Review: Hustlers

Starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu

Review: Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken

Morgan Spurlock Takes On Healthy Fast Food

Review: The Fanatic

Starring John Travolta and Devon Sawa, Directed by Fred Durst

Review: It Chapter Two

Starring James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader

Review: The Goldfinch

Starring Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, and Jeffrey Wright

9/16/2019

Here Comes The Oscars? Taika Waititi's 'Jojo Rabbit' Wins Prestigious TIFF People's Choice Award


Every festival has awards, but when the fall season comes around few are more sought-after than TIFF's People's Choice Award. And the reason for that is simple. Its winners tend to go on to become Best Picture nominees, as has been the case for 10 of the last 11 winners. So knowing that, the Oscar prospects for Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit just skyrocketed.

Jojo Rabbit won the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival's coveted Grolsch People's Choice Award, and this has to make it one of the top contenders to be the Oscars Best Picture winner. The dark satire finds Waititi both behind the camera and in front of it, playing an imaginary Adolf Hitler who befriends a Hitler Youth. That critics were pretty split on the movie overall hasn't dimmed its prospects...yet, anyway. We'll see how that goes upon national rollout in a few weeks. Waititi is joined in the film by Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, and Alfie Allen.

First runner-up for the prize was Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, making this a good festival for Scarlett Johansson who stars alongside Adam Driver. Second runner-up with South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's black comedy Parasite.

Jojo Rabbit opens October 18th.

9/15/2019

Box Office: 'Hustlers' Pockets $33M As 'The Goldfinch' Flops


1. It Chapter Two- $40.7M/$153.8M
It wasn't all lollipops and roses for Warner Bros. this week, but the good news is It Chapter Two led the way with a strong $40.7M second week. That gives the horror sequel and adaptation of the second-half of Stephen King's monster novel a $323M worldwide total. It's going to fall short of It's $700M haul from a couple of years ago, but we're talking about a $1B+ pair of movies and nobody's going to complain about that.
2. Hustlers (review)- $33.2M
The reason commercial movies such as Hustlers often premiere at fall festivals can be summed up by the movie's phenomenal $33M debut. If the reviews are good, as they definitely were coming out of TIFF, they can generate buzz that lead to opening weekends just like this. And now there's genuine Oscar talk going around for star Jennifer Lopez, which only makes Lorene Scafaria's crime drama more of a must-see movie. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have the likes of Constance Wu, Cardi B, Lizzo, and Lili Reinhart attracting the casual moviegoer. This is the biggest live-action debut ever for Lopez, which is pretty amazing when you think of her long run of successful rom-coms. It's also an R-rated movie focused primarily on women of color, with a woman behind the camera. Audiences claim to want greater representation, especially for women, but don't often come out to support it when Hollywood gives it to them. In this case they did show up and the only question now is whether Oscars hopes pushes Hustlers to a long run.
3. Angel Has Fallen- $4.4M/$60.3M
4. Good Boys- $4.2M/$73.3M
5. The Lion King- $3.5M/$533.9M
6. Hobbs & Shaw- $2.7M/$168.3M
7. Overcomer- $2.7M/$28.9M
8. The Goldfinch (review)- $2.6M
And then there was The Goldfinch. The other half of Warner Bros. mixed bag of a week, the John Crowley-directed adaptation of Donna Tartt's bestseller opened with a dismal $2.6M, the sixth worst ever for a 2500+ screen release. Reviews for the $45M drama were awful coming out of TIFF, and they only got worse from there. I think that has more to do with the movie's failure than the seemingly harsh atmosphere towards prestige, mature-skewing dramas. For instance, Crowley's previous film, Brooklyn, managed to survive just fine a few years ago, riding the tidal wave of Oscars buzz. If there had been better word-of-mouth for The Goldfinch it would've performed, because surely there's interest in a film led by Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, and others, based on a beloved book. Even the 2 1/2 hour runtime could've been overcome if the movie were any good.
9. The Peanut Butter Falcon- $1.9M/$15M
10. Dora and the Lost City of Gold- $1.8M/$56.7M

'Ford V. Ferrari' Trailer: Matt Damon And Christian Bale Race Into Awards Season


Racing out of the gates with incredible buzz following premieres at TIFF and Telluride is Ford V. Ferrari, the latest film from Walk the Line and Logan director James Mangold. Racing movies are a tough sell nowadays, which is why we haven't had a major Hollywood one since 2013's Rush, but the early reviews are painting this as one of the best movies of the year.

The duo of Christian Bale and Matt Damon lead the way, respectively as fearless British driver Ken Miles and American car designer Carroll Shelby, charged by Ford to build an unbeatable car that can defeat Ferrari at the "24 Hours of Le Mans" in 1966.

This looks like a rousing, crowd-pleasing film that can straddle the prestige/commercial divide. A lot of people are pumped to see how this movie does and I'm one of them.  It's been in the works for years, once with Joseph Kosinski directing Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.

The film also stars Noah Jupe,  Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, JJ Feild, and Tracy Letts.

Ford V. Ferrari opens November 15th.

