Pencils down

Disney recently announced that they would be shutting down the Magic of Disney Animation attraction at its Hollywood Studos theme park on July 12th. The attraction originally opened with the park in 1989 and allowed audiences to watch Disney animators in their natural habitat as they produced hand-drawn content.

In recent years, with Disney moving away from traditional animation more and more, the attraction served as a venue for a workshop that allowed young visitors to learn to draw their favorite Disney characters as well as learning more about how Disney characters and films were produced. An animation gallery that accompanies the attraction is set to remain open through August.

The change comes no doubt as a shift to retool the park and its many attractions. Aside from a new name for the park, Disney corporate is planning on replacing and creating many new attractions, with many Star Wars themed pieces planned.

It's a shame that even if The Magic of Disney Animation were to remain open, there's not much that would remain applicable to upcoming films from the studio with an entire roster of CG animated films lined up for the foreseeable future.

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Hateful Eight photo
Does this look like a bad photoshop?

EW is giving its Comic Con preview this week and that means it has a ton of new looks including all those first looks at Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Just slight less exciting (or more, depending on your opinion of superhero movies) is a new image from Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. The image shows off Kurt Russell as bounty hunter John Ruth and Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren in the snow doing western things like wearing hats and holding guns.

More important is that the image came with some words from the Tarantino himself, “I can definitely say that as bleak as our movie is, we are definitely the funniest snow Western ever made. This is funnier than The Great Silence, it’s funnier than Day of the Outlaw.”

We're all getting the joke here I hope. On a more serious note the director says the film owes more to TV westerns, like Bonanza, than cinematic ones. “You wait the whole episode to find out, ‘Are they a good guy or are they a bad guy?’ ” he says. “So I thought, ‘What if I did a story that was made up of nothing but those characters?’ So there’s no good guys. There’s no Little Joe.”

All I know is that I'm going to be waiting the whole Comic Con for this trailer to drop.

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London Has Fallen photo
London, london, londy they go down like

Although the two came out at the same time purely by coincidence, I couldn't help but prefer White House Down over Olympus Has Fallen. While Fallen gets more of the positive comments thanks to its break neck action, I liked the cheesier one. Anyway, that's not really important here. Fans of the action and Morgan Freeman are getting a sequel, London Has Fallen where London presumably falls somewhere. 

While this teaser doesn't show much, we do get some good stuff. It mainly confirms the original film's cast returning, but it's all taking place in Britain for some reason. Then there's the explosions, oh yes.

London Has Fallen hits the UK October 22 with a domestic release next January. 


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Transporter photo
That is definitely not Jason Statham

The first two Transporter films are some of my favorite examples of uber action, a kind of ridiculous fantasy world action that could only take place on the screen. Then the third one came along and things went down hill. Now they're rebooting the whole thing with not Jason Statham Ed Skrein and it looks pretty middling.

The trailer hints at some really stupid action (the good kind of stupid), but otherwise it just feels like this Skrein fellow is trying to do his best Statham impression while shots of Europe happen. Hopefully the film goes back to the series driving focused roots because it can't rest on the guaranteed charm of its lead actor anymore.

At the moment I can't decide which looks more generic, this or Hitman


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Also: Justice League loses del Toro

Let's face it – there are a lot of comic book movies out there these days, and they can have a tendency to dominate the conversation. With Comic Book Movie Roundup, Flixist hopes to consolidate some of the nerdy news of the last few weeks that might not warrant their own news posts (or might have fallen through the cracks) in a digestible, bite-sized format.

GENERAL ROSS WILL BE 'MUCH DIFFERENT' IN CIVIL WAR: In an interview with IGN, William Hurt – set to reprise his role as General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross next year's Captain America: Civil War – which offered the slightest bit of insight into how the character might fit back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to Hurt, Civil War's Ross will be "a new version" of the character moviegoers first met in 2008's The Incredible Hulk, and that he'll be "much different." Hurt said he likes the change, but hasn't "had a lot of time to understand it."

Civil War's massive, ever-growing cast, Ross' inclusion was perhaps the biggest head-scratcher. It's part of the MCU, but The Incredible Hulk is sort of the black sheep of the family – it's lackluster success compared to the first Iron Man and Edward Norton's split with Marvel after the film's release means references are kept to a minimum. After 10 movies of that, why bring back one of Hulk's primary antagonists? 

What's most interesting about this little bit of news isn't Hurt's vague statements themselves, but the rampant fan speculation surrounding them. See, for the last few years, Thunderbolt Ross has gone under a different alias in the comics – Red Hulk. As a part of his pathological desire to destroy Banner, he turned himself into the very thing he hated – something one might call "much different." So naturally, Hurt talking about "a new version" of his character is now has fans going crazy. Might Red Hulk find his way to the MCU? With no solo Hulk projects on the horizon and with Civil War packed to the gills with characters and villains already, it seems unlikely; then again, a few years ago Marvel fans would've said the same thing about Guardians of the Galaxy or even Avengers.


INTERNATIONAL ANT-MAN TRAILER HAS LOTS OF NEW, SPOILERY FOOTAGE: In a few weeks, we'll know whether the beleaguered Ant-Man is a gamble that paid off for Marvel and whether Paul Rudd will launch a fun new franchise or if he'll be relegated to bit parts in other characters' movies for his whole contract. In the meantime, we've got one last trailer to pore over, and it's got tons of new footage. Well, at least that's what we've read. We're avoiding this thing until the movie comes out – watch at your own risk. 


NEW SPIDER-MAN WILL FEATURE A NEW VILLAIN, A JOHN HUGHES VIBE: Kevin Feige is on record as saying the next Spider-Man movie will return Peter Parker to high school; the recent casting of youngster Tom Holland seems to bear that out. Talking to Devin Faraci of Birth. Movies. Death. during press events for Ant-Man, Feige took that a step further and compared the vibe of the new film to the greatest high school movies of all time: John Hughes.

“Just as we hadn’t seen a heist movie in a long time, or a shrinking movie in a long time, we haven’t seen a John Hughes movie in a long time," Feige said. "Not that we can make a John Hughes movie - only John Hughes could - but we’re inspired by him, and merging that with the superhero genre in a way we haven’t done before excites us.”

In that interview, Feige also revealed that Marvel is "interested in villains we haven't seen before." That's an interesting way to go – and probably the best route to take. That said, between five movies, a lot of the bigger, better-known villains have been taken off the board. Spider-Man has one of the best rogues galleries in comics, though, so there are still a bunch of baddies Marvel could use. You've got Mysterio, Chameleon, the Spider-Slayers, Kraven the Hunter...the list goes on. We're voting for Hydro-Man, ourselves. 

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FEIGE TEASES BLACK PANTHER'S CIVIL WAR ROLE; AVA DuVENAY MAY DIRECT SOLO FILM: Ant-Man press events lead to loose lips, it seems – again speaking with Devin Faraci, Kevin Feige discussed Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther and how that character factors into next year's Captain America: Civil War, explaining where he fits into the superhero rumble:

The reason we introduced him in Civil War is because we needed a third party. We needed fresh eyes who wasn’t embedded with the Avengers and who has a very different point of view than either Tony or Steve. We said, ‘We need somebody like Black Panther… why don’t we just use Black Panther?’ That’s how it went in the development process.

This indicates that T'Challa will play more of a mediation role rather than taking a position in the debate over superhero registration, which will divide the Avengers and pit Tony Stark against Steve Rogers. Feige also discussed why, up until now, T'Challa and the Wakandans have been relatively silent in the MCU, despite a number of earth-shattering events depicted in the movies:

 Today, pre-Civil War, post-Ultron I think he and his father are saying, ‘A bunch of vibranium just got out of here and wreaked a lot of havoc. Maybe we can’t stay behind these borders anymore, maybe we have to stick our heads out and make at least an attempt to be a part of the rest of the world right now, while at the same time protecting our people.’

Feige also implied that Black Panther will see T'Challa as a relative newcomer to the role, having inherited the mantle from his father, T'Chaka. 

