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Starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz

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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


Colin Farrell Joins Denzel Washington In Legal Thriller, 'Inner City'

Colin Farrell spent 2016 in The Lobster, where singles were transformed into animals, and in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them where...well, fantastic beasts roamed.  Now he's ready to take on a role that's a little more grounded in reality, and he'll do it opposite Oscar winner and current Best Actor nominee, Denzel Washington.

Farrell will join Denzel in Inner City, the new film from Nightcrawler writer/director, Dan Gilroy.  Denzel plays a reclusive Los Angeles lawyer who is sought for help by a ruthless law firm soon after his mentor's death, only to discover there's something sinister about them. Sounds like some John Grisham stuff. Farrell will play the slick attorney who recruits Denzel's character.

Shooting begins in March. Next up for Farrell is Sofia Coppola's remake of The Beguiled. [THR]

Leonardo DiCaprio Will Stand Against The Mob In 'The Black Hand'

Hey, so what's Leonardo DiCaprio been up to since The Revenant? Well you don't see him in the Oscar nominees because he hasn't starred in anything over the past year, although he has lined up a few projects here and there. Well now you can add one more interesting one to the pile and it will find him filling the shoes of a real-life gumshoe.

DiCaprio will produce and star in an adaptation of The Black Hand: The Epic War Between A Brilliant Detective And The Deadliest Secret Society In American History, the upcoming book by Stephan Talty. It centers on early 20th-century detective Joseph Petrosino who was one of the first to stand against the New York City mafia. Sounds awesome. Here's the book synopsis:

The gripping true story of the origins of the mafia in America — and the brilliant Italian-born detective who gave his life to stop it

Beginning in the summer of 1903, an insidious crime wave filled New York City, and then the entire country, with fear. The children of Italian immigrants were kidnapped, and dozens of innocent victims were gunned down. Bombs tore apart tenement buildings. Judges, senators, Rockefellers, and society matrons were threatened with gruesome deaths. The perpetrators seemed both omnipresent and invisible. Their only calling card: the symbol of a black hand. The crimes whipped up the slavering tabloid press and heated ethnic tensions to the boiling point. Standing between the American public and the Black Hand’s lawlessness was Joseph Petrosino. Dubbed the “Italian Sherlock Holmes,” he was a famously dogged and ingenious detective, and a master of disguise. As the crimes grew ever more bizarre and the Black Hand’s activities spread far beyond New York’s borders, Petrosino and the all-Italian police squad he assembled raced to capture members of the secret criminal society before the country’s anti-immigrant tremors exploded into catastrophe. Petrosino’s quest to root out the source of the Black Hand’s power would take him all the way to Sicily—but at a terrible cost.

Damn this would be perfect for a DiCaprio/Scorsese reunion, wouldn't it? With no director or writer attached that possibility still exists, so keep those fingers crossed for now.

Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, And Jada Pinkett Smith Get Wasted In Trailer For 'Girls Trip'

Okay, so we've had Bad Moms, and soon we'll have Bad Moms Christmas, and at soon there will also  be time for a Fun Mom Dinner. But where are all the sistas at? It's taken Hollywood some time to realize that audiences are ready for raunchy comedies featuring all-female ensembles, but it's taken a bit longer for them to realize that black audiences want the same thing. Well, that's why we now have Girls Trip, and honestly it just looks like one-half of Think Like A Man Too.

Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish (Keanu) star in the comedy from Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man) and produced by Will Packer. Packer is the guy who basically built Kevin Hart into a superstar and has a string of hit comedies under his belt, so he knows what he's doing. Anyway, the film follows a group of childhood friends who hit New Orleans for the Essence Festival and sh*t gets crazy. You know the drill; lots of drinking, dancing, and...oh, did I mention that Mike "Luke Cage" Colter is in this? Yeah, there will be some man trouble and possibly an invitation for coffee.

Girls Trip gets white girl wasted on July 21st.

Nicole Kidman Joins 'Aquaman' Cast, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Takes Villain Role

This whole thing with Ben Affleck backing out of directing The Batman has caused a rift in the DCU, so it's good to get some positive casting news about a different Warner Bros. superhero film. Nicole Kidman and The Get Down's Yahya Abdul-Mateen II are the latest to join the Aquaman cast in two very important roles.

Kidman, who is currently an Oscar nominee for her role in Lion, is in early talks to play Aquaman's mother Atlanna, while Abdul-Mateen is the hero's nemesis, Black Manta.  You may recall Kidman was up for a part in Wonder Woman at one point, so it appears she's been eager to return to the DCU for the first time since Batman Forever.

The duo join Jason Momoa, Willem Dafoe, Amber Heard, and Patrick Wilson in the James Wan-directed film which opens October 5th 2018. [Variety/THR]

Win Passes To A Free Screening Of 'The LEGO Batman Movie'

We're happy to offer our DC readers the chance to attend a free advance screening of Warner Bros.' The LEGO Batman Movie, spinning off Will Arnett's hilarious Dark Knight from The LEGO Movie! The film also features the voices of Zach Galifianakis as the Joker, Michael Cera as Robin, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, and Rosario Dawson as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon.

SYNOPSIS: In the irreverent spirit of fun that made “The LEGO® Movie” a worldwide phenomenon, the self-described leading man of that ensemble – LEGO Batman (Will Arnett) – stars in his own big-screen adventure.  But there are big changes brewing in Gotham, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker’s (Zach Galifianakis) hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.

The screening takes place on Tuesday, February 7th at 7:00pm at AMC Mazza Gallerie. If you'd like a chance to attend, simply complete the Rafflecopter contest form below. Winners will be selected on Friday, February 3rd and contacted by email. Good luck!

The LEGO Batman Movie opens February 10th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Punch Drunk DVDs: 'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back', 'Queen of Katwe', And More!


Tom Cruise is back as the titular super-slueth in this action packed sequel to 2010’s Jack Reacher. This time, he’s  defending an Army major (Cobie Smulders) who has been wrongly accused of treason due to a complex government conspiracy that they must work together to unravel.

