Review: The Lost City of Z

Starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, And Sienna Miller

Review: Unforgettable

Starring Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson

Review: Free Fire

Starring Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, And Armie Hammer

Review: The Promise

Starring Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale, And Charlotte Le Bon

Review: Tramps

Directed by Adam Leon, Starring Callum Turner and Grace Van Patten

4/24/2017

Chris Pine, Ben Foster, & David Mackenzie Reteam For 'Outlaw King'


Hell or High Water took a lot of people by surprise. The Texas crime thriller arrived with little fanfare, despite a decent premiere at Cannes and a cast led by Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges. But director David Mackenzie was mostly known only to cinephiles who appreciated his work on Starred Up a couple of years earlier. Then the movie hit and it received arguably the year's best reviews and an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. So it's no surprise some the principle figures in that film are getting back together.

Deadline reports Pine, Foster, and McKenzie are reteaming for Outlaw King, a Netflix movie about Scottish king Robert The Bruce. Yep, the guy who a key figure in Mel Gibson's Braveheart, but he's got a pretty significant story beyond that. Pine will play Robert with Foster as his trusted adviser Sir James Douglas, with the film chronicling the battle against the English for Scottish independence. It will also chronicle Robert's love affair and eventual marriage to Irish noble  Elizabeth de Burgh.

This is a passion project for Mackenzie, who is Scottish, so it's no surprise to be moving quickly with a start date pegged for August.

The 'Justice League' Team Up For Battle In New International Trailer


At this point for Zack Snyder and Warner Bros., less is probably more when it comes to Justice League. The first trailer had a ton of action but it has been raked over the coals by those who dislike Snyder or DCEU movies in general. This brief new international trailer clocks in at just under a minute and is probably the way to go.

The trailer gives us a look at Aquaman (Jason Momoa) battling parademons, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) kicking but, Flash (Ezra Miller) doing what he does best, Cyborg (Ray Fisher) destroying stuff and flying away to somewhere, and Batman (Ben Affleck) holding it all together. At least until Superman arrives and they can all relax. What do you think Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is stopping to look at, anyway?

Justice League opens November 17th.

Here's Why The 'Avengers 4' Title Won't Be Revealed For A While


We've heard various versions of this from others within Marvel for a few months, but now Kevin Feige is weighing in on why we can't know the title of Avengers 4 yet. Speaking with CinemaBlend, Feige confirmed that the title of Avengers 4 would be a spoiler for Avengers: Infinity War. So nope, he ain't tellin' and probably nobody within Marvel will for quite a while. When asked if Thanos would be appearing in both or just 'Infinity War', Feige said “They’re two very different movies. That’s all I’ll say.”

Originally, Marvel had 'Infinity War' set to be a two-parter that the Russo Brothers would shoot back-to-back. They recently cleared up that a continuous shoot was no longer in the plans, and it makes sense if these are working from vastly different narratives.

So what does this mean? Avengers: 13 Reasons Why Cap Died? Hey, with Chris Evans' contract up you never know. Heck, they might wipe all the old guys out and start everything over with Secret Wars or something.

Meanwhile, the chatty Feige also spoke with Collider about Thanos' motivations in 'Infinity War', and what he said was kind of surprising...

“[His motives] will be similar to what they were in the Infinity Gauntlet in various ways. I guess that’s all I can say about that.”

Really? In the comic, Thanos was driven by his love for Death. Not the actual act of killing, but his love for the physical embodiment of Death. To win her...heart (?), he destroyed literally half of the universe. Now, I don't think that happens in the MCU, but his being driven by love is an interesting place to start. Is it possible we could see Cate Blanchett's Hela, who is the Asgardian goddess of Death, play a role here?

Avengers: Infinity War arrives May 4th 2018, Avengers 4: The Return Of Hulk's Purple Pants a year later.