Speaking of that solo outing, the rumor mill really got rolling last week when MCU Exchange reported that Ava DuVarnay had officially signed on to direct Black Panther. This follows weeks of rumormongering that the Selma director was in talks with Marvel to direct an upcoming feature, with most speculation leaning toward Black Panther or Captain Marvel. If true, this is extremely welcome news – the MCU has a desperate need for more diversity both in front of and behind the camera, and Black Panther needs a strong director if it's going to show moviegoers why T'Challa has long been a major player in the Avengers. That said, MCU Exchange's report comes with no attribution whatsoever, and no official announcement has been forthcoming in the days since the post went live, so take this with a huge grain of salt.


DOCTOR STRANGE WILL AVOID THAT WHOLE 'TIBET' PROBLEM: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's original run with the Sorcerer Supreme in the pages of Strange Tales in the early 1960s is weird and trippy and insane in all the best ways, and we're so excited to see how Marvel adapts that to the big screen with Doctor Strange. That said, the character's origin isn't the most...let's say culturally sensitive. The place where Stephen Strange gains his mystical abilities – a place called Kamar-Taj, steeped in stereotypical Tibetan mysticism – was a collection of Generic Asian Caricatures common to the time, and it's one of the those things that's hard to look back on without some wincing.

That's certainly true of Strange's mentor, the Ancient One, who in the original comics was the epitome of a racist stereotype. This explains Tilda Swinton being cast in the role (although there are issues of white-washing there), which Kevin Feige discussed with, yes, Devin Faraci. Feige said that Marvel tried to approach the Ancient One as a "mantle rather than a specific person:"

The sorcerers have been around for millennia, protecting us from things we didn't know about until this story. There have been multiple [Ancient Ones[, even if this one has been around for five hundred years, there were others. This is a mantle, and therefore felt we had leeway to cast in interesting ways.

When asked point-blank whether Tibet will play a role in the film, Feige said, "Not Tibet. Strange leaves New York in search of something and heads east." Presumably an "east" that's a little more realistic and more culturally sensitive than the original comics.

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GUILLERMO DEL TORO LEAVES JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: Bad news for anyone who was looking forward to the film based on DC Comics' darker and more mystical elements – Guillermo del Toro, who was attached to direct Justice League Dark, has left the project, The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week. The announcement comes as part of a larger shuffle of some edgier DC properties from Warner Bros. to New Line.

This isn't too surprising – del Toro has a tendency to bite off more than he can chew, which leads to periodic, heartbreaking announcements when he decides its time to clear the decks a bit. Del Toro has been a fan favorite for projects like this ever since he proved he could tackle weird monster comics adaptations like this with Hellboy, so even though this could have been predicted it still stings a bit. Oh well – at least we have Pacific Rim 2 to look forward to. 

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BvS HAIR photo

While we've seen hi-gloss production images of the Batmobile and Baldy McBaldbald's and the like, we've never got a good look at the actual film beyond that first limp teaser. But with this new batch of character images of Entertainment Weekly, we still don't have much to go on.

Gal Gadot is pretty (and maybe has a good back and forth with Affleck's Batman), Batman indeed has a bat signal in this universe too (and Ben Affleck claims his version is more mature than any in the past), and Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor has hair. I don't mind it since that first promo image of the character gave me a real skinhead vibe, so I'm assuming the image comes before either a big arrest or major events. Maybe that's the way he'll look through the film and'll be bald for the sequels. 

I guess we'll know for sure after the film hits March 25th next year. 

[via EW]

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Review: Magic Mike XXL

Jul 01 // Matthew Razak
[embed]219601:42455:0[/embed] Magic MikeDirector: Gregory JacobsRated: RRelease Date: June 25, 2015  You know how Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) got out of the grind (pun intended) and left to start his own furniture business at the end of the first film? Well, screw that. He's back. When the guys -- Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Tarzan (Kevin Nash), Ken (Matt Bomer) and Tito (Adam Rodriguez) -- show up in town on their way to a stripper convention Mike drops everything and joins them for one last ride. It seems that Dallas abandoned them so the group is breaking up, but not before one big fun trip to the biggest stripping event in Florida (a state I assume has a lot of stripping events). Plot kind of ensues and along the way the pick up an MC, Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith), hook up with Andie McDowell and see Michael Strahan perform a ridiculous strip. Who really cares, though. The point of this movie was clearly to push the mostly naked men and forget about the rest. The screenplay is paper thin and mostly consists of the gang of guys shooting the shit, which, in all fairness, is actually kind of entertaining. They're clearly ad-libbing a bunch and it lends some charm to a story that's non-existent. It also keeps you in on the joke so you don't have to care quite as much. Everyone seems to know why they're there and they're just having fun doing it. Unfortunately director Gregory Jacobs didn't get the fun memo and shoots the film like he's directing an art piece. He's trying to do his best replication of Soderbergh's direction from the original that he can, but it isn't the time or place and he doesn't have the skill. The strip numbers are a mess, sadly destroying a lot of the fantastic dancing pulled off by Tatum and his cohorts. The grand finale of abs, pecs and banana hammocks feels flat thanks to Jacobs' inability to build momentum or hold a scene together. What should be a bunch of fun starts feeling dragged out and sloppy.  Thankfully he can't crush the cast with his directing. Tatum is as Tatum does. The guy just oozes screen appeal and has actually pulled himself into a credible actor. Meanwhile Donald Glover joins the crew and delivers fantastically, though we never get the full abs show for him. The biggest surprise (pun still intended) is Manganiello) who takes a much larger role in the film and delivers wonderfully. Even Kevin Nash gets to talk a bit more this time around, which was nice of the filmmakers to do.  Sadly, the "road trip but with strippers" plot isn't enough to hold up the film from strip scene to strip scene, especially with the lackluster direction for those scenes. The guy's repartee may be fun, but everything else drags. There's attempted plot lines about love and life and moving on from stripping, but nothing ever clicks in any meaningful way. You get the feeling they're just saying this stuff because they had to put some more words into the screenplay. Every scene without men taking their clothes off feels wasted, except for Andie McDowell's cameo, which is fantastically dirty and fun.  That's really what you're going to see Magic Mike XXL for anyway so why care about all the rest? It is the equivalent of a Cinemax movie geared entirely towards showing mostly naked women off and it does that... except with men. If you want abs, strippers, thrusting loins and more dollar bills than you've ever seen before in a movie then Magic Mike XXL delivers. It's just too bad it couldn't deliver the entire package (pun totally intended). 
XXL Review photo
Abs-olutely what you expect

The first Magic Mike was a bit of a surprise. While it was obviously all about very in shape men dancing mostly naked Steven Soderbergh actually brought a little charm to it. The almost ad-libbed feeling the screenplay had worked wonders for Channing Tatum's charm, and it turns out Soderbergh can direct some dance sequences. The film went from dumb to fun surprisingly quickly.

Of course no one went to see it for that, but it helped that it didn't actually suck. We (men and women alike, though mostly women) went to see Magic Mike because... dear god, those abs. And Magic Mike XXL knows that, and so all the "story" is thrown out the window in favor of a road trip plot that simply gets us from one strip sequence to another. In short, it's what you wanted, but that doesn't mean it's as good.

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Creed Trailer photo
Gonna fly now, gonna fly forever

Everyone's got that one film franchise that means more to them than anything. Some have Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, and there's probably a few folks that really want more of Pixar's Cars. But me, I've got Rocky. When Rocky Balboa brought an end to the series, I was pretty devastated but understanding. It was over, and there was no more story to tell. Yet, here we are. 

This is the first trailer for Creed, starring Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, Apollo's son. While I didn't like Fruitvale Station too much, I'm fine with the director handling this. This is just such a well crafted trailer. It doesn't rely on Stallone's appearance (though seeing him re-up on the Balboa persona was enough to break me), and has a love for the Balboa mythos. It's got a great cast, Rocky is the new Mickey, and that mirror bit was classic Balboa. 

Creed releases on Thanksgiving Day. I'll be there. 