We Said: Never Go Back switches up the rules a little bit, but basically this is still just Cruise beating people up for two hours, which as it turns out isn't such a bad thing. [The film is] riddled with action movie cliches from top to bottom, but that's also part of its charm.” Rating: 3 out of 5

Set in the impovershed Ugandan neighborhood of Katwe, the film tells the story of Phiona, a young girl living with her mother (Lupita Nyong’o). When Phiona is introduced to the game of chess by a local missionary (David Oyelowo), she trains to become one of the world’s top chess players. Despite her mother’s concerns and challenging conditions, Phiona’s brilliance and success provides hope for her community.

We Said: “Queen of Katwe has a ton of heart, a truly inspirational message, and a perspective on chess that is wholly unique. The winning moves it makes keep on coming right through to the enjoyable closing credits.” Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Tyler Perry’s 9th film about his grumpy old woman character, Boo! sees Madea face off against a host of spooky creatures who attempt to attack a Halloween Party she’s found herself suddenly attending. The comedy follows her as she’s terrorized by ghosts, zombies, and worst of all, the vengeful college students who feel she wrecked their party.

Everyone Has Vanished In New Trailer For 'Bokeh' Starring Maika Monroe

Many a horror movie and TV show has begun with the premise of someone waking up to find themselves completely alone. The Walking Dead opened that way, and so did Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, for example. Of course, things don't exactly stay that way most of the time...but what if they did?

That seems to be the idea behind Bokeh, which features It Follows breakout Maika Monroe and Matt O'Leary (of the underrated Time Lapse). Directed by Andrew Sullivan and Geoffrey Orthwein in their debut, the film centers on an American couple who spend their savings on a vacation to Iceland, only to wake up to find that everybody in Reykjavík has vanished. That sounds kinda nice, actually, but as you can see it turns pretty creepy. Here's the synopsis, which thankfully doesn't reveal too much...

On a romantic getaway to Iceland, a young American couple wake up one morning to discover every person on earth has disappeared. Their struggle to survive and to reconcile the mysterious event lead them to reconsider everything they know about themselves and the world.

Bokeh opens in theaters and VOD on March 24th.

Intriguing Trailer For Homeless TV Pilot 'When The Street Lights Go On'

At Sundance you hear a lot of people getting excited about a lot of things, some worth it some not, but nobody was as pumped up for anything as Slashfilm's Peter Sciretta was to talk about When the Street Lights Go On. Granted, he couldn't quite remember the homeless TV pilot's title at the time, but when he started talking about it he didn't want to stop.

I was interested but since TV isn't really my thing it was quietly filed away in the back of my brain. Now suddenly today comes a trailer for the series, and it looks exactly like he described it, which is a combination of The Virgin Suicides and Stand by Me.  I also see some Stranger Things in there. Directed by Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture) and starring Nicola Peltz, Odessa Young, Adam Long, and Max Burkholder, it once had a network home at Hulu and Drew Barrymore as director before they dropped out. Now the series is looking for a distributor which is why it was at Park City, and judging by this footage I can see a potential hit under the right guidance. Here's the synopsis:

In the summer heat of 1983, a string of unusual occurrences in a small Illinois town culminate with the shocking murders of a popular high school girl and her teacher. When a fellow student, and neighbor, discovers the bodies while riding his bike home one night, the quiet suburban lives of the town’s residents are irrevocably shaken.

Okay, count me in. Here's hoping this trailer kicks up some buzz and and a bunch of potential buyers.

Producer Doesn't Want 'Splinter Cell' Seen As A Video Game Movie

Given how badly things went for UbiSoft last month with Assassin's Creed, saying that their next attempted adaptation, Splinter Cell, won't be like a video game movie is probably the right way to go. Once again they've got a big star attached, this time Tom Hardy who has been on board for quite a while without anything actually moving forward. But producer Basil Iwanyk does have some information on it which he relayed to Collider, and it sounds like they want the focus to be on Hardy and not the game franchise...

"The challenge of making ‘Splinter Cell’ interesting was we didn’t have this IP with a very specific backstory. That allowed us to make up our own world and really augment and fill out the characters. I don’t think one applies to the other because I don’t think our movie will feel like a movie that came out of a video game, I think it’ll feel like a badass, Tom Hardy action movie, which is what we wanted."

Yeah, that could work in luring in people who have no interest in author Tom Clancy or the popular Sam Fisher character, but could it alienate others who have been fans since the first game in 2002? The producer goes on to note that a script is ready and waiting for Hardy's approval, but the plan is to try and avoid the same territory as the Bond and Bourne movies. Sadly, he also has an idea about the movie's MPAA rating that fans may not care for...

"We’re definitely going to make it a hard PG-13. No, it’s not going to be like [John] Wick,’ but it’s going to be badass. The good and the bad news is that, obviously, the Bond movies have had a resurgence and the Jason Bourne movies are the Jason Bourne movies, so we’re trying to stay away from those movies in terms of tone, in terms of bad guys, in terms of settings. What’s a world that we haven’t seen yet? What’s an area of the world and a conflict that we haven’t really touched upon in movies in a long time, to make it feel fresh?"

Thoughts? Are you excited to see Tom Hardy in a Splinter Cell movie?

Shortlist Of 'The Batman' Directors Emerges, Could Ben Affleck Leave Altogether?

Of course, when someone like Ben Affleck backs out of directing a project as big as The Batman there is going to be fallout, and Forbes has captured what they claim to be some of it. But the biggest question mark left on the film right now is who will be his replacement behind the camera, and there they also have a list of names that will make a lot of sense. And at least one of them I mentioned when news broke of Affleck's departure.

As predicted, Gavin O'Connor (The Accountant) is tops on the list of possible replacements, along with George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic) and Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes). None of these names are particularly surprising with the exception of Ross, who quietly had one of the best movies of last year with Captain Fantastic. He doesn't have much blockbuster experience but that could actually work in his favor.  I think the smart money is probably on O'Conner, who has a relationship with the studio and had a recent hit with Affleck. That must go a long way.

