Review: BlacKkKlansman

Directed by Spike Lee

Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, and Forrest Goodluck

Review: The Meg

Starring Jason Statham

Review: Slender Man

Directed by Sylvain White

Review: A Prayer Before Dawn

Starring Joe Cole


Box Office: 'Crazy Rich Asians' Scores Crazy Good $34M, 'Mile 22' Comes Up Short With $13M

1. Crazy Rich Asians (review)- $25.2M/$34M
They say you have to vote with your dollars, and while audiences don't always turn out for the movies they say they want, they definitely turned out for Crazy Rich Asians. The adaptation of Kevin Kwan's bestselling novel and first major film to feature an all-Asian cast earned $25M over the weekend, which is great. But it actually opened on Wednesday and earned $34M overall, which is even better. The $30M film doesn't have a lot of star power to rely on, and that's fine because the ensemble is the real hook in this case. And with this debut it should be a solid domestic earner before it ever hits wider international territories. Get ready for the rest of the book series to find their way on screen now.
2. The Meg- $21.1M/$83.7M
The Meg had a 53% bite taken out of it in week two, but still earned $21M for $83M domestic. As expected, overseas is where the biggest damage is being done, and the shark film has $314M worldwide already.
3. Mile 22 (review)- $13.6M
Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg may love working together, but their movies don't make any movie. Action flick Mile 22, the kind of star-powered old school action movie that doesn't get made much anymore, opened with just $13.6M, which is kinda sad given the cast. Wahlberg is joined by MMA/WWE star Ronda Rousey, The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan, John Malkovich, and The Raid's Iko Uwais; a formidable group if there ever was one but audiences didn't care. This is a slightly better debut than Berg and Wahlberg's Patriots Day ($11M), but well short of the $20M start for Deepwater Horizon. The only one of their collaborations to really score was Lone Survivor, which opened at $35M on the way to $154M worldwide.  I don't know what this means for the planned sequel and VR followup, but probably not good things.
4. Mission: Impossible-Fallout- $10.5M/$180.7M
5. Alpha (review)- $10.5M
I hoped for the best for the prehistoric survival thriller Alpha, which is genuinely really good, but the $10.5M opening is not a good start. The $60M film starred Kodi Smit-Mcphee as a young hunter who survives an ice age and a trek home with the help of a wolf companion. This was never going to be huge but it could have done better than this, which is probably why Sony started playing up the "man's best friend" angle. I don't want international plans are but it may fare better elsewhere.
6. Disney's Christopher Robin- $8.8M/$66.8M
7. BlacKkKlansman- $7M/$23M
The buzz continues to build for Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman, which has now earned $23M in two weeks. The $15M film is riding some of the same wave that powered Jordan Peele's Get Out (he's a producer on BlacKkKlansman as well), and could see a spike if it gets re-released during awards season, which I expect it will.
8. Slender Man- $4.9M/$20.7M
9. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation- $3.6M/$153.8M
10. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again- $3.3M/$111.2M

Dave Bautista Is Still Spitting Fire At Disney For Firing James Gunn

One of the things I loved about Dave Bautista during his time in the WWE was that he couldn't hide anything. When he was unhappy about how things were going, you knew it, and being vocal is not something most superstars are willing to do while working under Vince McMahon. And I'm happy to see that Bautista hasn't changed a bit since becoming a superstar, even while under the employ of the powerful House of Disney.

Disney has reaffirmed their decision to fire James Gunn, and the director won't be coming back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Bautista has been pissed about this since the beginning and has made that clear, repeatedly, and he struck back one last time in an inflammatory tweet that even channels Donald Trump...

Ouch. The reference to Trump's signature slogan is an obvious callback to the right-wing trolls who made Gunn a target and dug up some old tweets he had long since apologized for unprompted. Regardless of how the whole thing started, it's clear Bautista is still upset and this could be an issue down the road if he continues to spout off. Combine that with the film's lack of a director and this could prove to be one of the bumpiest productions Marvel's had.

'The Last Sharknado: It's About Time' Trailer Has Sharks Vs. Dinosaurs

Somehow, SyFy's ridiculous, atrocious Sharknado franchise has survived five years, becoming an annual rite of passage in a sense. With each film the already-absurd premise grows crazier and the list of "celebrity" stars grows crappier, but the time has finally come to say goodbye. The sixth movie's title says it all, The Last Sharknado: It's About Time will be the fishy finale, and they are pulling out all of the stops.