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NYAFF Review: Meeting Dr. Sun

Jul 01 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]219608:42457:0[/embed] Meeting Dr. Sun (Xingdong daihao: Sun Zongshan)Director: Chih-yen Yee Rating: NRCountry: Taiwan  Everyone knows the rule of threes. You can do a joke three times before it becomes grating. If done well, that repetition can make it amazing, but going beyond that just becomes frustrating. I don't know who who it came from, but I've heard it said that the trick to Family Guy's humor is that things become funny again after you've done them for the 27th time. It's funny, funny, funny, not funny, not funny, infuriating... kinda funny, funny, amazing. And that's kind of accurate. I'm sure there's something in our brains, probably a fear response, that tells us that eventually this thing that is making us uncomfortable with its repetition is actually something to be laughed at (again), lest we drive ourselves actually crazy. Whatever it is, it works. Sometimes. Meeting Dr. Sun really wants that to be true. Or at least, its editor does. Because apparently he left the editing bay after he put together his rough cut and someone walked by and shouted, "It's perfect!" Every single scene is too long. Every. Damn. One. You could cut at least 10 seconds from the end of every sequence in the film and it would only benefit the film. Most shots go on too long, and every joke definitely goes on too long, but sometimes they become funny again. Meeting Dr. Sun is a heist movie, of sorts. Some kinds can't afford to pay their class fees, so they decide to steal a statue and sell it for scrap. But they have to steal it. But because they're children (end of middle school/beginning of high school (or the Taiwanese equivalent of that), if I had to guess), everything is inherently very silly. As it's presented, there are no great stakes, and there are no serious dangers. It's not even really clear what it would mean if the kids didn't pay their class fees. (Here my American ignorance is probably at issue, though the film's dialogue makes it seem like it's not a necessity to get through the year.) The whole thing feels appropriately childish, and on some level the humor actually works like that as well.  Some years ago, I was having dinner with a friend and his extended family. His very young cousin wanted to be the center of attention, and so he said to said to his dad, "Hi mommy!" and everyone laughed. And then he went to every single person around the table (nearly a dozen of us) and said, "Hi mommy!" to all the men and "Hi daddy!" to the women. The first couple of times, it was adorable. By the time he got to me? It was infuriating. But the kid thought he was the cat's pajamas, and he kept doing it until his dad (thankfully) stopped him. He would have done another round of the table, I'm sure, because he didn't understand what actually made it funny, just that other people were laughing. And that's what the humor in Meeting Mr. Sun is like. I laughed pretty hard on multiple occasions, and some of the people around me laughed so hard I literally (not figuratively) thought they were going to die, but then once I'd moved on, the young kids onscreen wanted to keep doing the joke. They keep pantomiming or dancing or talking or moving or doing any of those other things that kids do, because... they're kids. What else are they gonna do?  That said, there's a weird, dark undercurrent about issues of socioeconomic class structures throughout the film. And while it's always there, it doesn't come up explicitly until the end, when it hits in a fascinating, mood-wrecking kind of way. And thinking back on the film through that lens, it's actually pretty seriously depressing; a (very) long sequence involving two characters trying to prove that their family is worse off is played for humor, sort of, but it's really very sad. At the time, that was in the back of my mind, but it didn't snap into focus until that moment near the end. But this theme seems so at odds with the comedic intentions of the film. Director Yee wanted us to laugh. But here was this grand theme about poverty and what it forces people to do, even on a small scale. And... we were supposed to laugh at it? I mean, I definitely did. I'm just not sure how I feel about having done so.
Meeting Dr. Sun Review photo
Child's play

In the two hours leading up to the US premiere of Meeting Dr. Sun, I saw director Chih-yen Yee speak twice. First was at a reception hosted by New York Taipei Economic and Cultural Office. The second was just minutes before the screening began. Both times, he said the same thing: "This movie is a comedy. You can laugh. You can laugh with the characters, or you can laugh at the characters, but please laugh."

I've interviewed multiple actors and directors who have told me that they're surprised by how animated American audiences can be. Even if Asian audiences love a film, they said, the response is much more muted. So while it's kind of sad to hear a director ask people to laugh at his movie, given the demographic at the reception and the screening, it made sense.

Fortunately for Mr. Yee, it didn't really matter if the Taiwanese moviegoers found the film funny, because there were a whole bunch of white people in the audience. And white people sure do like to laugh.

[For the next few weeks, we'll be covering the New York Asian Film Festival. More information can be found here, and all of our coverage can be found here.]

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Review: Terminator - Genisys

Jul 01 // Sean Walsh
[embed]218671:42029:0[/embed] Terminator: GenisysDirector: Alan TaylorRated: PG-13Release Date: July 1, 2015 We all know the story: Savior of humanity John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to prevent a terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from killing his mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) before John is born. However, Kyle finds himself in a very different situation shortly after his arrival in 1984. What follows is a bit of timey-wimey shenanigans that only the Terminator franchise can provide. To say any more than that would really ruin the surprise. Do be warned going forward, however: I will say a little more. Fair warning. First off, you can barely tell that Arnold Schwarzenegger is sixty-seven years old. The man's charisma is absolutely infectious and seeing him in the leather jacket and sunglasses that made him a household name is like coming home again or putting on your favorite, well-worn pair of shoes. He's perfect. He's a finely-aged wine. He's Arnold Goddamn Schwarzenegger. He delivered every one of his lines with a delightfully robotic wit and I could honestly spend the rest of the review just talking about his performance but that's not very fair to the other people involved. While she's no Linda Hamilton (is anyone?), Emilia Clarke does well as the new Sarah Connor. She's a lot more well-adjusted to her situation than the Sarah Connor of yesteryear and is more than capable of protecting herself. Jai Courtney, who has come a long way since being super duper bland in A Good Day to Die Hard, is our Kyle Reese and I'll be honest: I'm for it. He didn't break new ground or completely change my movie-going experience or anything, but he was a sturdy male protagonist and when you're starring opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, that's all you can ask for. Jason Clarke's John Connor was dark, brooding, and scared (inside and out) after thirty-someodd years of fighting Terminators and he really sold it. These four are joined by Matt Smith in a brief but significant role that was blissfully kept under wraps (unlike many other facets of the film courtesy of the bastardly second trailer) and J. K. Simmons in a more substantial but similarly all-too-brief role as a detective. Finally, and I would be remiss to forget him, Lee Byung-hun of I Saw the Devil and G. I. Joe fame plays the new T-1000. He is menacing and carried that same icy cool Robert Patrick had in T2: Judgment Day. I was really very surprised with the effects in Genisys. I expected them to look good but I'll be damned if they didn't look great. All of the Terminators and other Skynet enemies looking amazing, the liquid metal looked real and, most importantly, the battle between present-day Arnold and circa-1984 Arnold was incredible. To my admittedly untrained eye, there was zero uncanny valley and he looked fantastic. Springboarding off of the effects, the action was almost non-stop. From the final assault on Skynet in 2029 in the beginning of the film, the movie GOES. The aforementioned fight between two Arnolds, a handful of car chases, a pretty excellent battle against the T-1000, and a wonderful final battle; all of it was great. I don't think I rolled my eyes during any of these sequences and after the last two films, I think that's a very good thing.   The score was good but honestly, what else do you need to hear other than DUN-DUN-DUN DUN-DUN, DUN-DUN-DUN DUN-DUN in your Terminator movie? Most important, of course, is the writing. I don't want to say too much because of all the moments where I wish I hadn't seen that stupid second trailer or any TV spots or heard any ads on Spotify or seen half of the films' posters, but what I will say is that it was an awesome movie full of twists and turns and fortunately some surprises, which is impressive considering how hard they tried to ruin it with spoilers. There's some fun time-travel stuff and at one point i was like "Oh, it's like Terminator meets 12 Monkeys," but then I realized that 12 Monkeys utilizes more or less the same time-loop that Terminator does. If you think too hard about the time travel stuff your nose may bleed and you might feel the vein in your head start to pulse uncomfortably but if you take it for what it is, it's a lot of fun. And lest I forget the most important factor: Genisys has a completely logical explanation for its inclusion in the title. There's a lot of callbacks to the first two films, many of which are a little more subtle than you'd expect. I found myself fist-pumping and quietly cheering many times over the course of the 126-minute runtime. The only real complaint I have about the story is there are a small handful of unanswered questions, but as Nick reported last September, we've got two sequels coming our way. Mr. Valdez can rest easy knowing that, in this humble reviewer's opinion, Genisys is absolutely good enough to warrant sequels. Will this film stand the test of time like the first or second films? Maybe, maybe not. Is it better than the third and fourth films? Absolutely. Am I excited for the sequels? You bet your shiny, metal asses I am. As far as summer movies go, this is one of my favorites in a long, long time. If I didn't know any better, it may well be my favorite film of 2015 (so far, mind you). I went in to this film expecting it to be awesomely bad and I left it singing its praises over and over. If nothing else, I would like to publicly apologize for anything negative I said about it in the months leading up to last night (excepting the awesomely horrific EW pictures). tl;dr: Go see Terminator: Genisys. 
Terminator Genisys Review photo
Old. Not obsolete.

