Review: The Mercy

Starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz

Review: Anna and the Apocalypse

Zombie Christmas Musical Delivers Holiday Cheer

Review: Ben is Back

Starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges

Review: Vox Lux

Starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law, and Stacy Martin

Review: Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

Directed by Andy Serkis

12/11/2018

DC Readers: Attend Tonight's Free Screening Of 'Mortal Engines'


We're happy to offer our DC readers the chance to attend tonight's free advance screening of Mortal Engines, the epic adventure from director Christian Rivers and Peter Jackson with the Oscar-winning team behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy!

SYNOPSIS: Hundreds of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved.  Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns.  Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan)—who hails from a Lower Tier of the great traction city of London—finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar).  Two opposites, whose paths should never have crossed, forge an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future.  

The screening takes place tonight at 7:00pm at AMC Georgetown. The first 20 readers to send an email to punchdrunktrav@gmail.com with your full name will win an Admit-Two pass to the event. All winners will be notified by email! These will go quickly so don't waste time! See you tonight!

Mortal Engines hits theaters on December 14th!

Amy Adams Thinks Her Lois Lane Days Are Over, Jason Momoa On Affleck And Cavill's DCEU Exits


They may not come right out and say it, but Warner Bros. is clearly moving away from the Zack Snyder era. There's been a concerted effort to lighten the tone of films like Aquaman and Shazam, while stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill appear to be on the way out. And now another A-lister who helped build the DCEU, Amy Adams, thinks her time as Lois Lane is up.

Speaking with Nicole Kidman as part of Variety's "Actors on Actors" series (you should be checking those out, btw), Adams says she believes they moving on from her as Superman's main squeeze...

“I think I’m out of the DC Universe now. I think they’re revamping that. I don’t know the details.”

That doesn't sound like any kind of confirmation, but it would make sense. If Cavill is indeed out, it would be strange for his supporting cast not to change, as well. With a Supergirl film in the works we may see the focus shifting to a different Kryptonian hero, and with her a different cast of characters.


If the DCEU is moving forward, one person who is okay with it is Jason Momoa. Shocker. The guy has a "go with the flow attitude" that is pretty infectious, and that he has brought to his portrayal of Aquaman.  Speaking with HuffPo, Momoa is totally cool if Affleck and Cavill have decided to make their exit...

“If they’re both out, then listen: It’s just the place they’re at in their careers. I mean, how many has Henry done? He’s done three? Yeah, I mean, like, you want to move on. I think if I did… shit, I have done three.”

“I mean, Henry wants to just expand on something. Ben is an amazing director that is of age, and probably he’s done enough. I don’t know how to speak on behalf of them, but I had the time of my life [on ‘Justice League’].”

Momoa has one film left on his contract but it sounds like he would sign on for more if asked. If Aquaman does well you can bet Warner Bros. will come calling.

Jodie Foster Will Direct And Star In Remake Of Icelandic Eco-Thriller 'Woman At War'


These days Jodie Foster spends more time behind the camera than in front of it, and she occasionally stars in the movies she directs. Her last film, Money Monster, kinda came and went without making much noise, but her next directorial effort will come with a Cannes pedigree that should afford it some extra attention.

Foster will direct, produce, and star in a remake of Cannes Award winner, Woman at War. The original film starred Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir as a choir conductor whose pastime includes damaging a nearby aluminum plant she believes is harming the environment. When an application to adopt a child internationally is suddenly approved, it happens just as the government is ramping up attention on her illegal activities.

The film was Iceland's selection for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Academy Awards.

Obviously, there will need to be changes. The subject matter is right in Foster's wheelhouse, so she's moving the setting from Iceland to the American West.

No word on a start date, but here are Foster's words about the news...

“This movie thrilled me beyond words. I am so excited to helm a new American imagining of this relevant, beautiful, inspiring story. The character of Halla is a warrior for the planet, a strong woman who risks it all to do the right thing. But not without some serious mishaps along the way.”

“I can’t wait to play her. I’m always drawn to a bold and quirky mixture of humor and emotion. This one speaks for our time. It is an honor to take the reins from the talented director Benedikt Erlingsson and his producing partner Marianne Slot.”

Review: 'Mary Queen Of Scots', Saoirse Ronan And Margot Robbie Rule In A Timely And Feminist Royal Drama


Following the breakdancing antics and wild palace intrigue of The Favourite could make any royal drama seem tame by comparison, Josie Rourke's directorial debut Mary Queen of Scots shows a ferocity to match its two regal subjects. A surprisingly timely, feminist tale for two women who died centuries prior, the film stars Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart and Margot Robbie as her cousin across the pond, Queen Elizabeth I, and a battle for the crown that would consume them both. It's a fresh, relevant take on figures who have filled up thousands of history books, and one of the most surprising films of the year.