As if things couldn't get more absurd, this movie is literally "about time", as it involves time travel into the past and future. Not only do we see flying sharknados in the prehistoric era, but we see dragon sharks in the age of Merlin (with Judah Friedlander as some kind of sharknado-knight or something) and robotic sharks in the far-flung future. Know what else is in the future? An army of Tara Reid clones, with Vivica A. Fox's character droning deadpan, "It's Planet of the Aprils".  Whomp whomp.

Yeah, this thing looks as terrible a the rest, but you know what? Its premise isn't that far off from shit we see from major Hollywood studios. Minus the sharknados, of course. What's Ian Ziering going to do when this is all over? 

Probably star in the next Sharknado movie, because nobody believes this is truly the end, right?

SYNOPSIS: All is lost, or is it? Fin unlocks the time-traveling power of the SHARKNADOS in order to save the world and resurrect his family. In his quest, Fin fights Nazis, dinosaurs, knights, and even takes a ride on Noah’s Ark. This time, it’s not how to stop the sharknados, it’s when.

The Last Sharknado: It's About Time hits SyFy tonight, August 19th at 8pm EST.


HBO Picks Up Damon Lindelof's 'Watchmen' For A Full Season

Well, it looks like all of Damon Lindelof's begging for fans to give his Watchmen series a shot has won HBO over. The network has given his "remix" of the classic graphic novel a full season order.

Lindelof is best known for his work on Lost and HBO's The Leftovers, and he says we shouldn't expect a straight remake or sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' comic, which follows the investigation into a series of superhero murders in an alternate version of America. It deconstructed the superhero genre at a time when it was in desperate need of a shake-up. Zack Snyder previously adapted Watchmen into a rigidly faithful live-action film that polarized fans. Personally, I think it's Snyder's best work and one of the best comic book movies around, but what he did there will have no impact on Lindelof's approach. 

Starring in this new Watchmen will be Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, and Louis Gossett Jr. Look for it to debut some time in 2019. [Variety]


Review: 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before', Lana Condor Shines In Netflix's Best Teen Rom-Com Yet

“I write a letter when I have a crush so intense that I don’t know what else to do,” says Lara Jean Covey in Susan Johnson's delightful teen rom-com To All the Boys I've Loved Before, another win in the genre for Netflix. Lara Jean is a romantic, a hopeless one at that; she dreams of having the kind of romance you see in movies and read about in cheesy novels. Naturally, she's going to get all of the boy trouble she can handle soon enough, but what makes this movie special is that it isn't so much about which boy she chooses, but what Lara Jean learns about herself in making that choice.

Lara Jean is played by Lana Condor, best known for playing Jubilee in the most recent X-Men movie. When Lara Jean starts talking about her letters, written to the five boys she's had the biggest crushes on, we know they're destined to get out. And sure enough they are, which causes Lara Jean all sorts of problems. One goes to her best friend and literal boy next door, Josh (Israel Broussard), who just so happens to be the ex-boyfriend of her older sister Margot (Janel Parrish), who has just left for college.  While three of the letters are pretty harmless, one goes to Peter (Noah Centineo), the handsome and athletic former boyfriend to her school nemesis, Gen (Emilija Baranac).

After literally fainting from the humiliaton, Lara Jean and Peter hatch a classic teeny-bopper plot to fool everyone into thinking they're a couple. That way Peter can make Gen jealous enough to take him back, and Lara Jean can finally get Josh to see her as more than a friend. Are we sure John Hughes didn't write this? Should we expect Patrick Dempsey to come riding over the hill in his lawnmower?

I appreciate that screenwriter Sofia Alvarez, adapting the popular novel by Jenny Han, doesn't dwell on the mystery of who sent Lara Jean's letters. It doesn't really matter, and would take the focus off where it needs to be, which is on her feelings now, not what they were before. Of course, her feelings now lead to some confusing mishaps and questions of the heart, but the film doesn't treat these things as a joke. It takes Lara Jean's feelings seriously into account, whether she's angsting over boys or dealing with issues at home. As the mixed-race middle daughter of a widowed father (the always-welcome John Corbett), Lara Jean has concerns that go beyond her latest case of puppy love.

Unabashedly beholden to the works of John Hughes, To All the Boys I've Loved Before also isn't afraid to recognize how much times have changed since then. When Lara Jean forces Peter to watch Sixteen Candles they both react to the offensive Asian stereotype that is Long Duk Dong.  Interestingly, Lara Jean's Korean heritage is never really a factor; not that it absolutely needs to be, but it does get some mention in Han's novels, of which this film is based on the first two of the trilogy.