Based on the stupid title, initial plot description and Entertainment Weekly photos, I was a little more than skeptical about Terminator: Genisys. Even though the synopsis had many, many things I loved in it (time travel, Emilia Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, alternate timelines, Emilia Clarke), it sounded too goofy to possibly work.

Then I saw the first trailer (see below) and started to change my tune. I happened to sort of stumble upon the fact that the movie was out this weekend yesterday evening and plied my best friend to come see it by offering to pay for his ticket. Butts in seats for the very first showing of Genisys, I was prepared for disappointment.

I...was not prepared for what Terminator: Genisys had in store for me. Not even remotely.

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Snowden photo
Remind me why we're excited?

Oliver Stone's recent work hasn't really lived up to the man's classics, but the guy loves to make films about controversial current events (W., World Trade Center) and his next one takes on Edward Snowden, in the aptly named Snowden. Above is the first teaser trailer for the film, which seems appropriately dark and moody for a Stone film. 

It's pretty clear what side of the hero/villain line that Stone is going to fall on here, but keeping things objective isn't really an Oliver Stone quality anyway. There's no actual footage of the film in the trailer, but we did get our first official look of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden that you can check out below. It'll be interesting to see if Stone can pull himself out of his decades long funk to deliver a film that is truly worth the story it's covering.


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James Gunn confirms Guardians of the Galaxy sequel title

Jun 29 // Matthew Razak
[embed]219607:42453:0[/embed] [embed]219607:42454:0[/embed]
GoTG 2 photo
It's clever, but also dumb

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Get it? Because the tape in the first movie was Volume 1 and then he opened the second one at the end and... awww, you get it. 

Gunn confirmed the title after Kevin Feige accidentally leaked it to Collider. They used the stealthy tact of asking him a question and letting him ramble on. Works every time.

This basically reveals nothing except the convincing me even more that the second film's soundtrack has to be really frickin' good because it'll be nearly impossible to compete with the first one's.

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Vertigo photo
This doesn't really affect you

Here's some big news that actually has no bearing on you at the moment. WB is shifting film's based on DC's Vertigo line of comics to sister studio New Line Cinemas. This means that the likes of the Sandman film and the Preacher movie will be handled by a different studio than say Superman. 

It makes sense. The Vertigo line was all about pushing boundaries and originally rarely had anything to do with the main DC line of comics so why should the films? New Line as of late has been doing edgier horror and comedy stuff anyway so it makes sense for them as a studio as well. It shouldn't really effect you as a film goer except what logo you see before the movie and maybe a bit of a smaller budget for these films. 

No word on whether this means that any Vertigo films will take place outside of the DC cinematic universe. 

[via Deadline]

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New movie might also star Chris Pine

Hopefully y'all aren't still sore about the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern film from 2011 – Warner Bros. is sure as heck moving forward with another movie starring the intergalactic space cops as part of its shared DC movie universe, and we're starting to get some hints and rumors as to what that movie might look like. Most recently, Fast & Furious and Transformers star Tyrese Gibson has hinted that he might be involved.

Gibson has been open about his desire to be involved in the new film, in which he would play John Stewart, a Green Lantern of Earth perhaps best known among the masses, unfortunately, as being "the black one." A few days ago, the musician-turned-actor posted this on Instagram:


That image – almost surely fanart and not official Warner Bros. promotional material – does certainly seem to suggest that some other rumors surrounding the reboot might be true. One is that Green Lantern will star more than one character – apparently Stewart and the classic Hal Jordan, who Reynolds portrayed in the original. Also, Jordan seems to be depicted here by Chris Pine, who has long been rumored for the role (what, if anything, that might mean for Pine's supposed involvement in Wonder Woman remains to be seen).

Talking to ET, Gibson suggested that there have been official talks about his involvement. "I had a meeting at Warner Bros. and certain things were said and talked about," he said, also teasing a possible Comic-Con announcement: "I might be there on the other side of an announcement."

This seems about as close as an official announcement as one can get without an official announcement, unless Gibson is making a big play to get a role he doesn't have locked down yet. Warner Bros. has Green Lantern scheduled for 2020, although one or both of the characters rumored to be starring may appear in DC film before that (perhaps one of the Justice League movies planned for 2017 and 2019).

If these rumors are true, this strikes us as a good thing – if nothing else, the involvement of John Stewart in the mix (played by Gibson or otherwise) is a no-brainer. That character played a major role in the Cartoon Network Justice League series and its follow-up, Justice League Unlimited, meaning an entire generation of superhero-lovin' kids grew up with him as "the" Green Lantern. It would be nice to see that character anchor a movie on his own, but the potential involvement of Hal Jordan would certainly evoke the idea of Green Lantern as a police force and not just an individual hero, especially considering there have been several Earth-based GLs running around for decades. If he is playing Jordan, Pine can definitely pull off the good-and-he-knows-it arrogant swagger needed to really sell the character (a trait buried under about six levels of snark in Reynolds' portrayal). We're still skeptical after the original movie, but maybe the second time is the charm for Green Lantern.

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Uneeded Sequels photo
It should be Tw3ns

Every time someone brings up the proposed Twins sequel, Triplets we just kind of nod our head and smile. It really isn't clear if anyone outside of Arnold and Danny DeVito want it to happen so the assumption was just to pretend like it would for their sake. Evidently, it really is if Eddie Murphy's excitement about it is any indication (which it shouldn't be because that guy gets excited for some really bad movies).

Arnold spoke with Howard Stern about it saying, "“Now we are talking about a sequel, where we find out at the funeral of our mother, that when we read the will, that there’s three of us. Eddie Murphy is going to be the third one and so they go, ‘How did that happen’ Theres an African American coming in here and all of a sudden he’s our brother. So we go to do the research but he can only get the money if we find him, so now we have to get him involved.”

Evidently Mruphy is fully on board if the script gets ironed out, but the last we heard was that the Josh Gad written screenplay wasn't moving forward and the entire thing was on hold. Evidently it's just be polished. 

[via /Film]

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DBZ Trailer  photo
Super Saiyan God Super Patti Mayonnaise

With a new Dragonball TV series taking up after the events of this film, I'm pretty pumped for Dragonball Z: Resurrection of F. The sequel to last year's Battle of Gods where Goku achieves the "Super Saiyan God" form that comes with reddish hair, Resurrection of F debuts Goku and Vegeta's new form, the blue haired Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan. 

This is getting out of control. 

This latest trailer is for the US release, so it comes complete with English voices. The cast I remember is mostly all here, though Frieza's voice doesn't sound quite right to me. Either way now that he was revived thanks to the Dragonballs and Goku is super strong, I'm sure the animated fights are going to be spectacular. Dragonball Z: Resurrection of F releases in August. 


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Rogue and Magneto, together again

Love it or hate it, last year's X-Men: Days of Future Past was notable if only for the fact that it found a way to take six films' worth of tangled, messy continuity and streamline it. The movie featured appearances from a lot of characters from across the X-Men franchise, but there was one who was notably absent. 

Anna Paquin's Rogue, a major player in the first three films in the franchise, was heavily promoted as appearing in the lead-up to the movie's original release, but she only appeared in a brief cameo. Not long after the movie's release, director Bryan Singer revealed that Paquin's role was originally much larger, but most of her scenes were cut. Enter X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut, a new version of the movie that restores those scenes. In the leadup to the new cut's direct-to-video release, 20th Century Fox have released new images from the film featuring Paquin, confirming that, yeah, Rogue plays a big role in a movie called The Rogue Cut. You can peek the images below. 

