pops up somewhere within our reach we'll point you to it, but I ain't posting it on the site for obvious reasons. One, every woman I know will smack me in the face. Second, I'm not drawing the ire of Lucasfilm.  At least one man, Rian Johnson, can see the humor in all this:

'Love, Simon' Trailer: Nick Robinson Seeks A Great Love Story


The new film Love, Simon from Arrowverse head honcho Greg Berlanti has a lot on its shoulders. There are plenty of movies that attempt to capture the whirlwind of emotions that come with discovering one's sexuality. Barry Jenkins' Moonlight is an example of doing it the right way and telling a unique story at the same time. Berlanti's film also deals with the issue of coming out, and being true to the emotions that accompany such a monumental moment in a teenager's life.

Nick Robinson stars in the adaptation of  Becky Albertalli's book about 17-year-old Simon Spier, who struggles to come out to his friends and family, while he also tries to find the anonymous teenager he met online and has fallen hard for. There's also another student who knows Simon's secret, and is threatening to reveal it to the whole school. 

The trailer teases some of the heavy stuff we'd expect, but I like that Berlanti has found a nice mix with the funny moments that are a part of being a high school kid.  I'm expecting big things from this, maybe on the level of The Fault In Our Stars, with buzz similar to 12 Reasons Why.  Speaking of which, that Netflix hit's star, Katherine Langford, is featuring prominently in the trailers for a reason. The audience is there, that much is undeniable.

Love, Simon opens March 16th and co-stars  Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Miles Heizer, Keiynan Lonsdale, Logan Miller, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, and Tony Hale.

'Don't Worry He Won't Get Far On Foot' Trailer: Joaquin Phoenix Is A Controversial Cartoonist


On this week's episode of Cinema Royale, Joblo.com's Chris Bumbray and I briefly talked about Gus Van Sant's latest, Don't Worry He Won't Get Far On Foot, which is about to have its world premiere at Sundance. The Park City festival has become the go-to spot for potential Best Picture contenders (Call Me By Your Name, Manchester by the Sea, The Big Sick, Get Out, and Mudbound in the last two years), and clearly those are the designs for Van Sant's film, as well. But we both admitted Van Sant has a spotty track record of late, so it's far from a sure thing.

The trailer certainly looks as if Van Sant is back on the upswing.  Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, and Jonah Hill star in this look at cartoon John Callahan, who was paralyzed in an accident at the age of 21, sought help for his alcoholism, and discovered a gift for drawing edgy cartoons that would bring him fame and controversy.

Van Sant hasn't made a really good movie since Milk, so he's long overdue. He's put together the right cast to break the slump, and this looks like a terrific leading role for Phoenix, one that may earn him some notices later in the year. We might be saying the same thing for Hill, who continues to impress in dramatic supporting performances.

Don't Worry He Won't Get Far On Foot premieres at Sundance on January 19th and in theaters on May 11th. Fingers crossed I make it into the screening in a few days because this is going to be a popular pick.

James Mangold And Elle Fanning's Patty Hearst Biopic Axed By Fox


Suddenly the story of kidnap victim-turned-terrorist Patty Hearst is popular again. Not only does CNN have a docu-series about her on the way, but last month we learned James Mangold would direct Elle Fanning in an adaptation of American Heiress, Jeffrey Toobin's book about Hearst. Well, you can scratch that one. So soon after it was announced, 20th Century Fox have decided to cancel  Mangold's film.

The decision follows criticism from Hearst herself, who blasted Toobin and his book that she says “romanticizes my rape and torture and calls my abduction a ‘rollicking adventure’ ”. She has taken CNN to task for their upcoming series, which is also based on Toobin's book but at this point is still scheduled to debut on February 11th. 

As for the movie, it would have been penned by Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander (The People vs. Larry Flynt) and tell the story of Hearst, granddaughter to newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, and her kidnapping in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army. She would become famous, or infamous, when it appeared she had joined her captives and was committing crimes alongside them.

Hopefully this gives Mangold the space to complete any of the handful of projects he's got piling up, such as an adaptation of Don Winslow's The Force, and a potential Logan spinoff featuring X-23. [THR]

'Creed 2' Casts Romanian Boxer Florian Munteanu As Ivan Drago's Son


For months Sylvester Stallone has been teasing Creed 2 as a return for Ivan Drago, the Russian boxer who killed Apollo Creed in Rocky 4. Apollo's death would not only serve as motivation for Rocky Balboa to get payback in the ensuing fight, but later would also drive Apollo's son, Adonis, to become a championship fighter. While a couple of names have been mentioned as possibilities to play the son of Ivan Drago, because there's no way Dolph Lundgren is getting back in the ring at his age, nobody had confirmed for the role until now. And this dude, who I've never heard of and never seen before in my life, is a true monster of the squared circle.

Romanian boxer Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu has been cast as Drago's son, according to The Tracking Board and Stallone himself. Homie is a straight up bruiser, 6'4" and 245 lbs and I'm guessing not a lot of body fat. This guy has more abs than I have hairs on my face. He doesn't even look like a boxer, he looks like a pro wrestler who should be powerbombing dudes through tables like Braun Strowman. Take a peek at this workout montage which looks like it was ripped straight out of a previous Rocky movie...