From top to bottom there's a great young cast of rising stars. Broussard, who some may recognize from Bling Ring, is down to earth and likable. Centineo is incredibly magnetic as Peter, and together he and Condor have an easy chemistry that should stifle any Team Josh supporters out there. But the breakout star is Condor, who as Lara Jean is charming and funny, with an awkward wit that is undeniable. Lara Jean is shy, but Peter helps break her out of that shell. Their connection feels genuine, whether they are gleefully enjoying their fake relationship or arguing because it's starting to get too real.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before doesn't set out to break the mold, but by staying true to its characters and the mixed-up feelings of youth, it improves on what so many films before it have gotten wrong.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Donald Trump Tried To Talk 'Apocalypse Now' And Got It Spectacularly Wrong

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning". That classic line, said by Robert Duvall in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, is one we've all probably repeated at one point or another, and made it part of our lexicon. Even those who have never seen the war movie know it, but apparently Donald Trump? Well, he don't know shit about it. Not that you can convince him of his ignorance.

In a bizarre story from early in his *shudder* administration, Trump and newfound nemesis Omarosa Manigault-Newman were hosting a meeting with military veterans and the discussion turned to helping vets with specific issues, with one bringing up those affected by deadly herbicide Agent Orange. Trump then asked if Agent Orange was "that stuff from the movie", and eventually it became clear that he was talking about the napalm in Apocalypse Now that Duvall's character was referring to.

The vets tried to explain the difference, but Trump being Trump he wouldn't listen to those who actually know more than him...which is just about everybody on the damned planet.  Here's a breakdown of it courtesy of The Daily Beast...

Trump refused to accept that he was mistaken and proceeded to say things like, “no, I think it’s that stuff from that movie.”

One clue belying the president’s insistence is that the famous Robert Duvall line from the scene in Apocalypse Now, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” is not “I love the smell of Agent Orange in the morning.”

He then went around the room polling attendees about if it was, in fact, napalm or Agent Orange in the famous scene from “that movie,” as the gathering—organized to focus on important, sometimes life-or-death issues for veterans—descended into a pointless debate over Apocalypse Now that the president simply would not concede, despite all the available evidence.

Eventually Trump's questioning got around to the original vet who asked the question, and he again told him that it was napalm, and that the film was hardly an advocate for war veterans. Trump couldn't handle being wrong so he decided to be a dick and replied, “Well, I think you just didn’t like the movie", as if the soldier had some sort of axe to grind.

It's okay to totally fuck up a pop culture reference or miss the point of something; I do it all the time. But I think this anecdote involving one of the greatest war films ever tells us everything we need to know about the guy currently sitting in the White House. Not only did Trump feel the need to try and school military veterans when he has earned the nickname "Cadet Bone Spurs" for his draft-dodging efforts, but he apparently thinks they come to official meetings to talk about shit they saw in a 40-year-old movie.

Retro Rewind: 'Blade'

“Some motherf@*kers are always trying to ice skate uphill”

Any film that includes a quote so undeniably awesome was destined to become a classic. At the time, no one could have guessed it but 20 years ago this week the movie world was unquestionably changed forever. Blade, which hit theaters August 20th, 1998, was the pebble whose ripples eventually became the tidal wave of comic-book movies we have today. The start of the modern comic book era is often credited to X-Men (2000) but the truth of the matter is that without Blade, X-Men never gets the green light. The mid to late 90’s were a perilous time for comic book properties, books weren’t selling that well and after 1997’s Batman and Robin it looked like superhero based films had seen their last premier date. Enter writing icon in the making David S. Goyer, who pitched the idea to New Line Cinema with only one person in mind for the lead….Wesley Snipes. Snipes, ironically enough, became involved in the film because he was in talks with Marvel about a Black Panther movie. Side note, this is the other major oversight when people talk about firsts in the comic book world, sorry T’Challa you were amazing, Blade was the first African-American led superhero film. Snipes has been quoted s saying he didn’t know who Blade was at first, but just knew he’d get to do martial arts in a leather outfit…he wasn’t wrong.

Blade wasn’t satisfied in breaking new ground just in terms of comic-book movies, the movie made strides in Vampire lore, blurred genre lines, and was one of the first big movies to use a full CGI effect (thought the results are debatable). At the end of the day, while all of this is notable, it’s not what made the movie a surprise hit. Blade is cool, not just cool the man is frigid and I don't think anyone could have done this the way Snipes did, he fit the character like he was born to play it and took it seriously where many actors wouldn't have, again in 1998 comic book movies were not viewed as the pinnacle of a career that they are today. His all black outfit, leather trench coat, crazy haircut, tribal tattoo’s (which later became all the rage), martial arts mastery and bad-ass weaponry was more than any of us was fully prepared for. Whether you are a mall ninja or not EVERYONE though his sword was cool, and that defense mechanism that takes your hand off if you don’t know how to deactivate it? Astounding. Therefore, on his 20th birthday we come to say thank your Daywalker for starting us down the road to the comic book heaven we live in today, I can only hope that there is a worthy adaptation on its way for you…a Netflix series at least! If you need any more proof that this movie is worthy of it’s iconic status I present the Vampire Dance Club scene which opened the movie and showed us right from jump street what we were in for, to this day the song played is the only techno song most people from the 90’s remember.