Basically, at one point in Days of Future Past, the time-displaced Wolverine goes into a mild fit of berserker rage and injures Kitty Pride, the mutant responsible for sending and keeping his consciousness in the 1970s. In the theatrical cut, this is used primarily as a source of tension in the future scenes, leaving the audience to wonder whether Kitty will be able to fight through the pain long enough for Wolverine to finish his mission. The Rogue Cut plays things a little differently – Kitty's injury spurs Iceman, Magneto and Professor X to mount a prison break to spring Rogue, who can use her power-absorbing abilities to play pinch-hitter for Kitty. As alluded to above, those scenes were ultimately trimmed for length and pacing. The theatrical cut was just over two hours long (131 minutes), while The Rogue Cut ends up being closer to two-and-a-half (148 minutes).

The images are a small offering to whet the appetites of fans who are eager for a new version of one of the franchise's best movies. One image appears to feature Rogue in a lab in whatever futuristic hell-prison she's trapped in, while another depicts Rogue and Magneto apparently in the midst of the prison break. That second image does allude to some potentially interesting scenes, though – those two characters have a long history in the X-Men movies; the entire plot of the first film focused on the X-Men fighting to protect Rogue from Magneto's Brotherhood. X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut drops on July 14, just a couple of weeks from now.

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Aaron Eckhart to star in real-time action film Live!

Jun 25 // Matthew Razak
Aaron Eckhart Realtime Movie ‘Live!’ Press Release AARON ECKHART SET TO STAR IN THE SOLUTION ENTERTAINMENT GROUP’S ACTIONER “LIVE!”JOINS TOP ACTION DIRECTORS DARRIN PRESCOTT AND WADE ALLEN’S PICPIC MARKS FIRST DEAL IN MULTI PICTURE RELATIONSHIP WITH EQUITY FINANCIER FUBAR FILMS Los Angeles, CA (June 25, 2015) – Aaron Eckhart (OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, THE DARK KNIGHT, upcoming BLEED FOR THIS, MY ALL AMERICAN and Blumhouse/Universal’s INCARNATE) is set to star in the high concept action film LIVE!, it was announced today by producers Myles Nestel (THE NOVEMBER MAN, LAGGIES), co-founder and partner of The Solution Entertainment Group and Skip Williamson (UNDERWORLD franchise, GAMER, CRANK) of 5B Artist+Media. The Solution is producing the film, which will begin principal photography in October.  Onboard to fully finance and co-produce is Fubar Films, headed by producer Colin Bates (MAGGIE). Executive producers are Fubar Films’ Peter M. DeGeorge, William Stetson and Lindsey Howery.  The Solution’s Lisa Wilson and Craig Chapman and Sentient’s Christopher Tuffin and Renee Tab are also executive producing the film.  LIVE! marks the first picture in a multi-picture collaboration between Fubar and The Solution.  The Solution is also handling worldwide sales on the project. Written by Jeremy Drysdale, LIVE! will be co-directed by award winning second unit action directors/stunt coordinators Darrin Prescott & Wade Allen (JOHN WICK, INSURGENT, DRIVE, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, 2 GUNS) who will make their directorial feature film debut. Shot in real time, the original script tracks disgraced cop, Kyle Penny (Eckhart), on his hunt to rescue Police Commissioner Volk’s kidnapped daughter, trapped somewhere in the city with only 80 minutes to live.  A deranged killer on his heels, Penny’s only hope is teaming with Ava Brooks, an ambitious young online reporter who films the wild chase live. “There are very few independent action movies being made and this one truly kicks ass,” said producer Nestel. “We’re thrilled to have Aaron star as he will bring an intensity and authenticity to the role of Kyle Penny that will elevate the material to another level.  And with Darrin and Wade at the helm, LIVE! will set the bar for today’s action audiences.  We are so excited that this is the first project that we are partnering with Fubar on and look forward to this being the first of many!” “Having worked shoulder to shoulder with Darrin and Wade on several action films over the years, I could not be more amped to watch them in the director’s chair where they will bring out many of the stunts and action sequences they have always wanted to do,” added Williamson.  “Teaming them with a true actor of Aaron’s caliber will create something the action crowd will love.” On behalf of Fubar, Colin Bates added: “We are thrilled to be coming onboard LIVE! and to join forces with The Solution in the first of many co-productions. The intensity and uniqueness of the script combined with the talents of Darrin, Wade and Aaron make for a sure fire success.” Aaron Eckhart stars opposite Miles Teller in The Solution’s highly anticipated boxing biopic BLEED FOR THIS.  Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, the film will be released by Open Road Films. Eckhart is also starring in MY ALL AMERICAN which will be released in the fall, as well as Blumhouse/Universal’s INCARNATE.  Eckhart’s previous credits include playing Harvey Dent aka “Two-Face” in Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed and worldwide box office sensation THE DARK KNIGHT and OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN with Morgan Freeman and Gerard Butler. He will reprise his role in the sequel, LONDON HAS FALLEN, coming to theatres in January 2016 through Focus Features. Eckhart was nominated for a Golden Globe for his leading role in THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. Eckhart is represented by CAA and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof + Fishman. Prescott and Allen are managed by Cory Brennan at 5B Artist+Media.  
Time = Real photo
No ones done it better than High Noon

Here's an interesting concept for an action movie: real-time. OK, so that's been done plenty of times, but Aaron Eckhart's new film, Live!, doesn't just take place in real time it's being shot as such. That's right. The production claims that the entire film will be shot entirely in real-time, meaning either one long take or multiple cameras capturing the action to later be edited together.

We're guessing that there will be a few flubs here and there where the camera sneakily cuts as Hitchcock did in Rope, but who knows, they could go all out Russian Ark on us and do the entire thing in one shot. That sounds incredibly complicated for an action film, but the selling point wouldn't really be there if they cheat. 

Helping out is the fact that the film should only run about 80 minutes as that's how long the police commissioner's daughter, who Eckhart's character is tasked with saving, has to live. Damn police commissioner's daughters; always getting kidnapped. Check out the full release below. 

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Assassin's Creed photo
Still no word on casting for hay carts

Yes the Assassin's Creed movie is actually happening this time we promise. With Michael Fassbender behind it and Marion Cotillard all signed up, plus promotional posters announcing the release date of December 21, 2016, there's no way they can back out of it now. That means more casting news as well. 

Alicia Vikander left the film last week and she's being replaced by Ariane Labed. We still don't know what role they'll be playing, but we can assume it'll be some sort of love interest because that's how Hollywood do. 

There's plenty of mythos for director Justin Kurzel to hop into here and if any game franchise could be changed into a movie it's Assassin's Creed. What's unclear is how closely it will all follow the games. Will we be hopping back and forth in time or simply playing it straight in the past? For my money I don't think they need dual story lines. They may have played an integral part in the game, but it just isn't as important in the film. Ditch em' I say.

[via Deadline

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Spider-Man in Civil War photo
No word on the red and gold spider-armor

As I speculated in yesterday's post, rumor had it ol' Web-Head would be appearing in Captain America: Civil War before he got his own movie. Today, it's official.

This makes loads of sense, as Spider-Man is a major part of the Civil War comic mini-series. If the cinematic Civil War will be even remotely like its comic counterpart, expect Pete to sign up with Iron Man, make the biggest mistake of his life (see the header image), realize that Stark and the Pro-Registration (or whatever they're fighting over) can go kick rocks, and then switch to Cap's side.

At this point, Cap 3 may as well be Avengers 2.5, and it's getting dangerously close to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice levels of overstuffed with characters. Even so, I'll still be first in line for the first showing in my awesome Civil War propaganda T-shirt.

Captain America: Civil War is due out May 6th, 2016. Which is, of course, LESS THAN A YEAR AWAY.

All aboard the Marvel hype train. 