'Black Widow' May See Robert Downey Jr. Return As Tony Stark


Nobody expects the Saturn Awards to be ground zero for breaking news, but a big time MCU scoop may have been revealed over the weekend. Robert Downey Jr., who earned a Best Actor award for his performance as Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame, may not have sung his swansong despite Stark's heroic sacrifice.

Here's how Deadline puts it: Robert Downey Jr.’s swan song performance as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, in Endgame earned him the best actor in a film award. (Downey will be seen in the role of Stark one more time, however, in the Marvel prequel Black Widow in May 2020.)

This actually isn't all that crazy. Rumors have been that Black Widow, which follows Scarlett Johansson's first solo outing as the Avengers' resident Russian spy, would be set during events of Captain America: Civil War. If that's the case, Stark's involvement makes sense. Widow betrayed Stark and his pro-registration team in order to go and side with Captain America, furthering the split between the Avengers. 

A deleted scene from Civil War in which Black Widow and Stark have one more encounter following her betrayal has made the rounds in various fan screenings, and I wouldn't be surprised if they used it to set up her solo outing. In that scene, Natasha basically reinforces her position that Stark and the government handled the registration issue badly, and he tells her to run, which is when she hooks up with Cap and his underground squad.

It'll be fresh for most people since it hasn't been widely circulated, and wouldn't require much additional photography, if any. 

However it goes down, we may not have seen the last of Iron Man. If anything, this will help remind fans that even when a larger-than-life hero like that falls, their impact will continue to be felt.

Black Widow hits theaters on May 1st 2020.

9/14/2019

DC Readers: Attend A Special Screening Of 'Ad Astra' Starring Brad Pitt


We're happy to offer our DC readers the chance to attend National Geographic's special screening of James Gray's Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt.  The anticipated thriller also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, and Ruth Negga.  Please read all of the included information below.

SYNOPSIS: A paranoid thriller in space that follows Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) on a mission across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father and his doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe.

This very special event will be held on Monday, September 16th at 7:30pm at the National Geographic Grosvenor Auditorium. Winners will be put on standby, meaning seats are not guaranteed. Empty seats will begin being filled at approximately 7:25pm. Also, because of the nature of this event, the dress attire is business casual.

To enter, simply complete the Rafflecopter contest form below. Winners will be selected tomorrow and notified by email.

Ad Astra opens September 20th.



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Giveaway: Win 'Star Wars Resistance' Complete Season One On DVD


We're happy to offer our readers the chance to win the complete first season of Star Wars Resistance, available now on DVD!

SYNOPSIS: The first season follows Kazuda (“Kaz”) Xiono, a young pilot recruited by Resistance hero Poe Dameron for a top-secret mission to spy on the growing threat of the First Order. Stationed aboard an aircraft refueling station, Kaz quickly finds himself in over his head as he struggles to keep his cover as a mechanic while gaining the trust of his newfound friends. They find themselves entangled with ace pilots, marauding pirates and creatures of all shapes and sizes.

The series is created by renowned Lucasfilm Animation veteran Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars,Star Wars Rebels) with Athena Portillo (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels), Justin Ridge (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels) and Brandon Auman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) serving as executive producers and Amy Beth Christenson (Star Wars: The Clone Wars,Star Wars Rebels) as art director.

To enter, simply complete the Rafflecopter contest form below. Winners will be selected on September 17th and notified by email. Good luck!

Star Wars Resistance: The Complete First Season is available now on DVD. Season Two takes off beginning October 6th on Disney XD.



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Lupita Nyong'o To Star In Danai Gurira's 'Americanah' HBO Max Series


WarnerMedia has decided a healthy dose of Black Girl Magic, and Black Panther Magic, is how they'll make streaming service HBO Max stand out from the rest. Yesterday it was announced that a straight-to-series order was made for a 10-episode adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's bestselling novel Americanah, which will boast Danai Gurira as writer and showrunner, and starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o.

If this all sounds vaguely familiar, Americanah was originally poised as a movie with Nyong'o and David Oyelowo starring. Brad Pitt's Plan B banner has been involved since the beginning, with Nyong'o and Gurira also set as producers.  Gurira will write the series pilot. It's unclear if Oyelowo will return, but given his past work with Nyong'o on Queen of Katwe, I wouldn't put it past him.


SYNOPSIS: “Americanah” tells the story of Ifemelu (Nyong’o), a young, beautiful, self-assured woman raised in Nigeria, who as a teenager falls in love with her classmate Obinze. Living in a military-ruled country, they each depart for the west, with Ifemelu heading for America, where, despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple for the first time with what it means to be black. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous undocumented life in London. A highly lauded tale that has become a leader in the cultural conversation, “Americanah” is an incredible exploration of the human experience that crosses three continents to give an empathetic, compelling view of the complex realities of race, politics, immigration and identity.

Gurira said in a statement, “Through ‘Americanah,’ Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way.  It is intellectually incisive, indicting, yet full of humor, and riddled with humanity. She makes unheard voices familiar, universal and yet palpably specific. I am honored to bring her incredible novel to life on the screen. I’m thrilled to collaborate once again with Lupita, who brings her astounding ability as a performer and producer shepherding this project, along with HBO MAX’s unbridled enthusiasm to bring this groundbreaking narrative to the TV audience.”