Meanwhile, Forbes teases that Affleck may not even play Batman anymore. That's right, they're suggesting he may drop out of the role, too, due to a combination of script problems, his despondency over Live by Night's failure, exhaustion, and other personal issues. It's probably worth noting that Affleck's statement yesterday didn't mention the script he co-wrote with Geoff Johns at all. We could see Warner Bros. bring in another writer to give it a go, but I doubt the situation ends with Affleck leaving altogether.

The ultimate point seems to be that The Batman isn't happening anytime soon, and where it will fit in the DCU when ready is unclear. I think fans would be okay with any of the previously mentioned options, especially since Zack Snyder isn't mentioned anywhere.

Diego Luna Is The New 'Scarface', Antoine Fuqua Drops Out

It's been a busy night for directors who no longer want to be quite so busy. Just a short while after Ben Affleck sent up the Bat-signal on The Batman, now comes word from Variety that Antoine Fuqua is dropping out the Scarface remake he's been attached to for some time. But as Fuqua departs, the film does appear to have found someone to play the iconic gangster and it's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's Diego Luna.

The reason behind Fuqua's departure don't have to do with creative differences, but instead it's that he and Denzel Washington are set to get moving on The Equalizer 2. There simply wasn't time for Fuqua to do both, and who is going to turn down working with Denzel again, especially as he's currently up for another Oscar? Terrence Winter, Jonathan Herman, and Suicide Squad's David Ayer have all taken passes at the Scarface script, which moves the action to modern day Los Angeles.

Universal is looking at directors now in order to maintain the spring start date, but perhaps they should consider Luna himself? He most recently was at the helm for last year's road trip drama, Mr. Pig, and before that directed the Cesar Chavez biopic starring Michael Pena.

Final 'Beauty And The Beast' Trailer Features Ariana Grande And John Legend

Twenty-five years ago Disney's Beauty and the Beast became the first animated movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It didn't win, but you can bet the Mouse House's timing, just days following the Oscar nominations, isn't a coincidence. They'll be hoping to replicate the earlier magic in more ways than one, and part of that includes a new version of the Oscar-winning theme song now performed by John Legend and Ariana Grande.

Emma Watson and Dan Stevens lead this live-action interpretation of the classic fairy tale, with Bill Condon directing what is certainly a handsome film. I still think the Beast looks a little off but maybe my opinion will change upon seeing it altogether rather than in snippets in like this. Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson co-star with many of them taking on the various CGI characters.

Beauty and the Beast opens March 17th.

Ben Affleck Drops Out Of Directing 'The Batman'

It's been clear for months that Ben Affleck has been less than thrilled about the attention on The Batman. While normally a lot of eyes on a project is a great thing, Affleck was justifiably upset that it took away from his gangster film, Live by Night, which then went on to dud at the box office and cost Warner Bros. about $75M.  Well now he doesn't have to worry over questions about directing The Batman anymore because it's out of his hands.

Affleck has agreed to back out of directing the superhero film, although he's still on board to star, produce, and help out with the story. At least according to him the decision was made so he could put everything into his performance, which is a fair thing to say although I suspect it goes further than that...

“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”

So that begs the question of who will replace him. The first thought that came to my mind was Gavin O'Connor, who worked with Affleck on the solid thriller The Accountant. Warner Bros. may want to go bigger, though. Perhaps David Fincher? What about Affleck's buddy, Matt Damon, who has been trying to get a directorial debut going for years? Lots of intriguing options out there. [Variety]


Viola Davis And Julia Roberts Reunite For 'Small Great Things'

Wow, it's going to be tough to top the Oscars prestige of these two. Oscar winner and current Oscar frontrunner Viola Davis, who just won the SAG Award last night for her performance in Fences, is set to team with past victor Julia Roberts on an adaptation of Jodi Picoult's popular novel, Small Great Things.

The novel has been described as one of Picoult's most important books, and somehow manages to tell a heartwarming tale dealing with white supremacists. Whoa, please tell me Roberts will be wearing a white sheet!  Here's the synopsis:

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

Oh, okay. Roberts is probably playing the public defender. Darnit. Anyway, a producer on La La Land, which has fourteen Oscar nominations and has earned over $200M worldwide, is attached to the project making this more of an instant Hollywood darling.  This won't be the first time Davis and Roberts have worked together as they starred in a an adaptation of Eat Pray Love in 2010.

It'll be interesting to see who they get to direct, but with Davis and Roberts they could probably hand it over to a sock puppet and things would turn out okay.

Mel Gibson Sought For 'Daddy's Home' Sequel, Proving His Comeback Is Complete

The comeback is complete for Mel Gibson. How do you know? Even more than earning Oscar nominations for Hacksaw Ridge is that studios are now willing to cast him in a mainstream comedy like Daddy's Home 2, a sequel to the hit Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg film.

According to Deadline, Gibson and John Lithgow are being sought for the film, although their roles aren't made clear. I can easily see Gibson as the equally aggressive pops to Wahlberg's character, and Lithgow as Ferrell's. This would be Gibson's first major comedic role since The Beaver in 2011, and that was supposed to be the movie to earn everyone's forgiveness. Didn't quite work out that way.

We'll see how this all shakes out. Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge is up for six Oscar nominations next month.  The original Daddy's Home earned $240M in 2015.

Marvel Announces Casting For New ‘Cloak And Dagger’ Show

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.  Last year it was announced that there would be a TV series on Freeform (Formerly ABC Family) titled Cloak And Dagger.  The show will focus on teenage runaways Tyrone "Ty" Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger) and they both discover their superpowers and fall in love as well.  Ty has the ability to draw energy from the Dark Dimension (from Doctor Strange) to feed a hunger, as well as use his cloak to teleport to any location he chooses.  Tandy has the ability to create light daggers.  The showrunner for the upcoming show would be Joe Pokaski (Underground), and it is expected for a 2018 release on the rebranded network.  For a little while, there has been no news on casting beyond speculations from fans as to who the duo would be played by.