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London Has Fallen first look reminds us move exists at all

Jun 24 // Matthew Razak
The sequel to the worldwide smash hit “Olympus Has Fallen,” a non-stop, suspenseful action thriller that delivers high-octane excitement through a heightened sense of authenticity. The visceral intensity springs from a timely premise: after the British Prime Minister passes away, his funeral becomes a target of a terrorist organization to destroy some of the world’s most powerful leaders, devastate the British capital, and unleash a terrifying vision of the future. The only hope of stopping it rests on the shoulders of the President of the United States (Aaron Eckhart) and his formidable Secret Service head (Gerard Butler), and an English MI-6 agent (Charlotte Riley) who rightly trusts no one. Morgan Freeman also stars as the Vice President of the United States.
All fall down photo
Takings best on London Calling playing

For me Olympus Has Fallen was a completely forgettable movie, but evidently for Hollywood it was a film where you make a sequel and that's because it made money. We have our first look at that sequel, London Has Fallen, and it features Gerard Butler returning as entirely forgetable Agent Mike Banning. He's beating someone up. 

In the sequel Banning is accompanying the President (Aaron Eckhart) to London when everything starts blowing up all over the place. You can read the full plot below, but it's basically the same as the first one except this time people will say football instead of soccer. Sadly, Antoine Fuqua isn't returning to direct as he's the one that probably saved the original, but Babak Najafi is taking over and his Easy Money films were on point.

London will fall on January 22, 2016, which is a delay from the film's original release date of Fall 2015. That's always a good sign.

[via Empire]

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Batman photo
If anyone was going to follow Nolan...

Heavy rumor on this one as it comes from Latino Review who has a hit or miss history on these things, but they're reporting that Ben Affleck will be directing The Batman. The film is the next Batman movie after Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the second in Affleck's three movie contract as the character. Latino Review also claims that Agro collaborator Chris Terrio is being courted to write the screenplay.

It's been heavily rumored that this was part of his deal from the start, or at least the option to write and direct was. It makes sense that Terrio is writing as he's on board for both Justice League movies and worked on Batman v. Superman

Latino Review is also reporting that Chris Pine is being looked at to play Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern reboot, which may feature two or three Green Lanterns (Jordan, Guy Gardner and John Stewart). Again, all this is a bunch of conjecture so it may not pan out at all, but with DC seemingly finally getting its act together on screen we may know far sooner than Green Lantern's 2020 release date would imply. Maybe even this year's SDCC?

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Paranormal 5 trailer  photo
Despite the dumb name, this looks okay!

The trailer for the sixth and apparently final Paranormal Activity is here, and you know what? It looks...pretty good, or at least not terrible.

With a box full of old VHS tapes, one sweet mustache and a heretofore unseen camera that allows our victims protagonists see ghosts through its lens, a pair of brothers tries to solve the decades-long mystery behind the paranormal activities.

I'm really glad we'll see more of Katie and her sister as kids, as the third film was easily my favorite (especially compared to the abysmal clusterfr*ck of the fourth film). The added element of the magic camera that can see ghosts seems like it has potential, and Jason Blum assures us that this film will answer all our questions. Considering Paranormal Activity 4 gave us more questions than answers, I'm all for that.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (ugh) comes out on October 23rd, just in time for Halloween! What do you guys think of the trailer? Is it possible to give this franchise a satisfactory conclusion?


[via Comic Book Resources]

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Hopefully he plays the giant lizard

It's something of a pop culture truism that it's impossible to make a good – or even competent – movie based on a video game. That doesn't stop studios from trying, of course, probably thanks to the fact that the Resident Evil movies have been successful enough to justify a baffling number of sequels. Next up is a live-action adaptation of the arcade classic Rampage. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is set to star, trading in fighting casts and earthquakes for fighting giant monsters punching buildings (probably; we assume he isn't starring as one of the monsters, though that would be incredible).

Plot details of the film – which will be produced by New Line and Beau Flynn – are scarce, and there's not much to go off of looking at the source material. The original game, which first debuted in arcades in the 80s and in several permutations on home consoles since, primarily puts players in the shoes (so to speak) of a giant monster terrorizing cities, mostly by punching buildings. Smart money puts Johnson in the role of a military man or police officer or average Joe trying to put a stop to this – wait for it – rampage, but we suppose anything is possible.

The movie is set to begin production next summer, with a script to be penned by Ryan Engle and a director yet to be named. Though production begins next year, it's hard to say when they'll actually start filming the thing. Johnson has a full slate ahead of him – he's currently starring in the HBO series Ballers, and he's set to appear in Fast & Furious 8 and Central Intelligence, as well as that Big Trouble in Little China remake. 

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#IDR photo
We don't need now stinking commas

Independence Day 2 now has an official title: Independence Day Resurgence. There's no colon there so it is in fact July 4 that is having a resurgence, and not a subtitle. Punctuation aside this title fits in pretty well with what we've heard about the plot and also is a bit meta in that an old franchise is coming back to life. 

Along with the title naming came some pictures. There's one of director Roland Emmerich doing direct-like things and there's one of the ol' Moon Tug, which is a vehicle of some sort. Finally you get a title image, which is an image of a title. But that's not all! They've put the title in motion. Can you believe it? Motion! The future is now. 


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Tom Holland cast as Peter Parker for Marvel's Spider-Man reboot

Jun 23 // Sean Walsh
Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios are proud to announce that after a full worldwide casting search, Tom Holland will play Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the next Spider-Man film, in theaters in IMAX and 3D on July 28, 2017.  The film will be directed by Jon Watts, director of “Cop Car,” the upcoming thriller that made its debut earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. Marvel and Sony Pictures, and producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal conducted an extensive search for both the actor and the director.  The studios and producers were impressed by Holland’s performances in “The Impossible,” “Wolf Hall,” and the upcoming “In the Heart of the Sea,” and by a series of complex screen tests.  Following Marvel’s tradition of working with the brightest next wave of directors, Watts also went through multiple meetings with Feige, Pascal, and the studio, before winning the job. Commenting on the announcement, Tom Rothman, Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group Chairman, said, “It’s a big day here at Sony. Kevin, Amy and their teams have done an incredible job.  The Marvel process is very thorough, and that’s why their results are so outstanding.  I’m confident Spider-Man will be no exception.  I’ve worked with a number of up-and-coming directors who have gone on to be superstars and believe that Jon is just such an outstanding talent.  For Spidey himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom’s screen tests were special.   All in all, we are off to a roaring start.” Feige commented, “As with James Gunn, Joss Whedon, and the Russo brothers, we love finding new and exciting voices to bring these characters to life.  We spent a lot of time with Jon and find his take and work inspiring.” Pascal added, “Sony, Marvel, Kevin and I all knew that for Peter Parker, we had to find a vibrant, talented young actor capable of embodying one of the most well-known characters in the world.  With Tom, we’ve found the perfect actor to bring Spider-Man’s story into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Sony Pictures will finance and release worldwide the next installment of the $4 billion Spider-Man franchise on July 28, 2017, in a film co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the Web-Slinger. Spider-Man, embraced all over the world, is the most successful franchise in the history of Sony Pictures, with the five films having taken in more than $4 billion worldwide.
Tom Holland is Spider-Man photo
Miles Morales was a longshot, anyway...

I liked The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel a lot. I was hyped for the Venom and Sinister Six films Sony was talking about. Then, I was SUPER-PUMPED when it was announced Marvel wheeled and dealed their way into sharing the rights of my favorite web-head. While I was 100% Team Miles Morales, I knew deep down that it was unlikely that Marvel's Spider-Man would be anyone but Peter Parker.

That being said, we now have confirmation that Peter Parker will be played by Tom Holland. If you're like me, you're not really sure who that is. IMDb informs me he's been in a handful of films including Locke, The Impossible, and How I Live Now, all films I have regrettably not seen

I'm pretty lukewarm on this, partly because I think Andrew Garfield makes a great Spider-Man. That being said, I would never have expected Chris Evans to nail Steve Rogers like he did or love Bradley Cooper's Rocket Raccoon until I saw him in action. Marvel's got a stellar track record in my book, so I'll reserve judgment until we see what Spidey's got when the new, as-yet-untitled Spider-Man reboot on July 28th, 2017 (or if the rumors are true, next year in Captain America: Civil War).

In other Spider-Man news, largely unknown director Jon Watts (director of the Eli Roth-produced Clown, which I somehow didn't even know came out until just now) will be directing.

If nothing else, it can't be worse than almost everything about Spider-Man 3, r-right guys?

