Review: Love is Blind

Starring Shannon Tarbet, Benjamin Walker, and Aidan Turner

Review: Honey Boy

Written by and starring Shia LaBeouf

Review: Doctor Sleep

Starring Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, and Kyliegh Curran

Review: Midway

Directed by Roland Emmerich

Review: Last Christmas

Starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding

11/13/2019

Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' Remake Casts Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric


The Little Mermaid has found her prince. Deadline reports London actor Jonah Hauer-King has landed the role of Prince Eric in Disney's live-action The Little Mermaid remake after months of searching for just the right actor. He had been listed as a contender months ago after Harry Styles turned an offer down.

Hauer-King won't be a recognizable name to most of us here, but he's starting to gain some traction. He recently appeared in A Dog's Way Home which was a modest-sized hit, and has a role in the TIFF-premiering drama The Song of Names alongside Clive Owen and Tim Roth.

The Little Mermaid will star Halle Bailey as Ariel, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Awkwafina as Scuttle and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, with Javier Bardem eyeing the role of King Triton and possibly Daveed Diggs as Sebastian. The film will be directed by Rob Marshall and begin filming next year.

'The Batman': Jayme Lawson's Role Probably Isn't What You Think


With all of the high-profile names being cast in The Batman, the addition of newcomer Jayme Lawson came as a surprise. The catch was that nobody knew who she was playing, which can't be said about her A-list co-stars. There may have been a reason for that, as io9 claims to know what Lawson's role will be, and it's not someone known to be part of DC Comics.

The site has learned that Lawson is playing Bella, "a grassroots political candidate running for office in Gotham."  This would be a brand new character, but still a substantial role based on the initial reporting. Looks as if Matt Reeves is including a political component to his Gotham City mystery, and if that's the case don't be surprised if Harvey Dent aka Two-Face shows up, as well. 

I guess this will quiet down speculation Lawson was playing Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl, which many sites jumped to because Jeffrey Wright is playing Commissioner Jim Gordon. I had hoped  she could turn out to be the new female Robin, and you know what? I'm not writing off that possibility. Getting screwed in politics then turning superhero sidekick/vigilante sounds like a feasible course of action.

The Batman opens June 25th 2021.

A 'Doctor Sleep' Sequel Was In The Works, Probably Not Anymore


I've never understood those who thought Doctor Sleep, a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining and an adaptation of Stephen King's novel, would be a hit. Did Warner Bros. not see what happened with Blade Runner 2049, another sequel to a classic that appeals to a niche audience? Obviously they didn't, and had already begun talks with director Mike Flanagan for a followup.

In a recent THR piece on Doctor Sleep's disappointing box office, it was revealed that a sequel was in the works with director Mike Flanagan, and we have some idea where the story might've gone...

Warners was so keen on Doctor Sleep that movie studio chief Toby Emmerich had already struck a deal with director Mike Flanagan and his Intrepid Pictures to script a sequel whose working title is Hallorann, drawn from the character who appears in both The Shining and Doctor Sleep.

Seriously, when studios go bust it's because of bone-headed decisions like this. Doctor Sleep was NEVER going to be a hit. Sure, horror fans and those who love classic movies were looking forward to it, just as the sci-fi nuts turned out for Blade Runner 2049, but your average moviegoer, particularly the younger ones, could care less. Better to create an original property at a lower cost.

That said, a sequel would've been pretty interesting, especially one that likely would've followed the character Dick Hallorann, played by Scatman Crothers in The Shining and Carl Lumbly in Doctor Sleep. Hallorann was the cook at the Overlook Hotel, and one who also shared the "shining" gift. A mentor to Danny Torrance, he appears as a ghost in Doctor Sleep, and alludes to a troubled, abusive past that could be prime material for exploration. He also has ties to Stephen King's It, and since both are under the Warner Bros. umbrella there's some crossover potential.

However, a sequel is unlikely to happen. Doctor Sleep opened with a sad $14M and currently sits at just $35M worldwide. The budget wasn't astronomical or anything, but it's probably not going to break even and that's a shame because not only is it a really good film that combines the best of King and Kubrick, but Flanagan could still do so much more.