Deadline reports that marvel just announced that Aubrey Joseph (The Night Of) and Olivia Holt (Kickin’ It) have been cast as Cloak and Dagger.  Here are the official character descriptions:

“Dagger: Once a privileged little girl, Tandy Bowen watched as her family was destroyed by a disastrous storm that uprooted her life. Now in her late teens, an unexpected encounter with a boy named Tyrone sparks a life changing event.
Cloak: Young Tyrone Johnson wanted nothing more than to prove he was fearless. But when everything he held close was taken away, life taught Tyrone to be afraid. Now older and more sheltered, Tyrone closes himself off. But when he meets a girl named Tandy his life changes forever.”
The co-production of Marvel Studio and ABC Studios are more than excited for their new cast.
“Marvel is delighted to have found our “Cloak & Dagger.  Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph encompass the true essence of the characters and we are excited for the audience to see them in these roles.” - Jeph Loeb, Head of Marvel Television and Executive Producer.
“The characters of Tandy and Tyrone have always stood out to me ever since I first met them in the pages of Marvel comics when I was a boy.  When Olivia and Aubrey read for the roles, these characters leapt off the page.  We’re so excited to see what these talented young actors bring to the Marvel Universe.” - Joe Pokaski, executive producer and showrunner.
The show will be based in a post-Katrina New Orleans and pitched as a romance between two people from opposite worlds who run into each other and begin to grow feelings for each other.  While the comic book origin of the characters has them getting their powers after taking an experimental street drug that gave them superpowers as a side effect, it’s assumed that Freeform will tone down the drug use angle and retcon their powers.

Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger will appear on Freeform in 2018.

Matthew McConaughey And Anne Hathaway Will Seek 'Serenity'

We're not ever likely to get an Interstellar sequel, so a reunion of Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey will have to suffice. The duo are set to star in Serenity, and before you get all freaked out that it's some remake of Joss Whedon's space Western, it totally isn't. It's the latest film from Steven Knight, the director behind Locke, Taboo, and writer of Eastern Promises.

Knight will be writing and directing this one, described as a "sexy noir" that tells  "a mysterious tale of a fishing boat captain whose past is about to crash up against his life on a small island in the Caribbean, ensnaring him in a new reality that might not be all it seems. "  Clearly a lot is being kept under wraps but it sounds like something paranormal is going on, and that could be very interesting coming from the pen of Knight.

That's a lot of star wattage so I expect big studios will be circling soon. [Deadline]

Dee Rees' 'Mudbound' Picked Up By Netflix

Of the many movies I saw at Sundance this last week there was only one that immediately screamed "Oscar contender", and that was Dee Rees' Southern drama, Mudbound. Surprisingly, the festival concluded without it picking up distribution, but there were a number of bidders throwing big dollars around to acquire it. Well now we know where the film will make a home, and it's over at Netflix.

Netflix acquired Mudbound for $12.5M, which is a huge chunk of change. Directed by Rees, the film stars Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, Garrett Hedlund, and Jonathan Banks in the story of two feuding families in post-WWII Mississippi.

Obviously, Netflix has visions of Academy Awards and will likely give it a release date to match. They've found a ton of awards success with their documentaries but in the Best Picture race it has been Amazon, who have Manchester by the Sea, who have really stepped up. Let's see if Mudbound helps Netflix turn that around because I really want it to do better than Beasts of No Nation.  You can check out my review here.

Attend A Free Screening Of 'A Cure For Wellness'

We're happy to offer our DC readers the chance to attend a free advance screening of A Cure for Wellness, starring Dane DeHaan and directed by Pirates of the Caribbean's Gore Verbinski.

Synopsis: An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa's miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure. From Gore Verbinski, the visionary director of THE RING, comes the new psychological thriller, A CURE FOR WELLNESS.

The screening takes place on Thursday, February 2nd at 7:00pm at Regal Gallery Place. If you'd like to attend, simply register at the Gofobo ticketing site here and download one Admit-Two pass.  Please remember that having passes does not guarantee entry and you will need to arrive early to ensure receiving a seat. Enjoy the show!

A Cure for Wellness opens February 17th.

'The Young Pope' Recap: S1E5: 'Fifth Episode'

Halfway through the season, The Young Pope seems on the verge of some acceleration.  The Cardinals have all been stuck in the Vatican, waiting for Pius XIII to address them directly, which he is almost ready to do.  But first we have some of the most melancholy, contemplative material the series has offered yet, and some teasing insights into Lenny Belardo’s past.

We start inside Pius’ dream of his parents in Venice again.  This time he stands as an adult at the dock as his parents’ boat drifts away.  In his apartment, Pius lays back on his bed, his head hanging off the edge.  The dream turns upside-down as the boat disappears into the distance.  The sad strings continue through the opening sequence, replacing the normal theme, and into a view of the stars over St. Peter’s.

Pius and Don Tommaso sit on the roof.  Pius tells him that God no longer lives somewhere in the big dipper, but has, in protest of the state of humanity, moved to a filthy studio apartment upstairs from a tire repair shop on the outskirts of town.  Tommaso tells the Pope that people have noticed his attentions to Esther.  The gossip is that they’re having an affair.  Pius tells him that he intends to start a revolution in the Church.

Another crate bearing the Vatican emblem is loaded onto another container ship.

Pius and Msgr. Gutierrez visit one of the Vatican museums, paying special attention to images of children.

Esther finds Pius in the gardens.  She tells him that people say he’s a saint, capable of performing miracles.  She unbuttons the bottom of her blouse to place his hand on her belly and prays the Hail Mary, her face nearly ecstatic.  Pius’ face wanders from curiosity to beneficence, and even to a flash of alarm.  She unbuttons the rest of her blouse and moves his hand upwards.