You can read the press release below.

[via Comics Alliance]

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Video Games photo
Come watch the entire film

A word of warning before you click play: this is like one of those trailers that gives away pretty much all of the movie. The first trailer for Hitman: Agent 47 actually got me a little excited for the film if for no other reason than it looked like some absurd uber-action in the vein of films like Crank, but this second one lays everything out. It still looks like dumb fun, but they totally ruin half the one-liners.

As far as the film to video game adaptation goes it has Agent 47 in a suit with a red tie and he's killing people so there's that. There's a lot of promise in a Hitman film series if they can pull it off right, but the last one didn't quite do it and it looks like they're just going for dumb action this time around. I'm all for dumb action, but I wish with this franchise they pushed for a bit more because it's there and Rupert Friend seems to be able to pull it off.


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M:I 5 photo
Tom Cruise still on plane

If you hadn't been convinced that Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation was going to one of the more balls out crazy films of the summer (and it's already been pretty balls out crazy) then the newest, and most likely final, trailer for the film should convince you. It's the best look we've got of all the action sequences in the movie and it looks stellar. And yes, that is actually Tom Cruise strapped to the side of that plane.

Honestly this one tops all the previous trailers if only because it actually uses the theme music well. That's been my only gripe so far with what we've seen and here it's taken care of. July 31 is almost here so we don't have to wait much longer. 


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David Tennant joins animated Chew adaptation

Jun 22 // Matt Liparota
Imagine we've come up with a really clever Doctor Who pun to start this thing off here, because David Tennant, the former (and enduringly popular) star of the long-running BBC adventure series has signed on to lend his vocal talents to an animated adaptation of Image Comics' Eisner Award-winning series Chew, created by John Layman and Rob Guillory. Allons-y, and whatnot! Chew focuses on FDA agent Tony Chu (played by The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun). Chu has a unique ability called cibopathy – in short, he sees the entire history of every single thing he eats, a skill he puts to use as a detective investigating food-related crimes. In the comics, he also finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy related to a deadly plague and a ban on eating chicken, though it's unclear how much of that (if any) will appear in the film. Tennant will voice Mason Savoy, Chu's stocky partner. Tennant was not the first choice for the role – Savoy was originally to be portrayed by the late Robin Williams, an admitted fan of the series. The role was recast after Williams' death in 2014. Tennant and Yeun will star alongside geek icon Felicia Day, thereby rounding out Chew's nerdcred trifecta. Day plays Amelia, Chu's love interest and a young woman who has the ability to make anyone who reads her food criticism experience the flavors she writes about. Day has reportedly already finished recording her part in the film.
Insert Doctor Who joke here
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How to Do It BETTER: Howard the Duck

