"A Fantastic Woman"

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Orlando Reyes (Francisco) and Marina (Daniela Vegaare) are a couple that live together in Orlando's nicely furnished apartment. Although not yet married, there comes a sense in watching them that a next step is soon to come. However, what might be backtracking them from these plans are Orlando's ex-wife and children. Their main concerns are the age difference, Orlando looks to be in his late 50s whereas Marina cannot be more than in her mid thirties, and, more importantly, the fact that Marina underwent a sex change operation recently and was once a man doesn't help. 

Spielberg's "The Post" being screened for press in NYC, Los Angeles and Boston on 11.21.17

Much to my surprise, Steven Spielberg's "The Post" will be screening for Boston press next Tuesday. I will, of course, be in attendance. This does show a lot of confidence by the studio in regards to the quality of the film, but don't hold your breath. A week later, I will also be attending Paul Thomas Anderson's "Phantom Thread," and a week after is "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." Those are the missing links for the movie year, The dominoes are starting to fall into place. You can also count Ridley Scott's "All the Money in the World" which is supposed to reshoot Kevin Spacey's scenes, with Christopher Plummer replacing him, any day now. I don't expect that to screen until late December. 

Here's what I had to say about the Spielberg trailer last week:

Spielberg trailers don't do it for me. They tend to underwhelm. They are marketed for the mainstream crowd. "Lincoln" and "Bridge of Spies" are the best recent examples.  I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but I sure hope this movie is better than the paint-by-numbers melodramatic potboiler last week's released trailer made it out to be. The thumping drum/bell quick cuts felt cliche-ridden. My fingers are still crossed, but THOSE WIGS! blech.

LADY BIRD climbed to #6 on the box office charts on Thursday in just 37 theaters

Whedon vs Snyder Reshoots


Well, that was easy: New "All the Money in the World" posters "featuring" Christopher Plummer

Rian Johnson confirms that Star Wars: The Last Jedi's runtime is 150 minutes (credits included), making it the longest film of the franchise

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The anticipation is incredibly high for Rian Johnson's "The Last Jedi," so much so that the film's running time would make the news. Well, is 150 minutes enough for you? That's according to a website which deals with film distribution, so not some random rumor. The Source is Cineworld, which has been reliable in the past in revealing accurate, studio-fed info. If this is, in fact, the actual running time then that would make it the longest Star Wars film yet. Next longest? Attack of the Clones at 142 minutes. The original three films in the trilogy are the three shortest. "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" clocking in at 121 minutes, 124 minutes and 132 minutes respectively. Johnson is clearly swinging for the fences with this movie. As I've said before, he is the most talented filmmaker that has ever helmed a "Star Wars" movie, it's not even close.

Buster Keaton window cleaning

Who needed 3D in 1918 when you had Buster Keaton? 

Simple, yet brilliant, this is Buster Keaton's genius explained in just a few seconds. Slate's film critic (Dana Stevens) has been working on a book about Buster Keaton for some time. I'm really looking forward to reading it when it comes out. If you want to see absolutel cinematic insanity, watch "The General." That film, like most of Keaton's, is full of death defying stunts. That's why it's considered one of the greats of all-time, for my money better than any stunts Chaplin ever did. Keaton was probably the bravest actor in Hollywood history.

I do find it very hard to choose between Chaplin and Keaton. "The General" is an astounding technical achievement, even more so now 90 years after its release. "The Navigator" is also a delightful Keaton feature from 1924 that has aged magnificently well, ditto his love letter to cinema "Sherlock Jr." In fact, one of the reasons why Keaton might just surpass Chaplin in my books is that his movies have aged incredibly. The set pieces are brilliantly conceived and, as mentioned before, death-defying, especially when compared to the all-too-easy use of CGI today. Which is not say that Chaplin's films have rusted, there is still a stinging satirical punch to his films such as "Modern Times" and "City Lights," plus he himself was no slouch in terms of stunts. Keaton wins, but don't discount Chaplin's talent.