“Bingo,” says Cardinal Voiello, and his photographer’s telephoto camera snaps shot after shot.  Fr. Amatucci is perched with his telescope to read Pius’ lips, and somehow Esther’s despite her position turned mostly away from them.  Esther continues to follow Voiello’s directions, but Pius stops her, telling her that he became a priest because it’s so painful to love other people and, like all men and women religious, he is a coward at heart.  He cannot love her the way she wants to be loved.

As Amatucci relates this respose, Voiello tells the photographer to stop.  He seems to recognize something in the Pope’s words.

We cut to the young Lenny and Andrew running across the orphanage grounds, throwing their packs through the gates, and then climbing through themselves, running off across the road.  The young Sister Mary finds the pipe-stem that Lenny dropped just inside the gate.

The two boys carefully make their way past the custodian sleeping outside his house, and peek through the windows to see his son, Billy, inside theing to his mother in bed.  They continue down the dirt road away from the orphanage: Lenny eager and bright; Andrew nervous about the transgression.  Lenny cleans up a cigarette butt from the side of the road.  After a while, Andrew asks if they’re still going on.  Lenny doesn’t care if Sister Mary is upset; he wants to find his mom and dad.  Andrew stops and apologizes; he’s going back.

In the present, Mary again has the pipe-stem.  Pius visits Cardinal Dussolier in his room, and they reminisce about when they were kids.  Dussolier asks when the Pope will address the cardinals, but he demurs.

The Pope’s butler comes to Mary’s apartment at 3 A.M., telling her that the Pope and the Cardinal Secretary of State are both missing from the Apostolic Palace.  She says she’ll take care of it, and not to say a word to anyone.

Voiello, naturally enough, is with Girolamo, dozing on the couch, but roused when Mary rings the bell.  He invites her in, telling her she is beautiful at night, and introducing her to his friend.  She tells him that the Pope is missing, but he reassures her that all popes sneak out from time to time.  He reiterates his comment on her beauty, and then repeats Pius’ words about priests being unhappy.  Mary finds the sentiment beautiful and true, and Voiello reveals his source.

He goes on to admit that he had planned to entrap the Pope in a scandal, but he has had a change of heart.  He hands her a USB stick containing, he says, all the evidence that he collected, telling her that it’s safer in her hands than in his.  She was right: Pius really is a saint.

Pius and Dussolier, dressed in track suits, walk into a Roman hotel and ask the night concierge if he can sell them any cigarettes.  When he goes to look for some, they notice a woman walking into the empty bar and follow her.  She says they look like a couple of priests.  After some nervous laughter they deny it: “have you ever seen priests in track suits?”  “I’ve seen everything,” she replies with a smile.  She says she has clients who insist she is proof of the existence of God.  She denies being such proof — they only say as much because they cannot see very far — but she has seen far and has proof.  Pius begs her to show him.  She takes out her phone and takes his picture, zooming in on his eyes.  They, she says, prove God’s existence.  Pius and Dussolier leave, slightly shaken.

Again in flashback, Billy brings a cool washcloth to his mother’s brow.  Dussolier asks Pius if he remembers the time that Mary took them to see the custodian’s wife on her deathbed, but Pius doesn’t want to talk about it.  Dussolier pushes back, telling him it’s pointless to pretend that nothing extraordinary happened.  Pius only wants to talk about things he understands, like asking Dussolier to become Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy.  But that doesn’t seem to be the sort of position that would interest the missionary cardinal.

On a bridge, looking at the Vatican in the distance, Andrew confesses that he was watching when Lenny first came to the orphanage.  He remembers seeing his mother, thinking that she looked sad.  He never told his friend, because he thought it would cause too much pain when they were boys.  It still causes the Pope too much pain to remember.  They walk away through the early morning streets.

The young Lenny walks across a field, back towards the orphanage.

Sister Mary is waiting inside the Vatican gates, seeing her prodigal charges from a long way off.

Sister Mary is waiting on the steps of the orphanage with Andrew as Lenny returns.  “Did you want to run away?” she asks.  He offers a confused mixture of a nod and shake of his head before she hugs him close and brings him back inside.

Mary tells the Pope and Cardinal Dussolier that she hasn’t said anything to the Cardinal Secretary of State, and they thank her.

Workmen in the Vatican assemble a chair, as wimpled nuns play volleyball in the gardens.  Pius tells Gutierrez he is forgiven for talking about their conversations to Voiello, and for his alcoholism, and for anything else he might think he’s keeping secret.  Which is a heavy hint that there’s something else we don’t yet know about Gutierrez.

At dinner, Pius tells Sister Mary he’s not interested in the miracle she says he performed, but in the miracle of seeing his parents again.  He’s getting old, and they’re getting even older.  He’s not interested in seeing them dead; he’s only interested in the living.

Pius and Voiello watch the crate land on the helipad.  Voiello asks the Pope not to send Gutierrez to handle the Kurtwell case, first arguing the monsignor’s inexperience, and then revealing his alcoholism, which Pius already knew about.  He also reveals that he knows about Voiello’s plot against him.

As the two walk back towards the palace, Pius reads Voiello the riot act, as the cardinal sinks lower and lower in his shame.  He confesses his plot, and begs forgiveness, telling the Pope he has already destroyed all the evidence.  Esther watches them from across the lawn.

A messenger arrives to tell them that the papal tiara has arrived.  Pius tells Voiello to prepare the Sistine Chapel, where he will finally address the College of Cardinals.

And then, in the midst of an overall very serious episode, we get a much-needed hit of pure levity.  The cardinals gather, and Pius dresses in his most ornate vestments, all set to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It”.  He enters the chapel on a litter, resplendent in the full glory of his office, and prepares to begin his address.

In flashback, his parents walk him up the road to the orphanage, hanging well back from the gates.  He tells himself that they’re still behind him, and if he turns around they’ll still be there waiting for him.  He turns around.  They’re gone.  Andrew and Sister Mary are watching.