Review: 'Charlie's Angels', Kristen Stewart Packs A Powerful Comic Punch In Elizabeth Banks' Reboot


It only takes a moment for Sabina (Kristen Stewart) to literally wrap the first man in Charlie's Angels around her finger. Sitting across from a typically chauvinistic, rich blowhard who sees women only as sex objects, Sabina projects confidence, strength, humor, and wit as she easily seduces her soon-to-be victim. Within moments he's tied up in curtains, his security guards are unconscious on the floor, and Sabina...well, she gets pushed off of a roof. It's okay, though. She survives, and even waves a flamboyant farewell aboard an ascending helicopter.

Charlie's Angels, a reboot of the franchise we last saw with 2003's Full Throttle, isn't subtle. It literally begins with the words "I think women can do anything." No version really has been, whether it's the classic 1970s TV series or McG's bombastic flicks from two decades ago. But this one has the wind of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements at its back, and so the female empowerment message is amplified even if writer/director/co-star Elizabeth Banks only plays it up think in the opening minutes. The rest is focused on fun, not only for the audience but for the cast who are having even more of a ball than Cameron Diaz groovin' on the set of Soul Train.


This new-era Angels is led by Stewart's reckless, silly, and awkward Sabina; Ella Balinska as the tough-as-nails former MI6 agent Jane; and Naomi Scott as the techno-dork Elena, who is swept up into the Townsend Agency after blowing the whistle on her bosses who have developed a form of clean energy that can also be weaponized. The franchise has gone global now, with multiple locations around the world and just as many Bosleys (including a few celebrity surprises) to protect the band of female super-spies. The grandfatherly Patrick Stewart is one, although he's set to retire after decades of loyal service. Banks and Djimon Hounsou pick up where he left off, with the latter acting also as a sensei and close friend to the oh-so-serious Jane. But when Elena becomes a target of a silent assassin (Jonathan Tucker), the collateral damage has tragic results for the entire Angels squad.

Based on the opening minutes, which includes infomercial-worthy scenes of random girls playing sports, smiling, having fun all around the world, you'd think Banks was about to shove a hearty helping of girl power right down your throat. Banks has a choice to make, though. The previous movies, of which I am a huge fan, were wild, gravity-defying actioners with hyper-sexualized characters. They were about as tongue-in-cheek as they get. This newer version is completely different. It takes the notion of sisterhood seriously, which also goes for the action set pieces which are cleverly constructed to make the most of each character's strengths. The Angels are truly a team and fight like one, with the highlight a pitched hand-to-hand battle at a rock quarry where only some perfectly-timed teamwork saves one from a gravelly fate. There's nothing here that's instantly memorable, and certainly nothing as over-the-top as what McG would've done, but in only her second turn as director Banks has proven she has strengths other than comedy. That theme extends to the Angels, who find plenty of ways to dress up sexy (hot science nerd is a thing, and I dig it) but aren't doing it to be eye candy for us guys. They're sexy because of how capable they prove to be in just about everything, and that includes whoopin' a lot of ass.


Surprisingly, it's Banks' leaning on her comic background that slows the movie down at points. In particular, Banks' screenplay feels off as she tries to find a comedic groove. Unfortunately, it's Stewart who pays the price for this in the beginning as she is the source of most of the movie's humor. Both Banks and Stewart eventually hit their stride, and I can say this is the most enjoyable Stewart has been in a movie in ages. Don't take that to mean she hasn't always been good, there's a reason she's one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, but roles that allow her to cut loose, act a fool, and break free from the sullen persona many who don't know a thing about her have saddled her with. She has nearly all of the movie's best one-liners, kicks ass in horse jockey gear, and isn't shy about eyeing the many other beautiful women who cross her path. This character is so "her" it's a hope we haven't seen the last of it.

There's not a lot of meat on the actual story, however, despite a couple of twists to throw audiences off the trail. The bad guys are lame because...well, all of the guys are lame in this movie, and that includes Netflix heartthrob Noah Centineo as a dorky lab tech, and Sam Claflin (Banks' The Hunger Games co-star) as a hot-shot tech guru in way over his head.  I kinda dig Tucker's quiet assassin vibe, though.  He'll make a great serial killer in something else, I'm sure.