Matt Reeves wants Jake Gyllenhall to play Batman

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With rumors about Matt Reeves wanting to replace Ben Affleck for his “The Batman” swirling all over the internet today, here's another doozy, the director is already leaning towards a specific actor to replace Affleck. 
According to John Campea, Jake Gyllenhall would be Reeves' main choice to play the caped crusder. Not a far stretch as far as I'm concerned. Gyllenhaal is nine years younger than Affleck and would fit with Reeves' plan for a trilogy. This would also allow Reeves to not follow the DCEU storyline, which, quite frankly, is what we all want, but according to Campea is what Reeves wants as well. The Batman trilogy will be a standalone venture that wouldn't have anything to do with the current universe, most recently depicted in "Justice League." But, I'm thinking, a Zack Snyder-less DCEU will more than likely bring a lot more of these "standalone" affairs in the near future.
Source: Screen Crush

Denis Villeneuve says his "Dune" will be nothing like David Lynch's

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I wrote this a few weeks back in regards to "Blade Runner 2049" under-performing at the box-office:

"Folks, sometimes the stars don't align for a smartly crafted blockbuster. "Blade Runner 2049," despite incredible reviews, is crashing and burning at the Box-Office. You say "but $30+ million opening weekend, that's pretty solid" I say, the budget of the film, depending on who you speak to, was anywhere between $150-$170 Million. Its tally total of $82M so far just doesn't cut it. Despite the A- CinemaScore grade, and the 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes but what we're looking at right now is a risk that didn't pay off. A $150M art-house sequel to a cult film with a running time stretching close to the three-hour mark. How did we not expect this?"

Denis Villeneuve has finally sounded off on the lack of box-office success in an interview with with Yahoo Entertainment:

I’m still digesting it. We had the best [critics’ reviews]. I’ve never had a movie welcomed like that. At the same time the box office in the United States was a disappointment, that’s true, because those movies are expensive. It will still make tons of money, but not enough.

I think because maybe people were not familiar enough with the universe. And the fact that the movie’s long [its run time is 2 hours, 44 minutes]. I don’t know. It’s still a mystery to me. I make movies — I don’t sell them.

Clint Eastwood has now directed 14 movies after the age of 70, Has anyone come close to this at this age?

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Director Clint Eastwood has helmed fourteen movies since hitting the age of 70. Has any director come close to that feat at this late stage in their career? Yes, Woody Allen‘s nearly been there thirteen films post-70, but Eastwood is still making hyper-relevant films at the near twilight of his career and sometime breaking the box office in the process with something like “American Sniper.” Case in point his last two films: ‘Sniper and “Sully,” both of which had the classicism of old-school Hollywood filmmaking, and yet, felt vitally alive and current. The resonant theme that binded both was the cost of hero worship. Both films have male characters who feel isolated and flawed, despite being deemed heroes by those around them.


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The Criterion Collection seem to be in a Halloween type of mood, at least as far as their excellent slate of films, for February is any indication. There's George A. Romero‘s “Night Of The Living Dead.” the back into print: “The Silence Of The Lambs,” Satyajit Ray‘s “The Hero” and Kon Ichikawa‘s “An Actor’s Revenge,” Lastly, Louis Malle‘s “Elevator To The Gallows” gets the Blu-ray boost. and Tony Richardson‘s Best Picture winner “Tom Jones.

Tom Cruise is circling Quentin Tarantino's next film

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Tom Cruise's career has been filled with blockbuster hits, but the guy never really got his due as a discernibly talented actor, just look at his incendiary work in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" or Michael Mann's "Collateral" for further proof of the talent and artistry the guy has. The last decade or so, he's been crucified by many for his connection with the Church of Scientology and that has consequentially made him a less bankable star at the Box-Office, although those "Mission: Impossible" movies are still killing it as muckrakers. He also does his own stunts, just watch 2011's "Ghost Protocol," and 2016's "Rogue Nation" for further proof of the lengths Cruise will go to make an action sequence look authentic. 

Justice League's 46% Rotten Tomatoes Score Leaked

Despite the review embargo, and the last-minute decision by Rotten Tomatoes to delay the release of the RT score for "Justice League", the rating has nevertheless leaked on Flixster, which uses RT scores and is part of the same Fandango family RT belongs to. Flixter reveals that Justice League's RT score is, cue the drumroll, 48 percent. Surprising? Of course not. Reviews have so far been very mixed. Rotten Tomatoes will announce Justice League‘s score on Thursday at 12:01 a.m. PT. on their "See It/Skip It" show. Why the delay? Some are saying it is to promote RT's show, but others, like myself, believe that Warner Bros., which owns a minority stake in the RT, could have possibly pressured the movie aggregate website to delay it an extra day to reap box-office receipts on opening day.