Pius tells the assembled cardinals that the Church will close itself off.  Evangelization and ecumenical outreach have been tried and rejected.  Tolerance has been evicted in favor of “a new tenant, who has diametrically opposite tastes in decoration.”  The Church will be a closed, fixed point, never looking to the outside world.  If this is a Church for the few, so be it.  He’d rather have a few fanatics in love with the Church than a great many mere hangers-on.  The Church alone possesses the divinely-ordained charisma of truth, and those who truly love the truth will come to it without being sought out and pandered to.

He presents them with a small golden door; the only way in is through this uncomfortably tight passage.  The Church, he says, must be inaccessible to those who are unwilling to subordinate themselves to their strict requirements.  What profit is there for a Church to gain the love and friendship of the whole world, if it lose its soul?  The “liturgy” — literally, the public work — will be work again, and not a mere social engagement.  Forgiveness will not come freely any more.

Pius does not expect this order to be met with applause, but merely obedience.  There is nothing outside that obedience but Hell, which he has spent the last few days building just outside that golden door.  He tells them that he does not negotiate, and cannot be blackmailed, looking pointedly at Voiello.

He puts forward his bejewelled, crimson slippers.  Cardinal Spencer stands, removes his biretta, and approaches, kneeling to kiss the Pope’s foot.  He is followed by Dussolier, and then Voiello, who hesitates until Pius pushes his shoulder down with the other foot.

Pius sits out on the lawn, Esther behind him, and spies the kangaroo.  He commands it to jump, and this time it does.  He seems to revel in this, coincidence or not.  Esther tries to confess her complicity with Voiello’s plot, but he stops her, telling her that only God needs to hear it.  All he can do is forgive her, always, as he told Gutierrez.  Even though that flies in the face of his assertions to the cardinals.

A nearby lily opens in the sun, and a breeze picks up.  “Holy Father, I feel it,” Esther says. “Yes,” he responds, “I feel it too.”  Voiello walks by and gives a small wave.  Pius nods in response.  Détente has been reached.

Late at night, Tonino Pettola, the self-proclaimed stigmatic, returns to his house, lit by dozens of votive candles, only to find the Pope and four cardinals waiting for him, tired of him “busting their balls”.

The 'Ocean's Eight' Ladies Catch A Ride In The First Official Image

While it's still a full 18 months away, Warner Bros. has decided it's never too early to get you excited for Ocean's 8. And what a better way to do it, than by revealing the all-star cast of thieving ladies together on the subway train. I don't recall Danny Ocean's crew slummin' it quite like this.

Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, and Mindy Kaling are all looking pretty sharp and somewhat lost in thought on the NYC subway system. That's a good way to miss your stop, just sayin'. Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, the sister to George Clooney's Danny, who puts together her own team of crooks to pull off an incredible heist at the Met Gala. Not pictured is Damien Lewis as the target and Matt Damon who is supposed to reprise his Linus Caldwell role from the prior movies. Expect a ton of celebrity guest stars, too, like the Kardashians, Katie Holmes, James Corden, and more.

Directed by Gary Ross, Ocean's 8 opens June 8th 2018.

James Franco Ignites A Revolution In New Trailer For 'In Dubious Battle'

Depending on your outlook, James Franco is either a serious artist who acts like a clown to pay the bills, or a clown who thinks he's a serious artist. Honestly, my opinion wavers depending on the quality of his latest effort behind the camera, which admittedly none have been very good. But along the way I do see markers of improvement, and having just sat through Franco's adaptation of John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle, I'd say he's never been more successful.

That's all I'll say for now until the review, but you can get a look at the dustbowl drama, which coincidentally is part of Steinbeck's "Dustbowl Trilogy"(probably the least recognized of them). Franco directs, writes, produces, and stars in the labor drama set in the Depression era as California apple pickers fight for their rights to a living wage. If you guess that "The Man" fights back hard and people start dying, then you guessed right.  Nat Wolff takes point on this one, joined by Selena Gomez (!!!), Bryan Cranston, Robert Duvall, Sam Shepard, Josh Hutcherson, Ahna O'Reilly, Analeigh Tipton, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ashley Greene, Zach Braff, and Ed Harris. When Franco needs to call in favors he isn't shy about it.

In Dubious Battle opens February 17th.

Dominic West Joins 'Tomb Raider' Reboot, Ethan Hawke And Noomi Rapace Head to 'Stockholm'

Producing has kicked off on the Tomb Raider reboot with Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft, but there's still room for one more key addition. The Wire's Dominic West has joined the film as Lara Croft's father, whose research she is attempting to complete so as to clear his name. Daniel Wu and Walton Goggins co-star with Roar Uthaug at the helm. Tomb Raider opens March 16th 2018.  [THR]

Ethan Hawke is reteaming with his Born to be Blue director Robert Budreau for Stockholm, a film based on the European city's 1973 bank heist and hostage crisis that gave rise to the psychological phenomenon known as "Stockholm Syndrome". Noomi Rapace is on board the film, as well, with shooting set to begin in April. Hawke gave one of last year's finest performances the last time he worked with Budreau so I'm expecting big things here.

Full List Of 2017 SAG Award Winners, Plus Watch Some Of The Emotional Speeches

The Screen Actors Guild held the 2017 SAG Awards tonight, and if you thought the Sundance Awards and the Golden Globes were political, you haven't seen anything yet. Certainly, the current political climate wasn't far from the minds of any of the winners and led to a number of emotional speeches. So look out for when the Academy Awards come around because it's guaranteed to get heated.

Of all of the winners on the movie side, the only big surprise was Denzel Washington winning Best Actor over the assumed frontrunner, Casey Affleck. With Viola Davis also winning Best Supporting Actress we could be seeing a momentum shift for Fences.