I don't know if this Charlie's Angels will linger in the mind any better than previous films did, but I'm not sure that's the point. Every iteration of this franchise tends to be of that moment, and chances are this one will be the same. Fortunately, soaring with these Angels is a blast and teases bigger, better moments in the future.

3 out of 5

'Avengers: Endgame' Deleted Scene Features Katherine Langford As Tony Stark's Grown-Up Daughter


There's so much content on Disney+ that it can be overwhelming. New series, classic films, classic TV shows both live-action and animated, it can be easy to look past the little things that enhance the what we already know and love. Case in point, the Avengers: Endgame 4K release on Disney+ includes loads of extra features and bonus footage, including the long talked-about scene featuring 13 Reasons Why and Knives Out actress Katherine Langford as Tony Stark's adult daughter, Morgan.

Cut from the theatrical release, the scene appears to take place at the moment of Stark's ultimate sacrifice, restoring the world with a single snap of his fingers. The action sends Stark into the Soul Stone where he encounters Morgan, who is no longer a child but a grown-up woman. The scene is similar to one in Avengers: Infinity War when Thanos destroyed the world with a snap of his fingers, and was sent into the Soul Stone to encounter a young version of his daughter Gamora.

It's a nice moment but didn't need to be in the final cut. The scenes we have with Stark and Morgan are impactful enough already without adding this glimpse forward. It would've dragged the movie to a halt at the worst possible moment.

11/12/2019

Harley Quinn gets Down and Dirty in the Trailer for her New DC Universe App Show 'Harley Quinn'


Well, that was unexpected. The DC Universe App shows have never shy'd away from language and violence but I wasn't really prepared to here the Clown Princess of Crime dropping F-bombs every five seconds. The new show, which follows Quinn in her adventures through Gotham City after breaking up with "Mr. J", looks like a mix between Batman: The Animated Series and, honestly, kind of like Ren and Stimpy, not sure how to explain that second one but it just feels like that. The animation looks good enough and though the voices don't really seem on point with what we're used to with these characters there's nothing wrong with making it your own. The show brings in the whole rouge's gallery it appears, from Bane to Clayface, and if it takes it's juvenile humor in anywhere the same vein as Doom Patrol we may just be in for a treat.

The series premiers November 29th on the DC Universe App


First Looks At 'Falcon And The Winter Soldier, 'Hawkeye', Agent Carter As Captain America In 'What If?'


Today is pretty much dedicated to all-things Disney+, right? Or maybe it just seems that way with so much talk going on about The Mandalorian. But one thing we haven't heard much about today is Marvel, which is saving its upcoming shows for a later date. The one thing Marvel Studios did have ready at launch is the 12-minute program, Expanding the Universe, which has unveiled some first looks at what will be coming our way in the near future.

The show offers concept art and images from the Hawkeye series led by Jeremy Renner, as well as Falcon and the Winter Soldier starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. The highlight of the Hawkeye stuff is a look at Kate Bishop, who may or may not be played by Hailee Steinfeld. She'll serve as a trainee under Clint Barton's guidance and, assuming the comics are followed, will take over the mantle of Hawkeye.

The concept art for Falcon and the Winter Soldier gives us an idea of Falcon and Bucky's new looks, an official shot of masked Baron Zemo (taken from the teaser released weeks ago), and Wyatt Russell as John Walker aka US Agent.


Perhaps most exciting is footage from the animated What If? series, an anthology that creates stories out of unreal Marvel scenarios. So in these images we see Peggy Carter if she took the super soldier serum and became Captain America. In another, a pre-serum Steve Rogers pilots his own Iron Man armor. Bucky is attacked by a zombie Captain America in another, clearly taking from the Marvel Zombies line of comics. Finally, there's a story in which T'Challa aka Black Panther becomes Star-Lord, leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Wild stuff.

Falcon and the Winter Soldier arrives in fall 2020. Hawkeye and What If? hit Disney+ in 2021.