Ang Lee To Direct 'Looper'-Esque Sci-Fi Film 'Gemini Man'


It's still hard to fathom that Ang Lee's war drama, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, could be such a misfire. The film boasted a star-studded cast, heady subject matter, and Lee's technical wizardry behind the camera. However it wasn't particularly good and nobody turned out for it, which is wild when you think about the unexpected movies he's turned into box office hits or Oscar winners. Fortunately, Lee isn't letting it get him down, and has decided to take on a long-developing sci-fi project next.

THR reports Lee will direct Gemini Man, a film that has been kicking around Hollywood for nearly two decades. Goosebumps writer Darren Lemke wrote the original script (others have reworked it) which follows an ageing assassin who is pursued by a much younger, much more capable clone of himself. Yeah, it sounds a lot like Rian Johnson's Looper, however that didn't stop Jerry Bruckheimer and Skydance from picking up the rights.

So what has been the hold up all these years? Technology. The technology needed to pull it off wasn't readily available yet, but digital de-aging is all the rage right now. And you know Lee, who has been pushing the boundaries of digital technology lately, will have some new tricks up his sleeve. While there's no firm production date yet, I expect this will be Lee's next project since he hasn't been able to get his 3D Ali/Frazier movie going at all.

'Mr. Robot' Creator May Be Writing An Obi-Wan Kenobi Spinoff


I don't know jack about the website Omega Underground, but their front page is splashed with all kinds of stuff that isn't as confirmed as they make them out to be. So take this one with more than the usual grain of salt, especially since it has to do with Star Wars, and even the most reliable websites falter when breaking news about it. The site says Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, one of the hottest names around Hollywood right now, may be working on an Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff.

They note a couple of sources that say Esmail has been taking meetings with Lucasfilm about writing the movie, but not necessarily directing it. Even though Esmail is responsible for one of the biggest cult TV shows out there, he's still not a known commodity to most people.  Keep in mind that Esmail is super busy. Not only is he developing a Metropolis miniseries, but he writes and directs practically every Mr. Robot episode.

Star Wars Celebration made us feel like an endless supply of Star Wars movies were coming out but it's really not true. We're rapidly coming up on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and then next year it's the Han Solo spinoff, followed by 'Episode IX' in 2019. That's it. Nothing else has been confirmed. So we're probably due for an announcement on something like that, but I don't expect that to be made official until around Comic-Con this July.

This is far from the first time we've heard about Kenobi movie, too. Those rumors have been flying around for a handful of years, but they've been overshadowed by talk of a Boba Fett movie, largely because Josh Trank very nearly made one before he pissed off Lucasfilm execs. For what it's worth, Ewan McGregor is more than down for it, and in terms of characters who have the most interesting spaces to fill chronologically Kenobi is at the top of the list.  Star Wars Rebels has helped fill some of those gaps, but a film set between 'Revenge of the Sith' and 'A New Hope' would be sweet.

Teaser For Hirokazu Koreeda's Crime Thriller 'The Third Murder'


There are only a handful of directors that send me into uncontrollable giggles of excitement at the announcement of a new project. One of those is Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda, whose grounded, deeply human family dramas such as Nobody Knows, Still Walking, I Wish, Like Father Like Son, Our Little Sister, and his most recent, After the Storm (which I reviewed here) carry his signature voice. So it was more than a little surprising, and yes, very exciting to find out he would be moving to the thriller genre for his latest film, The Third Murder, and now we're getting a look at it.

A thirty-second teaser has arrived and it's tough to tell how much of a departure it truly is. In some of the individual shots I see the potential for this to resemble Koreeda's calm, economical pacing rather than the pulse-pounding style of thriller we're accustomed to here.  The film stars Like Father Like Son's Masaharu Fukuyama as a high-powered, win-at-all-costs lawyer who takes on the case of an ex-con charged with murder for a second time. Koji Yakusho plays the accused man, while Koreeda has filled the supporting cast with some familiar faces.

The Third Murder opens in Japan on September 9th, and eventually it will find a way here like all of Koreeda's movies do eventually.