Check out the full list of winners below, followed by a couple of the more touching acceptance speeches.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
CASEY AFFLECK / Lee Chandler – “MANCHESTER BY THE SEA” (Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions)
ANDREW GARFIELD / Desmond Doss – “HACKSAW RIDGE” (Lionsgate)
RYAN GOSLING / Sebastian –“LA LA LAND” (Lionsgate)
DENZEL WASHINGTON / Troy Maxson – “FENCES” (Paramount Pictures) – WINNER

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
AMY ADAMS / Louise Banks – “ARRIVAL” (Paramount Pictures)
EMILY BLUNT / Rachel – “THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” (Universal Pictures)
NATALIE PORTMAN / Jackie Kennedy – “JACKIE” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
EMMA STONE / Mia – “LA LA LAND” (Lionsgate) – WINNER
MERYL STREEP / Florence Foster Jenkins – “FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS” (Paramount Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
JEFF BRIDGES / Marcus Hamilton – “HELL OR HIGH WATER” (CBS Films)
HUGH GRANT / St Clair Bayfield – “FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS” (Paramount Pictures)
LUCAS HEDGES / Patrick Chandler – “MANCHESTER BY THE SEA” (Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions)
DEV PATEL / Saroo Brierley – “LION” (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
VIOLA DAVIS / Rose Maxson – “FENCES” (Paramount Pictures) – WINNER
NICOLE KIDMAN / Sue Brierley – “LION” (The Weinstein Company)
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Dorothy Vaughan – “HIDDEN FIGURES” (20th Century Fox)
MICHELLE WILLIAMS / Randi Chandler – “MANCHESTER BY THE SEA” (Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
ANN DOWD / Abigail

FENCES (Paramount Pictures)
VIOLA DAVIS / Rose Maxson

HIDDEN FIGURES (20th Century Fox) – WINNER
MAHERSHALA ALI / Col. Jim Johnson
KIRSTEN DUNST / Vivian Mitchell
TARAJI P. HENSON / Katherine G. Johnson
ALDIS HODGE / Levi Jackson
JANELLE MONÁE / Mary Jackson
JIM PARSONS / Paul Stafford
GLEN POWELL / John Glenn
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Dorothy Vaughan

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions)
CASEY AFFLECK / Lee Chandler
KYLE CHANDLER / Joe Chandler
LUCAS HEDGES / Patrick Chandler


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series
RIZ AHMED / Nasir “Naz” Khan – “THE NIGHT OF” (HBO)
BRYAN CRANSTON / President Lyndon B. Johnson – “ALL THE WAY” (HBO) – WINNER

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
STERLING K. BROWN / Randall Pearson – “THIS IS US” (NBC)
JOHN LITHGOW / Winston Churchill – “THE CROWN” (Netflix) – WINNER
RAMI MALEK / Elliot Alderson – “MR. ROBOT” (USA Network)
KEVIN SPACEY / Frank Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
CLAIRE FOY / Queen Elizabeth II – “THE CROWN” (Netflix) – WINNER
WINONA RYDER / Joyce Byers – “STRANGER THINGS” (Netflix)
ROBIN WRIGHT / Claire Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
WILLIAM H. MACY / Frank Gallagher – “SHAMELESS” (Showtime) – WINNER
JEFFREY TAMBOR / Maura Pfefferman – “TRANSPARENT” (Amazon)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren – “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK” (Netflix)
JANE FONDA / Grace Hanson – “GRACE AND FRANKIE” (Netflix)
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / President Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO) – WINNER
LILY TOMLIN / Frankie Bergstein – “GRACE AND FRANKIE” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
THE CROWN (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR” (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
“DOCTOR STRANGE” (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
“JASON BOURNE” (Universal Pictures)
“NOCTURNAL ANIMALS” (Focus Features)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series


Box Office: 'Split' Puts A Leash On 'A Dog's Purpose', 'Resident Evil' Opens Big Worldwide

1. Split- $26.2M
Wow. If you're one of those still hatin' on M. Night Shyamalan for his string of duds a few years ago, it's time to sing a new tune. He now has scored two hit genre films in a row with The Visit and Split, the latter having earned a whopping $26M in its second weekend to maintain the top spot.  Overall the film has earned nearly $78M domestically and has topped $100M worldwide. It'll probably take a hit when fellow horror films Rings and A Cure for Wellness arrive in the next few days, but I think we can for certain that Shyamalan has found himself a new niche that audiences are really responding to.
2. A Dog's Purpose (review)- $18.3M
Any controversy about the mistreatment of animals doesn't appear to have hurt A Dog's Purpose, which opened with a steady $18.3M.  Granted, it was tracking higher than that before the video came out, but this was a $22M production with not a lot of big names (Dennis Quaid probably the biggest), just a lot of cute and lovable pups. Clearly that was enough.
3. Hidden Figures- $14M/$104M
4. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter- $13.8M
Like its sister Underworld franchise, Resident Evil has long been carried by international box office. Sony/Screen Gems could care less about what it does here, which is why they don't even bother to screen it for press anymore. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the sixth movie in the video game adaptation led by Milla Jojovich. only hit $13M over here but has $78M worldwide. See what I mean? While this is the "final chapter", it's tough to believe anybody who claims that (The Saw franchise is back after a final chapter, too) and there's too much easy money to be made on these.
5. La La Land- $12M/$106.5M
Believe in the Oscars bump! Just days after receiving a record-tying 14 Academy Award nominations, La La Land saw a 1200 theater increase and a bump of 43% at the box office, pushing it well over the $100M mark.
6. XXX: Return of Xander Cage- $8.2M/$33.4M
Unsurprisingly, one of Vin's secondary franchises has greater appeal overseas. XXX: Return of Xander Cage hobbled along to $8M and $33M total domestically, but has $55M internationally which ain't so bad.
7. Sing- $6.2M/$257.4M
8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story- $5.1M/$520M
9. Monster Trucks- $4.1M/$28.1M
10. Gold (review)- $3.4M
The McConaissance is over, ladies and gentleman. This marks two straight high profile duds for McConaughey after last summer's Free State of Jones. The mining thriller Gold never dug up any traction with audiences and it sorta felt like Weinstein just dumped it out there, perhaps because it didn't get any awards buzz.