Jun 22 // Sean Walsh
1. Send Howard to Earth When we last saw him, our stalwart protagonist (who would be voiced once again by Seth Green) was hanging out in Knowhere with Benecio del Toro's Collector and Cosmo the Space Dog. That's all well and good, but Guardians really has captured the market on Marvel's space-y real estate, and with Captain Marvel's Kree background, we'll assuredly get more space stuff there. Howard would be swallowed up surrounded by other extra-terrestrial characters and locales. So, naturally, we need Howard "trapped in a world he never made." That world, of course, is Earth. A surly, walking, talking duck on a planet of talking mammals is full of potential humor.  2. No Origins, Please Why spend two and a half hours dealing with where he came from when you can tell a wacky story (more on that below) out of the gate? Just do like The Incredible Hulk did and get that all out of the way in the opening credits. Even his trip to Earth can be told during the opening titles. Hell, Guardians 2 could deal with that. The film should start like a film noir, with Howard staring out the window of his crappy private eye's office drinking a glass of scotch, doing his best Jon Hamm from Mad Men. If you have to do an origin, have him narrate it to the audience during this opening scene. 3. Cast the Right Redhead If we're going to go the private duck (ha!) noir direction, you need a dame. In walks Beverly Switzler, played by gorgeous redhead Jane Levy (Suburgatory, the Evil Dead remake). Levy is funny, sharp as a tack, and certainly worthy of the "of all the run-down private eye offices in New York, she had to walk into mine" treatment. We'll remove the 'nude' from 'nude model' on her resume, but make her pretty enough for Howard to recognize and even lust after. You see, Beverly's photographer boyfriend Chuck has gone missing down in Florida and she needs help finding him. But why come to Howard the Duck all the way in New York? Well, you see, there are some weird circumstances to his disappearance. Something about a swamp, a monster...something a normal private eye wouldn't take seriously. Howard So you came to the one PI in New York City that's a talking duck? Beverly nods. Beverly Yeah, exactly.  Howard looks down at his feet. Howard (exasperated) Waugh... 4. Give Them Their Very Own Groot! So, Beverly pays Howard's fees and the two set a course for Florida, flying first class (jokes abound). They arrive in Florida, drive out to the small, backwoods town where Beverly's boyfriend was last seen and Howard does his detective thing. Naturally, it is an uphill battle as he is a talking duck in a small swamp town. But eventually, he gets a lead and they make their way to the swamp where Chuck vanished. Of course, not before an old man warns them both of the swamp monster that protects his territory. Crazy Old Man It's some sort of...thing...that walks a man! Howard rolls his eyes. Howard Like, a Man-Thing? The old man eagerly nods, his eyes wide. Crazy Old Man Just like a Man-Thing! Disregarding the old coot, the two make their way to the swamp. It isn't long before they come upon the Man-Thing in all his mossy glory. Howard quacks in fear and pulls out his pistol, which causes the creature to reach out for him. Beverly, she of the steel nerves, puts herself between them. The creature isn't there to hurt them, she tells Howard. Its simply there to protect something. She explains to the Man-Thing that they are looking for her boyfriend, Chuck. The creature, it seems, understands her, and leads them further into the swamp. Think Groot, just without the whole "I am Groot" thing. Also, if you're wondering what the connection is betwixt our feathered friend and a giant plant golem is? Well, fun fact: Howard the Duck first appeared in issue #19 of Man-Thing's original comic, Adventure Into Fear, and the two have crossed paths on numerous occasions. It seems only right to bring them together for the first time on the big screen. 5. Expand the Universe(s) Now, I'm sure Dr. Strange is going to make the MCU a little bigger, but if there's one thing that Marvel has in spades (besides Spider-People, line-wide crossover events, and D-list villains), it's alternate realities. Deep in the heart of Man-Thing's swamp lies the Nexus of All Realities. We don't know what it's called yet, of course, but that's what it is. Before they discuss what it is, something comes out through the other side. Something weird. A vampire ninja, maybe. Or a cybernetically-animated superhero corpse (a la Deathlok, specifically from the Uncanny X-Force arc full of Deathlok heroes). Man-Thing quickly dispatches of the visitor with its massive strength and corrosive touch. Beverly Does that...happen a lot? The Man-Thing nods. It would seem, Beverly deduces, that Chuck fell into the Nexus. Howard informs her that he is not getting paid enough and that his own reality is weird enough. Beverly offers to triple her fee and our hero gracefully accepts. Howard, Beverly, and their new friend Man-Thing step through. Things get...weird from here. 6. Give Them a Familiar Bad Guy in a New Context The trio of unsuspecting heroes find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a war zone. A paltry resistance is crushed by giant war machines, all of which are marked with the HYDRA insignia. HYDRA troops surround our heroes. Howard H-hail HYDRA? A HYDRA trooper tazes him into unconsciousness. When Howard awakens, he and Beverly are in a high-tech prison cell. Man-Thing is gone, but who should be locked in the cell next to theirs but Chuck (played by someone hunky and relatively popular, like Robbie Amell or the Teen Wolf guy)! Reunited at last, but under fairly dismal circumstances. A guard comes to take them away. But not just any guard. It's Ward from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! That son of a gun. He has come to take Howard to HYDRA's labs to be dissected. It is at this point, upon the cell being opened, that Howard is finally able to display one of his greatest talents: Quack-Fu. He quickly and easily dispatches Ward and frees Chuck. Beverly is clearly impressed by his martial arts prowess but Howard shrugs it off, the consummate cool cucumber. He wants to escape, but Beverly insists they can't leave Man-Thing behind. Howard goes to object, but she points out that it's their ticket home. Guessing that the monster is in the laboratory, the three make their way there. Along the way Chuck tells them about the reality they're in. Back in the 40's, the Red Skull successfully defeated Captain America, and using the power of the Tesseract, took over the world. There are no heroes (even the Asgardians had fallen to the might of the Tesseract) and aside from pockets of resistance like the one we saw upon their arrival in this reality, HYDRA is the world of the day. But Red Skull is not in charge anymore, no sir, his most trusted adviser, Arnim Zola (the ineffable Toby Jones), betrayed him, killed him, and took control of HYDRA and subsequently the world. Now, obviously this is to get around the Red Skull, Cap, and the rest. But that's not to say that Ward would be the only cameo, no sir. 7. Make It a Great Escape Their suspicions are correct: Man-Thing is on the cutting table. The two scientists operating on him? Why, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, also from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In this reality, they, like Ward, have German accents as a result of HYDRA's global control. The trio watch them bicker briefly before taking them out and freeing the Man-Thing. Unfortunately, Simmons triggers an alarm before Beverly can knock her out. A whole squad of HYDRA goons storms the lab and it looks like our heroes are done for. But then the Calvary arrives, literally. The wall explodes and The Resistance has arrived, led by none other than Phil Coulson himself. With him are Melinda May (possibly having become Deathlok herself), Antoine Triplett, Alphonso "Mack" MacKenzie, Inhuman Daisy Johnson (Quake, if you're nasty), and her father Cal, along with a whole squad of rag-tag resistance members. Howard Who are you? Coulson We're S.H.I.E.L.D. Howard What's that stand for? Coulson Been a little busy trying to liberate the world from HYDRA, haven't had a lot of time to think up acronyms. With Daisy's abilities, Howard's Quack-Fu, Man-Thing's brute strength, and Coulson's leadership, they make short work of the HYDRA forces they come up against. But it isn't long before they come up against the big man himself, Zola, and his number two: an unscarred Crossbones (total badass Frank Grillo). Zola has taken on his familiar form in the comics, a face on a monitor on a robot body. Zola and Coulson exchange words and a big climatic fight ensues. In the fracas, Crossbones is scarred by Man-Thing but left alive (mirroring his fate in Cap 2), Howard very nearly sacrifices himself to save Chuck and Beverly from Zola, and finally, Zola is defeated. However, the war against HYDRA isn't over. This was just one of Zola's many bodies and as a digital consciousness ("cut off one head" and all that), he's already up and at them elsewhere. The only way to truly defeat him is to find his central consciousness and destroy it. On the bright side, S.H.I.E.L.D. has a Helicarrier now. Coulson offers Howard, Chuck, and Beverly spots in S.H.I.E.L.D. Howard and Beverly decline, but Chuck accepts. Beverly pleads with him to change his mind, but Chuck says he found his calling. They share one last kiss and everyone says their goodbyes. Man-Thing teleports Howard and Beverly to that reality's swamp and they go through the Nexus. Howard could teleport this whole time? Man-Thing shrugs its shoulders. Howard (frustrated) WAUGH! 8. Give It A Happy Ending Howard, Bev, and Man-Thing are back home. Howard and Beverly bid farewell to their jolly green friend and make their way back to civilization. Beverly is obviously still very broken up about Chuck. Howard tries to find the words to comfort her, but gives up and takes a different route. Howard Hey, Bev? Beverly (sniffles) Yes, Howard? Howard You wanna grab a drink at that bar we stopped at earlier? Beverly The one you almost got murdered in? Howard shrugs. Howard After almost getting turned into roast duck by a Nazi robot with a TV for a face, a couple'a bikers don't seem so scary in retrospect. Beverly thinks about it. Beverly You know what, Howard? That sounds really nice. My treat. She reaches out a hand as they walk. Howard stares at it for a moment and then takes it in his. He looks at the screen and smiles. Howard (happily) Waugh. 9. Get the Tone Right We're talking about a sarcastic, angry duck-man here. If anything, Howard the Duck should be a dark comedy first, with action and adventure thrown in to give the audience what they want. People can accept a super-soldier, tech genius, and hunky Norse god. A talking duck detective is going to have it a little harder. There's all sorts of humor and pathos to be found in Howard's trials and tribulations, and sticking him in the middle of a warzone is sure to have plenty of comedic opportunities. 10. Get the Right Director Obviously, James Gunn would be my first choice but he'll probably have a pretty full dance card by the time Avengers: Infinity War Part II has come and gone. It would be important to have somebody fully capable of big, over-the-top actions scenes, humor, and noir. Honestly, there's only one name on my least: the unlawfully handsome Robert Rodriguez. He has pretty stellar range and experience with the aforementioned areas between films like Planet Terror, Machete, and Sin City. Sure, next to Edgar Wright he is my favorite director, but there are plenty of good reasons for that. 11. Make the Mid and Post-Credits Scenes Matter  Sure, this is a Howard the Duck movie, but it can still lend itself to good world-building. I think it's more or less universally agreed that Iron Man 2 is one of the weakest links in the Cinematic Universe's chain (I, myself, liked it just fine), but I'll be damned if people didn't lose their minds when they saw Mjölnir in the desert. For the mid-credits scene, show us the result of Howard and Bev returning the the bar. Have them both looking exhausted with their beers, then slowly pull away to reveal a bar-full of unconscious bikers. That's Quack-Fu, baby. Then, after the credits? Maybe return to the other reality. Arnim Zola blinks to life in a new body, as predicted. He reflects to himself that maybe his time on Earth has come to an end and activates a device. A wormhole opens. Zola smiles. Arnim Zola Next stop: Dimension-Z. He enters it and the wormhole closes behind him. Cut to black. Dimension-Z is a world dominated by Zola in Rick Remender's Captain America, where Steve Rogers ends up in for over a decade. Of course, Rogers won't be Cap anymore by the time Howard the Duck rolls around, but there's no reason we can't adapt the storyline to accommodate for Buck Barnes, the new Captain America (with an 11-movie contract, it's pretty obvious he won't be the Winter Soldier forever). It's a fun dystopian story full of action, adventure, and mad science. We certainly haven't seen anything like that yet from Marvel Studios! Just imagine: Captain America: Escape From Dimension Z! 12. Can't Forget the Stan Lee Cameo! Since Stan the Man is immortal, obviously he will make a cameo complete with requisite one-liner. Maybe as a drunk biker in the first bar scene or the guy in the cell on the other side of Howard and Beverly's! I can see it now: Howard looks over at the cell on the other side of his. An OLD MAN with a black eye sits on the prison cot. Howard What happened to you? A grin washes over the man's face. Old Man You should see the other guy! So, there you have it. That's how you make a Howard the Duck movie. Lots of laughs, lots of surly sarcasm, lots of action, a liberal dose of easter eggs (Howard: Yeah, we're on an adventure, Adventure Into Fear!), and Marvel makes another few hundred million. Aside from Howard's CG, there's not a whole lot in the way of budgetary drains, especially working largely with television actors. Despite his decades of relative obscurity, people are already aware of Howard courtesy of Guardians, which is a big step in the right direction. In the hands of a capable director like Rodriguez, with a cast consisting of Green, Levy, and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and Kyle Maclachlan, that beautiful son of a gun), Howard the Duck could be Marvel's next Guardians.  Did I just write the pitch for the first new movie of Phase Five? Am I way off base? Think your Howard the Duck idea is better than mine? Sound of in the comments.
HTDIB: Howard the Duck photo

[How To Do It BETTER takes a look at films that already exist that could use the tender love and care only a reboot can bring. Some were good, some were...not. Either way, Flixist takes an in-depth look at how to make it better the second time around.]

When writing the 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies I'd Love to See That Will Probably Never Happen, I talked myself into a pretty awesome Howard the Duck film idea. The original is not remembered fondly, and from what I remember it's with good reason. But with his resurgence in the after-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy, a new ongoing series, and a world where everybody loves wacky off-beat characters like Deadpool, the world really is this walking, talking duck's oyster.

Here's how to make the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Howard the Duck.

[Warning: there are some spoilers for some Marvel Studios films below]

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