Review: 'Tramps', Disarming Performances Elevate Adam Leon's Shaggy Rom-Com


Adam Leon's 2013 film Gimme the Loot was of special importance for me, and as it turned out quite a few people. The low-key New York City comedy followed a day in the life of two rambunctious graffiti artists as they explored the city, talked, had random misadventures of a criminal and romantic nature, and ultimately "tagged" a famous baseball landmark. Leon is cementing himself as a connoisseur of the rambling, shaggy "It Happened One Night' style of rom-com, and with his follow-up, Tramps, he puts another stamp on his directorial identity.

Is Tramps an actual improvement, though? Leon gets to the "action" quickly then pulls back on the throttle, leaving it up to his stars to carry the weight. Callum Turner (Green Room) plays Danny, an aspiring chef living in a crowded Astoria apartment with his elderly mom, who happens to be an illegal bookie, and his older brother. When his bro calls from prison demanding Danny complete a shady job exchanging a mysterious briefcase ("What's in the briefcase?" you'll hear quite a bit, although it doesn't matter.) with a stranger, he refuses only to be guilted into it by his mom. Of course, things don't go as planned, and Danny is left to try and figure a way out of a sticky situation alongside his getaway driver, Ellie, played by Grace Van Patten.


Ellie is a lot like Tashiana Washington's character in Gimme the Loot. She's tough, street smart, and doesn't take a lot of crap, especially from her male companion, who is sweet and occasionally a bit of a dufus. He doesn't quite understand the crap storm he's stumbled into while she's fully aware. They make for an enjoyable light duo, with any romantic tension set on a very slow boil. It's there, of course, but Leon hit us over the head with it. Ellie's looking to get the money from this score and get away from a tough life. Comedian Mike Birbiglia, one of the least threatening people in the world, plays one of the guys who put this scheme together, and he suggests an ugly past for Ellie that explains her hard exterior. Goo thing Danny is there to help break though some of that armor with his loyalty and disarming cluelessness.

"Disarming" may be the best word to describe Tramps in a nutshell. It lacks the cultural specificity that made Gimme the Loot speak to so many people, and neither Turner or Van Patten has the outward energy of the prior movie's leads. And yet we're drawn to their meandering journey anyway, which takes them from the gritty streets to the suburbs of Westchester which is might as well be another world. At least it serves as a welcome break from the subway stations, alleys, and underpasses that make for a harmless, barely existent identity. Better is Leon's choice of musical score which includes unexpectedly heavy doses of bluegrass, with guitar riffs that give the film a fun "race for your life" quality.


Individually they aren't especially intriguing but as a tandem Turner and Van Patten are infectious. He's a chatterbox prone to big gestures in hopes of gaining her approval, and she's a quiet observer, which is a nice way of saying she's a little judgmental. Ironic since she's prone to saddling that label onto him undeservedly. The movie relies completely on them and their chemistry, which turns out to be its greatest benefit. As the film pushes ahead to a totally predictable yet rewarding romantic finale, in a bus terminal no less, Tramps solidifies itself as trifle to be admired but not necessarily remembered.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Rosario Dawson Answers If She'll Appear In 'The Punisher'


Rosario Dawson's Claire Temple has been the most consistent presence throughout Marvel's Netflix shows. She first appeared in Daredevil, helping Matt Murdock cope with the injuries he received while crime fighting. She has since appeared in Daredevil's second season, Jessica Jones, and then she had some coffee with Luke Cage. Finally, she was integral to Iron Fist's battle against The Hand. Is she starting to wear out her welcome?

Speaking with Collider, Dawson confirmed that Temple won't be showing up for The Punisher, making this the first series she won't take part in...

"People are busy! There are so many times where I really want it to happen. I really wanted to do a cameo on The Punisher, but it doesn’t always work that way."

Honestly, this is probably a good thing. More Rosario Dawson is almost always a good thing, but it was starting to feel like Temple was being forced onto these shows when she didn't need to be. Her showing up in Iron Fist was just egregious. Oh, she just happens to be training at the same dojo run by Colleen Wing? That's convenient.