Damien Chazelle's 'Babylon' Set For Christmas 2021, Emma Stone And Brad Pitt Still In Talks To Star


Damien Chazelle is one of the most sought-after directors around, and for good reason. When your first three films are Whiplash, La La Land, and First Man, finding a home for the next project is never really a concern. Chazelle's latest, the silent-era drama Babylon, has found a new home at Paramount and even has an awards season release date.

THR reports Paramount has come aboard as distributor of Babylon, which Chazelle will write and direct. As previously reported earlier this year, Emma Stone and Brad Pitt are both in talks to star in the Hollywood drama set in the 1920s as silent movies make the transition to "talkies." Pitt will reportedly play a fictional actor, but based on actor John Gilbert, who finds it difficult to transition into this new version of cinema. Gilbert is one of the great t tragic figures of this era and died young at the age of 38. Stone will play legendary actress Clara Bow, one of Hollywood's first "It" girls.

While Chazelle has proven to be money, Paramount was still hesitant to sign on for his $100M, 180-page film. So they worked out a deal to have Chazelle slice down the script by 30 pages and reduce the budget, but this still sounds like a huge undertaking and may explain the awards season release date of Christmas Day 2021. You don't make this kind of investment without big aspirations.

*UPDATED* George Lucas Has Messed With The Han/Greedo Scene Again, And Now It's On Disney+


*Updated with information on George Lucas editing the Han/Greedo scene, not Disney.*

The launch of Disney+ has given Lucasfilm and Disney a chance to give Star Wars another tinkering. George Lucas' films have undergone a number of cosmetic changes over the years, minor tweaks here and there with each new re-release. The most infamous of these is, of course, the Han/Greedo scene. Who shot first? Was it Han? Was it Greedo? For the 4K versions newly-released on Disney+, it just got a lot harder to figure out what the Hell happened due to one last bit of fiddling with by George Lucas.

So as you probably expected, fans flocked to Disney+ to check out the 4K versions of the original six Star Wars movies. What they found is that some changes have been made, and they aren't all bad.  For instance, the original 20th Century Fox fanfare has been restored, perfect for fans who truly want to recapture the nostalgia of watching these movies as kids. For me, it never felt right watching Star Wars without that intro, and now that's back. Good on you, Disney.

On the other hand, the Han/Greedo change is just baffling. As you probably recall, when Lucas gave us the "Special Editions" of his original trilogy, he changed the scene so that Greedo fired the initial shot before being killed by Han in self-defense. Ugh. It still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Well, Disney/Lucasfilm reps have confirmed (via TheVerge) one more tweak by George Lucas that occurred prior to the Disney acquisition. Now it's impossible to tell what the fuck happened due to inserted reaction shots, and a lame-ass explosion before Greedo slumps dead, but not before he says "Maclunkey!" for no apparent reason.





Boo. Anyway, this change seems to be exclusive to Disney+ for now but could be the standard going forward. I don't quite see the point, but there must be something more to it.

Other changes include a new Lucasfilm logo (meh) and a Star Wars intro that kinda reminds me of what we get before every Marvel Studios movie.

Paul Thomas Anderson To Direct 1970s Film About A Successful Child Actor


After 2017's Phantom Thread, news has been slight on any new projects from Paul Thomas Anderson.  There were reports earlier this year that Leonardo DiCaprio had passed on a role in something Anderson was putting together, but nothing has come of it. Now we have some idea of what Anderson is doing next, and it's gearing up to start soon.

THR reports Anderson is beginning to cast on an untitled film to begin production early next year. The film is said to take place in 1970s San Fernando Valley and follow a high school student who happens to be a successful child actor.  This is shaping up to possibly be an ensemble project with intersecting storylines, which I suppose could mean a role for DiCaprio? Maybe?  

This is familiar ground for Anderson. Three of his previous films were set in the San Fernando Valley: our namesake Punch-Drunk Love, Magnolia, and the greatest movie of all-time Boogie Nights. I hope this also returns Anderson to the creative heights I personally think have been missing from his last couple of projects.