HBO Max doesn't launch until next year, and you can bet they'll want to have Americanah ready to be part of it.

9/13/2019

'The Suicide Squad': Full Cast Of Expendables Revealed By James Gunn


Happy Friday the 13th! Do you give gifts on a day like this? Well, James Gunn is gifting fans with some pretty big news on The Suicide Squad, finally revealing the full cast for his upcoming DCEU sequel. While most of the names were already known, there are a few new additions. Surprise! Those rumors Michael Rooker would have a role, because Gunn always finds a role for him, turned out to be true.

Here's the list: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, Viola Davis, Michael Rooker, Joel Kinnaman, Taika Waititi, Jai Courtney, John Cena, Nathan Fillion, David Dastmalchian, Alice Braga, Sean Gunn, Storm Reid, Pete Davidson, Flula Borg, Peter Capaldi, Joaquin Cosio, Mayling Ng, Juan Diego Botto, Steve Agee, Tinashe Kajese, Daniela Melchior, Julio Ruis, Jennifer Holland.

Gunn warns in his tweet that we shouldn't get attached to any of these folks, so look at most of these roles as cameos more than anything else. They'll be killed, probably in a comical way, within a matter of minutes like Adam Beach's poor Slipknot in the first movie.

What we know of the new cast's characters are that Elba is playing somebody new after once being eyed to replace Will Smith as Deadshot; Dastmalchian is playing Polka-Dot Man, with Melchior as a female version of Ratcatcher. Cena was reportedly up for Peacekeeper, with Agee voicing King Shark. I have to admit, I'm a little sad we won't see a return of Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje's hip-hop version of Killer Croc.

The Suicide Squad opens August 6th 2021.


MoviePass Is Finally Going Bye-Bye Tomorrow


After months of changes designed to keep the subscription service afloat but only served to piss off their dwindling base, MoviePass is finally going bye-bye tomorrow, September 14th.

It's been a turbulent couple of years since MoviePass really moved into the national spotlight by offering subscribers a monthly $9.99 all-you-can-watch plan. Moviegoers jumped at the offer, although it quickly exposed MoviePass' inability to find ways to profit from the model. Beginning in the summer of 2018, they experienced multiple service outages that denied subscribers from seeing the most popular movies. A series of changes to the plan alienated the most committed users by limiting the number of movies, and the quality of movies, they could use MoviePass on. The company also suffered a number of high-profile flops when attempting to become a direct distributor of movies. The less said about Gotti is probably for the better.

In recent weeks, MoviePass has continued to struggle. In July suffered yet another "temporary" shutdown. Large swaths of employees were let go, including those responsible for building partnerships with theatre exhibitors, a sure sign of rapid decline. As one final humiliation, MoviePass exposed many of its shrinking base's credit card numbers online.

So news of MoviePass' ultimate demise is not a shock, except that it took this long. The announcement was to subscribers by parent company Helios & Watson. Here's a little bit from the press release:

“On September 13, 2019, MoviePass notified its subscribers that it would be interrupting the MoviePass service for all its subscribers effective September 14, 2019, because its efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date."

Attempts will be made to find financing to keep MoviePass alive, but with no guarantees of a plan they will be forced to "explore all strategic and financial alternatives” which includes selling MoviePass off entirely, or its largest assets which include the once-popular Moviefone and the failed distributor MoviePass Films.

If MoviePass accomplished anything, it's proving that people still want to see movies in theaters on the big screen. They want that experience, it's just that MoviePass wasn't able to provide that for them and turn a profit. Independent distributor plans from AMC, Regal, and more seem to be ironing out the kinks and learning from MoviePass' mistakes.

'Watchmen' Trailer: Regina King's Masked Vigilante Uncovers A Vast Conspiracy


Adapting a classic like Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen is no easy task. The 1980s comic deconstructed the entire superhero genre in a way that redefined the entire comic book industry, with repercussions still felt today. So maybe that's why for HBO's new Watchmen TV series Damon Lindelof has decided to kinda do his own thing.

A new trailer for Lindelof's reimagined Watchmen shows a very different world, one set years after the original comic's events. Certain familiar aspects remain, however, such as the idea of costumed heroes being perceived as vigilantes. But with these masked crime-fighters shunned for so long, what happens when they are suddenly embraced once more? The question, as always, is "Who watches the Watchmen?"

I think most intriguing of all is Regina King as Angela Abar, who hides under a mask and tracks down a terrorist group with an obvious resemblance to the ink-blotted vigilante Rorschach. She's joined by a stellar cast that includes Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeremy Irons, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jean Smart, and Robert Redford.

SYNOPSIS: Set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, WATCHMEN, from executive producer Damon Lindelof (Emmy® winner for “Lost”; HBO’s “The Leftovers”) embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name, while attempting to break new ground of its own. Nicole Kassell directs the pilot from a script written by Lindelof.

HBO debuts Watchmen on October 20th.