'Avengers: Infinity War' Will Include Mantis From 'Guardians Of The Galaxy 2'

We already knew the Guardians of the Galaxy would be turning up in Avengers: Infinity War, but with filming now underway we're learning of another character from Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 who will be making the jump. Pom Klementieff, who plays Mantis, has confirmed via Instagram that she has arrived in Atlanta to be part of the big Avengers crossover.

A photo posted by Pomin8r (@pomin8r) on

Since we know Mantis has deep ties to Star-Lord's father, Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell), it stands to reason that he will also be joining her. We don't have any confirmation of that, though, and probably won't until a full cast list is released.

Avengers: Infinity War opens May 4th 2018. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 opens May 5th 2017.

Complete List Of Sundance Award Winners, Plus Watch The Ceremony In Full

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival has drawn to a close, and this might have been the wildest year I've attended yet. Not only were there too many great films to cover (as always), but we were practically drowning in snow, more snow than I've ever seen in Park City. Last week found the event (and the shuttle routes) taken over by the awesome attendees of the Womens' March, there were cyber-attacks that shut down the ticketing office, and power outages that wiped out a day's worth of movies for some folks. It was pretty insane, even for Sundance.

And it was all to get to last night's awards ceremony, hosted by the hilarious and talented Jessica Williams (of The Incredible Jessica James, reviewed here). As  you might expect, there were plenty of comments made about Trump and his Muslim ban, which is having a direct impact on certain members of the Hollywood community. I don't know if there were any true surprises out of the winners, but I was happy to see Macon Blair's directorial debut I don't feel at home in this world anymore. take home the Grand Jury Drama award, while Crown Heights was a bit of a shock in taking the Audience award.

Check out the full list of winners below, followed by the ceremony in its entirety. You can check out all our Sundance 2017 coverage right here!

Winner of the U. S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic – “I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore” ( review)

The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary: “Dina

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary: “Last Men in Aleppo

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic: “The Nile Hilton Incident

The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary: Chasing Coral

The Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic: “Crown Heights” (review)

The Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary: Joe Piscatella, “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower

The Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic: Ernesto Contreras, “SUEÑO EN OTRO IDIOMA (I Dream in Another Language)

The Audience Award: NEXT:  “Gook

The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary: Peter Nix for “The Force

The Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic: Eliza Hittman for “Beach Rats

The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary:  Pascale Lamache, “Winnie

The Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic: Francis Lee, “God’s Own Country

The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic: “Ingrid Goes West” (review)

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking: “Step

U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing: “Unrest

The U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Storytelling: “Strong Island

The U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award – The Orwell Award: “Icarus

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Cinematography: “The Yellow Birds” (review)

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance: Chante Adams In “Roxanne Roxanne” (review)

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Director: Maggie Betts for “Novitiate

A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Commanding Vision: “Motherland

A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award For Masterful Storytelling: “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography: “Machines

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Screenwriting: Kristen Tan, “Pop Aye

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Cinematic Vision: Jun Gen, “Free and Easy

A World Cinema Drama Special Jury Award for Cinematography: Manu Dacosse, “Axolotl Overkill


Date Night Gets PG-13 Naughty In New 'Fifty Shades Darker' Clip

This clip for Fifty Shades Darker encapsulates everything about these movies that doesn't work, at least for me. It finds Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan back as frisky couple Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, enjoying a date night that suddenly takes a turn when he tells her to "Take them off" right now. She does as she's told, and all sorts of R-rated naughtiness ensues, right?

Well, no. Instead it gets PG-13 steamy as they rush into a crowded elevator playing Taylor Swift and ZAYN's "I Don't Wanna Live Forever". While he feels up her leg, the faces Dakota Johnson makes are more comical than sensual. Meanwhile all I keep thinking is "They left before dessert?"

But then maybe that's why these movies aren't for me, and why we'll have two reviews of Fifty Shades Darker when it opens on February 10th. One will be from me, the other by author colleague Jen Scott who has a much deeper appreciation than I do.

Take A Ride Through East L.A. In First Trailer For 'Lowriders'

In the works for roughly seven years, the East L.A. car drama Lowriders is finally set to burn some rubber.  Any time there's a movie that attempts to delve into the car culture the natural reaction is to compare it to The Fast and the Furious, which began with similarly modest expectations. With movies aimed at Latino audiences hotter than ever right now, we could be looking at a sleeper hit this summer.

Starring an impressive cast led by Gabriel Chavarria, Demian Bichir, Eva Longoria, Theo Rossi, Melissa Benoist (She's popping up in some odd places, isn't she?), and Tony Revolori, the film is set against the vibrant backdrop of East LA’s near-spiritual car culture and follows the story of Danny, a talented young street artist caught between the lowrider world inhabited by his old-school father and ex-con brother, and the adrenaline-fueled outlet that defines his self-expression.

While the story looks familiar, that it boasts a screenplay by Kicks director Justin Tipping suggests there will be more to it than meets the eye. His script will be directed by Peruvian filmmaker Ricardo de Montreuil in his English-language debut.

Lowriders hits theaters on May 12th.

Trump's Muslim Ban Will Prevent Asghar Farhadi From Attending The Oscars

When Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti announced she would not be attending the Oscars in protest of Donald Trump's ban on visitors from seven Muslim countries entering the United States, we wondered if her director on The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, would do the same. While we don't know his feelings on the heinous Presidential order, we do know that it will affect him, and chances are he won't be able to attend even if he wants to.

According to the head of the National Iranian American Council, it has been confirmed Farhadi will not be able to attend the Academy Awards in which his film is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

While Farhadi will certainly be okay, the sudden ban has caused chaos for others, especially Syrian refugees who are now stuck at airports with no money or possessions.  Nevermind that of all the countries listed in Trump's ban none of them have been responsible for terror attacks on our soil, so the whole order is pointless.

It's possible an exception could be made for Farhadi, but again, he may not show up on principle. We'll see what happens.