How much of this story is historically accurate is best left to the historians to decide, but the source material, John Guy's novel Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart, posits that Mary and Elizabeth were more than just long-distance rivals. You might call them frenemies, playing at friendship while keeping an eye closely trained on the other. Gorgeous production design nearly distracts you from the grim opening sequence as Mary prepares to meet her death at the business end of an executioner's axe, but before the blade falls we're whisked back on to the path that led to this moment. The young, beautiful, crimson-haired Mary has returned to Scotland as their rightful Queen following the death of her husband. It's 1561, and after years spent in France she now faces resistance at home. Some of it comes from within her own ranks and family, while some is external. The fiery Protestant cleric John Knox (an unrecognizable David Tennant, under heavy beard) has a particular disdain, calling her a "scourge" for being a "woman with a crown."  Heaven forbid.


Some wish the teenaged Mary to abdicate her throne and cede power to her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, who is also facing pressure from men wishing to control her every move. Fiercely determined to remain unmarried, despite her handsome lover Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn, everywhere it seems) by her side, Elizabeth instead decides to keep Mary in the fold, so to speak. Both strong-willed women keep close contact, or the best they can from long distance using one oft-frustrated emissary, but despite their expressions of love there is a bubbling tension as Mary desires to be seen as an equal, while Elizabeth sees her as a subject.

As the title suggests, Mary Queen of Scots is mostly about Mary and her struggles to retain power in a world dominated by cutthroat men. She finds a sympathetic ear in Elizabeth who is undergoing similar problems, but the two women are fascinating in their different approaches. Mary's femininity is both her strength and a curse, while Elizabeth has practically shed every womanly instinct to be as aggressive and ruthless as the men around her. Both women are prone to giving in to their whims and acting out of impulse, sometimes with violence, but I like that Beau Willimon's screenplay rejects turning either into a villainess. The effort to be sympathetic to both is a problem when bringing the film to satisfying close, however. Crucial events are ignored that would cast them in a negative light, and by doing so it causes the final moments to make considerably less sense.


Ronan is the film's electric heart, with a commanding presence that would make us all want to bow down to her. It's unfortunate she shares so little actual screen time with Robbie (whether Mary or Elizabeth had any clandestine meeting is in dispute) because they radiate strength and feminine power in the brief moments they do. Other aspects of the film are exactly what one would expect from a big budget royal period piece, such as lavish costume and production design only equaled by the makeup and hair. Rourke, whose background is in British theatre, shows a surprisingly cinematic touch with her big screen debut, suggesting a promising future behind the camera.  While this may seem like well-worn material, Rourke shows with Mary Queen of Scots there is always a different perspective deserving of its time to rule.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5

No 'Transformers' Reboot, But The Franchise Will See Changes


Paramount's Bumblebee is such a gear shift from the Michael Bay-directed movies that it could almost be considered a soft reboot of the franchise. But reports earlier this year suggested an actual reboot may take place in the near future, although none of that was ever confirmed. Now producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura tells Slashfilm that at a full reboot isn't in the cards, but don't expect the next film to be the same ol' Transformers you've been seeing...

"Reboot, I always hate that word because for one, I'm not sure I really understand what it means. We are going to do another big Transformers movie. It is going to be different than the ones that we've done before."

So what does that mean exactly? Well, one of the things Bumblebee does really well is tell a smaller story, with only three actual Transformers playing critical roles: Bumblebee, and the Decepticons known as Dropkick and Shatter. It shows that you can tell a self-contained Transformers story that may be easier for audiences to connect with...

I think we've learned something in this movie about tone that I would think the next big Transformers movie is going to have. It's not like we're going to copy it but we've learned something. There's more freedom than I think we originally thought in terms of what we can do.

It was also a very big change just having Travis Knight behind the camera rather than Michael Bay. The approach was different, the look was different, and it felt like a completely different movie.

But if there is a reboot that would mean leaving things off with a pretty big cliffhanger. Transformers: The Last Knight ended with Quintessa surviving and taking human form, and agreeing to help scientists destroy Unicron. But we may see that entire plotline dropped because di Bonaventura says he has no interest in Unicron as a character...

“I’m not a fan of Unicron. It’s too big. It’s so big it’s beyond any sort of relatable thing I think, for me personally. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to be in the series someday. I don’t know that I’ve thought much about it honestly because we’ve been focused on this movie.”

Bumblebee hits theaters on December 21st.

12/10/2018

Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Chris Rock, And More Join Sally Potter's Next Film


After last year's dark comedy The Party earned some of the best reviews of her career, Sally Potter is moving quickly on her next film. While there's no title yet, all we really need to know is the cast: Javier Bardem, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Laura Linney, and Elle Fanning.  Sign me up.