Rotten Tomatoes delays release of its "Justice League" score, are they caving to pressure from the studios?

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We all know the cinematic experience is becoming too expensive for the general moviegoing public, not to mention that streaming sites such as Netflix are all but stealing cineplex money away. This leads to people becoming pickier and relying more on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic to make their decisions on a Saturday night flick. All of this has had studios panicking, instead of, you know, trying to make quality movies instead. A few Hollywood studios are even thinking of withholding critics from seeing their films, the lack of organized press screenings has risen over the past year or so.

New Poster + Review for Drama-Biopic 'Molly's Game' - Starring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, and Michael Cera - Written & Directed by Aaron Sorkin

I'm excited to watch Molly's Game again in the next few weeks, mostly due to the fact that I saw it at TIFF during a 5 movie day. It's always good to revisit a festival movie when you are a little more freshened up and not on countless deadlines, not to mention the lack of sleep that comes in watching 40 odd movies in the span of 10 measly days.

My 9.12.17 thoughts:

In Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut “Molly’s Game,” Jessica Chastain plays real-life “entrepreneur” and self-proclaimed “Poker Princess” Molly Bloom. The narrative structure recalls Sorkin’s masterful use of Rashomon-influenced storytelling in “The Social Network.” Going back and forth between Bloom’s rise, as she arranged secretive multi-million dollar poker games for the rich and famous at luxurious hotels, and her eventual fall that we witness in the opening sequence when FBI agents storm Bloom’s apartment arresting her for fraud, the film is an ambitious attempt by Sorkin to fully flesh out a fascinatingly complex woman. As in every Sorkin screenplay, the dialogue cascades at a frenetic pace, but Chastain nails each beat she’s given with a performance that’s sexy, smart and mesmerizing to behold. Once again, she’s the best reason to watch any movie she’s in. [B]

"The Invisible Man" premiered 84 years ago today

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15-20% Of ‘Justice League’ Is From Joss Whedon’s Reshoots

The extensive reshoots on “Justice League” saw some substantial changes made to the film. Jesse Eisenberg‘s return as Lex Luthor was reportedly axed, while the success of “Wonder Woman” sawGal Gadot‘s heroine apparently get more scenes and screentime. Even the overall tone was rumored to get a lighter makeover. However, when all is said and done, “Justice League” will be known for its clashing of two visions as the movie does truly feel like the work of two distinctly different filmmakers. You will likely read about this as the review embargo is lifted this week; the look of “Justice League” is truly Zack Snyder-esque, but his replacement, Joss Whedon, has positively added his vision to the film with his penchant for dry humor and feminist touches most definitely appearing on-screen as well. 

However, the question most people have had about the film is just how much of Whedon’s footage made it to the final cut. Gal Gadot tried to defend recent reshoots by saying the tone of “Justice League” couldn’t have changed all that much because the movie was already shot when Whedon was hired to come in for Snyder, who had to leave for personal reasons. As previously mentioned the final film is said to be a mix of both filmmakers sensibilities, but producer Charles Roven reveals just how much new material made it in:

“The goal is to make sure when you’re watching the movie, it all feels cohesive,” Roven told AP about the reshoots. “That imprint that Joss had, some aspect of it is going to come out in the direction, but the actors are already pretty much down the road on their arcs. Let’s just say 80, 85 percent of the movie is what was originally shot. There’s only so much you can do with other 15, 20 percent of the movie."

So only 15-20% of the film is Whedon’s according to Roven. It must have been real tough for Snyder to leave the project, especially with so much having already been shot. Roven knew this firsthand by stating that for Snyder “not being able to complete his vision was extremely difficult .” It’s so easy to get caught up with all this talk about rumors, but at the end of the day, what the WB wants with this movie is a positive reception. Yes, it has been concerning all these months to read about the turbulent journey this film has had leading leading up to this week’s release, but on November 17th, it’s audiences that will pass the final judgement on the film.