Glenn Close Talks Scarlett Johansson Trans Casting Controversy

There's a good chance Glenn Close will earn a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her tremendous performance in The Wife, which opens here in DC soon. However, her last nomination came seven years ago for Albert Nobbs, in which she plays a woman living her life as a man so she can make headway in 19th-century Ireland. While that character wasn't transgender, Close still weighed in on the recent controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson's casting as a trans man in Rub & Tug, a role she would ultimately pull out from...

“My thinking right now is that people who are producing and directing properties like that need to go out of their way to get trans actors jobs,” Close said in a podcast with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, “but they also should have the opportunity to cast the best person.”

Close added, "Acting is a craft… I think personally that anyone should be able to play anyone. But I do understand the frustration.”

The years since Albert Nobbs have seen many of Hollywood's top actors playing transgender roles, and earning multiple awards along the way. While there has been a push for greater LGBTQ representation, Johansson's casting was the final straw for many in the community. Her casting brought criticism from trans actresses who were not afforded the same opportunity, and after standing defiant initially Johansson dropped out from the film. She would have played Dante "Tex" Gill, a 1970s massage parlor owner and head of a prostitution ring. Gill had originally been thought to be a woman posing as a man, but was revealed to be transgender.

The film would have reunited Johansson with Rupert Sanders, her director on Ghost in the Shell, a film that was met with backlash for white-washing the Asian lead character. No replacement for Johansson in Rub & Tug has been found, and it looks like the film may not move forward without her.  [via Deadline]

'The Oath' Trailer: Politics Ruins Ike Barinholtz And Tiffany Haddish's Thanksgiving

It's safe to say that politics has divided this country in ways we've never seen before, causing friends to unfriend one another at a rapid rate, and making already-tense family dinners unbearable. If I get another email from Uncle Joe spouting some QAnon bullshit I'm going to refuse to accept that he's one of ours. While this is definitely a problem with no easy solution, it's also a great opportunity for some laughs, and that's what Ike Barinholtz's new comedy, The Oath, is all about.

Barinholtz, who you probably recognize from Neighbors, Suicide Squad, and more, takes triple duty as writer, director, and star of a ridiculous story that sounds eerily possible in today's age. When the President of the United States demands all citizens sign a "Patriot's Oath" of loyalty to him, it causes a split down tribal lines. With the post-Thanksgiving deadline to sign approaching, it turns one ideologically-diverse family's dinner into a war of words.  Barinholtz has assembled a great cast for this one with Tiffany Haddish, Nora Dunn,  John Cho, Carrie Brownstein, Billy Magnussen, Meredith Hagner, Jon Barinholtz, and Chris Ellis.

The Oath hits theaters on October 12th. Watch it with your ideological opposite and discuss it after.

Jason Bourne TV Prequel 'Treadstone' Gets Series Order From USA Network

Well, I kinda hoped this got deep sixed somewhere along the way, but that Bourne prequel series, Treadstone, is headed to TV. The USA Network has given a straight-to-series order to the show, which will attempt to keep the franchise alive after the lukewarm response to Jason Bourne.

Treadstone is the covert government agency that has been a constant thorn in the rear of badass super-agent Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon. They're responsible for behavior modification procedures that have turned regular agents into killing machines, planting these sleeper agents all over the world. The series will follow other sleeper agents that have woken up the same way Bourne did.

Originally conceived as a pilot for USA's upcoming slate, but they decided to bypass that when negotiations began to heat up with Amazon Studios for the international rights. That means less of a financial burden for USA, more profit, and incentive to invest more attention on the show's future. I can see Treadstone being a solid replacement for the recently-canceled Shooter, and will probably tap into the same audience.

Tim Kring, best known for NBC's Heroes, will develop the series. He's a TV vet with a history of creating franchises on the small screen, so let's see if he's the guy to reawaken Bourne.  The trick will be how to do it with Matt Damon's presence. The last time they tried to move on without him it was with Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy, and that did so poorly Damon had to come running back in to save things.  [Deadline]