So I'm supposed to believe Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Creed can beat this guy? I'm guessing this will be the classic speed vs. strength matchup with a storyline to match. That's up to screenwriter Cheo Hodari Coker (Luke Cage) to figure out, but I'm guessing the cocky, headstrong Adonis will want to slug it out and Rocky will spend the movie trying to convince him how stupid that is.

I can already see Tessa Thompson at ringside screaming like Talia Shire as Adonis gets pummeled from post to post.

Directed by Steven Caple Jr., Creed 2 opens November 21st.


How Chewbacca Was Key To Lucasfilm Changing 'Star Wars' Continuity


When Lucasfilm was bought by Disney a few years ago, they made a decision that split the Star Wars fanbase in half. They decided to chuck all of the years of Expanded Universe stories that had been told in novels, video games, cartoons, and other forms of media. It was a smart move; while there were some great stories told there was also a lot of crap. And Star Wars needed a fresh, lean start for The Force Awakens.

But was there another reason to trim the EU fat, so to speak? Star Wars guru Lucasfilm Story Group member Leland Chee, the guy who manages The Holocron, the complete Star Wars database, says Chewbacca is was a driving reason for the change. For those who don't know, Chewie was killed by the Yuzhan Vong in the 1999 novel Vector Prime, and Lucasfilm saw a chance to bring him back to life as too good to pass up...

"For me it came down to simply that we had killed Chewbacca in the Legends — a big moon had fallen on him. Part of that [original decision] was Chewbacca, because he can’t speak and just speaks in growls, he was a challenging character to write for in novels. Publishing had decided they needed to kill somebody, and it was Chewbacca."

"But if you have the opportunity to bring back Chewbacca into a live action film, you’re not gonna deprive fans that. There’s no way that I’d want to do an Episode VII that didn’t have Chewbacca in it and have to explain that Chewbacca had a moon fall on his head. And if we were going to overturn a monumental decision like that, everything else was really just minor in comparison."

There was certainly a lot more to it than that, but it's hard to argue that we would have been bummed to see Han in the Millennium Falcon without his furry pal in the co-pilot seat. Of course, they ended up killing Han anyway, but at least it became a moment we all experienced and not something that was just written about in a book from twenty years ago. [SyFy]

1/15/2018

Rumor: Warner Bros. "Sour" On Ben Affleck's Batman; Update On Matt Reeves' Bat-Film


I think I've reached critical mass on The Batman rumors. Is Ben Affleck in? Or is he out? Is Matt Reeves' film part of continuity, or not? Until Warner Bros. and DC Films make something official, this will be my last update on it for a while. Fortunately, this update attempts to answer both of the major remaining questions.

Hot on the heels of yesterday's story that The Batman would be outside of the DCEU, and that Ben Affleck's Batman would be written out in Flashpoint or something, brand new nerd site Revenge of the Fans say they've got the real scoop from their own group of WB insiders. Take it with a serious helping of salt.

According to their story, an inside source told them “Batman is DC proper. Reeves’ Batman is connected. Just its own story.” when asked about Reeves' film.

Another insider reportedly told them “None of these Batman rumors are true. Reeves Batman is DC films.”  

The "Just its own story" comment echoes what Reeves said last summer after there was some confusion and fan backlash to assertions it would be non-continuity. What it sounds like is Reeves will make his movie how he wants, and there just won't be any easter eggs tying into Justice League or even alluding to other events in the DCEU. I think this is probably the best way to go to avoid audience confusion, although that could be messed up anyway by the next rumor.

Apparently Warner Bros. is "sour" on Ben Affleck as Batman, and the job is Jake Gyllenhaal's if Affleck opts out of his contract. The problem is that he still has a deal in place, so nothing can really be done unless he decides to split.  We could see Affleck stick around to fulfill the terms of his contract, which would probably put him in The Batman, only to be written out in Flashpoint or Suicide Squad 2.

So there you have it. And I'm done until Warner Bros. gets their shit together.

'The Boy Downstairs' Trailer: Zosia Mamet In What Looks Like A 'Girls' Spinoff


Now that Girls is over with, Zosia Mamet appears to have stumbled into a film that puts her in the position of playing Hannah. The Boy Downstairs marks the directorial debut of Sophie Brooks, and finds Mamet as Diana, a young New Yorker and writer who returns to the city for a fresh start in her new apartment. The problem? Her ex-boyfriend lives in the building below. And he's got a girlfriend. And stuff gets awkward. Hannah awkward, like trying to be friends but really just stalking outside his window awkward.

The film co-stars Matthew Shear (Mistress America) as Diana's ex-boyfriend Ben, joined by Sarah Ramos, Deirde O'Connell, and Diane Irvine. My interest in this is solely about Mamet, who went from my least favorite actress on Girls to the only one I cared about by the end. I don't know where her career goes from there, though, but I hope indie rom-coms is just a starting point and not the finish.

The Boy Downstairs opens in NYC on February 16th and in L.A. on February 23rd.