4/23/2017

Box Office: 'Fate Of The Furious' Races Past $900M, 'Born In China' Tops New Releases


1. The Fate of the Furious- $38.6M/$163.5M
After breaking all sorts of records last week, The Fate of the Furious fell 60% in week two, but who cares because it already has $908M worldwide. This is after two weeks, people. And you wonder why Universal is already moving forward with a spinoff starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. There's simply no way they are letting this franchise die, because it's such an anomaly. We are way past the point where others' sell-by date would have past and talk of reboots begun.
2. The Boss Baby- $12.7M/$136.9M
3. Beauty and the Beast- $9.9M/$471M
4. Born in China- $5.1M
It was a lousy week for new releases, which is why DisneyNature's latest animal doc, Born in China, managed to best them all with only $5.1M. This one follows various families of animals in China, with John Krasinski providing the voice narration. These movies all do about the same amount of business in the opening week, which is usually on Earth Day weekend.
5. Going in Style- $5M/$31.7M
6. Smurfs: The Lost Village- $4.85M/$33.3M
7. Unforgettable (review)- $4.8M
Looking back at the numbers for other schlock domestic thrillers, the $4.8M debut for Unforgettable is a shock. No Good Deed opened with a strong $24M in 2014 on the way to $54M overall; Beyonce slugged it out with Ali Larter in Obsessed to the tune of $28M towards a $68M haul. On the lower end of the spectrum, Regina Hall's When the Bough Breaks at least hit double figures with $14. So that makes you wonder what kept audiences away this time, with the supposed star power of Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl duking it out. The only guess I have is the utter contempt some viewers seem to have towards Heigl, who is basically playing the antithesis of the characters she played in all of those awful rom-coms. It's worth noting those movies which everyone says they hated, tended to make a lot of money. Somebody's lyin'.
8. Gifted- $4.5M/$10.7M
9. The Promise (review)- $4M
Bad buzz has been circling the Armenian genocide drama The Promise for a while now. Not because the film, which boasts the star wattage of Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, is particularly bad, but because the $100M budget was looking very unlikely to be recouped.  The film has also been the target of a smear campaign led by deniers of the genocide, who have made it a point to give it lower ratings on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes before it ever opened. The late Kirk Kerkorian of MGM put up the vast majority of the money to produce the project just to finally get a story out there about what happened to the Armenians, with the promise that any profits would be donated to charitable organizations. Obviously, they'd much rather have $100M than $4M.
10. The Lost City of Z (review)- $2.1M/$2.2M
Somebody pass Netflix a note to watch how Amazon Studios does business. Amazon has a streaming run for James Gray's sweeping adventure The Lost City of Z, which stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Tom Holland. That's a starry cast worthy of the big screen and they got a theatrical run to go with it, earning $2.2M over a couple of weeks at only 614 sites. That's not going to tear the house down or anything, but it isn't bad, and those who may not be able to see it in theaters will be more likely to seek it out online.

The most disappointing news is A24's Free Fire (review), Ben Wheatley's shoot 'em up which hit nothing but air this weekend. Despite being led by Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer and others, plus a slew of positive reviews, it only opened with $1M in 1,039 theaters for a $972 average. Ouch. It's still likely to be a target for fans of Wheatley, and will probably reach cult status before too long. Definitely go check it out while you can.

Margot Robbie To Play Queen Elizabeth Opposite Saoirse Ronan In 'Mary Queen Of Scots'


For a few years Saoirse Ronan has been attached to Mary Queen of Scots, which at one point had Susanne Bier (The Night Manager, Serena) set to direct. Late last year Bier was replaced by Josie Rourke, and the project has since taken off in ways that should make it a hot property, especially now that Margot Robbie is on board to play Queen Elizabeth I.

Variety reports Robbie will join Ronan, the latter playing the titular Mary Stuart who plotted to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth, the Queen of England. The attempt failed and Mary found herself imprisoned for nearly two decades before being beheaded in 1587.

The film has yet to be officially green lit, but with Robbie, Ronan, and House of Cards creator Beau Willimon providing an original script that is likely to change soon. The role of Elizabeth comes with a ton of prestige. Dame Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett have played Elizabeth to tremendous acclaim, including an Oscars win for Dench and a nomination for Blanchett.  Could Robbie be next in line?