Production has begun on Potter's untitled film, which is led by Bardem and Fanning as a father and daughter as she deals with his crumbling mental state. The story takes place over 24 hours in New York City, with the rest of the cast figures in the father's many parallel lives. Okay, this is weird. Here's the synopsis:

The untitled drama follows 24 turbulent hours in the life of father and daughter Leo (Bardem) and Molly (Fanning) as she grapples with the challenges of dealing with her father’s apparently chaotic mental state. But as they weave their way around New York City, their ordinary but stressful day takes on a hallucinatory and epic quality, for Leo is seamlessly flowing in and out of several parallel lives; a passionate marriage with his childhood sweetheart Dolores (Hayek) in Mexico; a struggling career as a drummer in Manhattan with his more successful lover, Adam (Rock); and a life of solitude on a remote Greek island, where a chance encounter with two young tourists unmasks some uncomfortable truths…

It's still too early for a release date, but 2020 seems like a good bet.

'The Umbrella Academy' Trailer: Netflix's Superhero Series Is Like The X-Men, Only Way Weirder


With Netflix's Marvel deal winding down, there's a need for a new superhero series to fill the void. And if you aren't going to have Marvel or DC, you could do far worse than a comic book adaptation of Gerard Way's The Umbrella Academy, which is like the X-Men only way weirder.

The first trailer for the series has arrived, featuring Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige, Robert Sheehan, and Tom Hopper.  The premise is strange and clunky, but trust me it pays off. In 1989, 43 random women suddenly give birth without showing any signs of pregnancy. Seven of those children, many of which have superhuman powers, were adopted by reclusive billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves, and trained to save the world. But the team fractured, only to reform years later upon news of Hargreeves' death. 

The team consists of Spaceboy (Tom Hopper), The Kraken (David Castañeda), The Rumor (Emmy Raver-Lampman), The Seance (Robert Sheehan), Number Five (Aidan Gallagher), and The White Violin (Ellen Page). How badass is it that Mary J. Blige is playing time-traveling assassin, Cha-Cha? Pretty damned badass, if you ask me. Her uber-violent partner Hazel is played by Mindhunter's Cameron Britton.  Kate Walsh of 13 Reasons Why and Private Practice also has a recurring role.

The Umbrella Academy hits Netflix on Feburary 15th 2019. 

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


We've seen plenty of movies about legendary crime couple Bonnie & Clyde, but what about the law who was on the tail? Netflix has dropped the first image of Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson in The Highwaymen, in which they play the Texas Rangers who eventually cornered and killed the couple.

The film is directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), but it's the duo of Harrelson and Costner who are going to be the big draw here. Costner plays Frank Hamer with Harrelson as Maney Gault, Texas Rangers who use old school detective work when the FBI's forensics and technology fail to do the job in catching Bonnie & Clyde. The rest of the cast includes Kim Dickens, Kathy Bates, John Carroll Lynch, William Sadler, and Thomas Mann as Ted Hinton, the youngest member of the posse.

The Highwaymen hits Netflix on March 29th.

DC Readers: Attend A Free Screening Of 'Vice' Starring Christian Bale


We're happy to offer our DC readers the chance to attend a free advance screening of Adam McKay's Vice, starring Christian Bale as former Vice President Dick Cheney.

SYNOPSIS: VICE explores the story of Dick Cheney (CHRISTIAN BALE), a bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as vice president to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today. Directed and written by Adam McKay, VICE Stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Tyler Perry, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe and Jesse Plemons.

The screening takes place on Thursday, December 13th at 7:00pm at AMC Mazza Gallerie. If you'd like to attend, register at the Annapurna ticketing site here. Please remember all screenings are first come first served and having passes does not guarantee entry. You will need to arrive early to ensure receiving a seat. Enjoy the show!

Vice hits theaters this Christmas.

Emmet Throws A Christmas Bash In A 'Lego Movie 2' Short Film


If anybody could take the apocalypse in stride, it's Emmet from The Lego Movie. As we've seen in prior trailers for The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, everything is definitely not awesome in Bricksburg. In fact, it's now called Apocalypseburg thanks to the Duplo invasion which has thrown the town into doom and chaos.

So in the new short film Emmet's Holiday Party, the Master Builder takes it upon himself to spread some Christmas cheer and decorate a tree so big you can see it from space. Turns out that wasn't the brightest of ideas, especially when you're trying to stay under the radar from alien invaders.

It's a cute way to celebrate the holiday season and better than simply dropping another trailer. We don't need another of those.  The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part opens February 8th 2019 with the voices of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Tiffany Haddish, Will Arnett, Stephanie Beatriz, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Maya Rudolph, and Arturo Castro.