Jackie Chan thought 'Rush Hour' was terrible when he first saw it

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After Chan wrapped Rush Hour, he told his manager he would never do another film like it again. “That’s a terrible movie,” Chan recounted saying. “They don’t allow me to do my own style [of action]. The English, I’m not good. Chris Tucker’s English, I don’t understand. Terrible movie!” He sat there dumbfounded as moviegoers laughed through the premiere. “Why are they laughing, I just don’t understand,” he thought.

Full Synopsis Revealed for Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Phantom Thread’

Is there a film that I am more looking forward to this holiday season than Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Phantom Thread"? The answer is, quite obviously, no. PTA is the current master of cinema, despite the mixed reaction his last movie, "Inherent Vice," received back in October of 2014. I dug it, for the most part, minus Owen Wilson's scenes. "The Phantom Thread" reteams him with his, newly retired, "There Will Be Blood" star Daniel Day-Lewis. The actor supposedly retired to become a fashion designer, which is the trade the character he plays in "The Phantom Thread" does for a living. We can expect the usual Johnny Greenwood score, best in the biz alongside Trent Reznor as far as I'm concerned, and the odd decision for PTA to be his director of photography in the film.

If there's been a film that's been kept in utter secrecy this year it is no doubt this movie. We know absolutely nothing about it and yet we can't wait to see it. In fact, plot details, images, stills and trailers have been kept at a complete zero. Suffice to say, "The Last Jedi" has got nothing on PTA's top-secret film. 

Well, Guess what? We finally have some kind of synopsis and it isn't vague or cryptic, it's an actual synopsis! 

"Set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love. With his latest film, Paul Thomas Anderson paints an illuminating portrait both of an artist on a creative journey, and the women who keep his world running. Phantom Thread is Paul Thomas Anderson’s eighth movie, and his second collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis."

There are rumors the film is currently cut at a running time of 195 minutes and that the goal is to trim it down to 165 or so minutes. I recently spoke to someone close to production that said to think of this film as the better, more mature, and artful version of "Fifty Shades of Grey," to which I politely responded "WTF!?" 

The trailer has also been rated, which means that it must be coming soon. Maybe next week?

“Phantom Thread” opens on December 25th.

Darren Aronofsky says his favorite review of ‘mother!’ is Rex Reed proclaiming it "the worst movie of the century,”

Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky has most definitely become the most hunted man in movie culture this last week. His controversial “mother!” has caused a volcanic stir in the mainstream by bewildering, provoking and flat-out infuriating movie audiences nationwide (and some media to boot) with its non-conventional narrative, shocking images and frustrating loop of a story. That’s fine, adventurous moviegoers have, at the very least, mostly appreciated what Aronofsky went for with this film; it’s hard for any of us to really complain about a studio movie taking the kind of risks “mother!” does even if you think it subjectively fails. 
Best of all the reviews however was Rex Reed's scathing pan of the movie, in which he proclaimed in his review for The Observer “I hesitate to label it the ‘Worst movie of the year’ when ‘Worst movie of the century’ fits it even better." Yikes. Sadly, that's a sentiment that many mainstream audiences I've spoken to, more or less, agree with Rex on. 

Darren Aronofsky has however proclaimed that Reed's review was his favorite to read, which tells you so much about the man and how open-minded he really is. He clearly wanted this kind of reaction to his film and it worked. He wanted to polarize the masses and have them screaming at the screen from their comfy seats, here he is talking about Rex:

I mean, my favorite on ‘mother!’ is Rex Reed called it the worst movie of the century,” Aronofsky said. “For me, [that] is a victory. I mean, finally I got to the top of the list. You know, he hated ‘Black Swan‘ [which] was an ugly duckling for him. I remember somebody telling me that. I don’t really read reviews. I try to avoid them. It’s very hard to avoid everything in this world. You hear the conversation because of all the different types of ways we get media in this world. But, I’m not that concerned about that stuff. The job of the filmmaker is to make the film, and put it out into the world the best way that is possible with the resources you have, and then whatever happens, happens. I don’t think you can ever predict, you know, for a long time, ‘The Fountain‘ was really, really hated and made fun of and stuff, and I think the fans of that one have been the biggest fans of any film that I have had. The passion that people feel for that film has been deeper than any feedback I ever get from just people I meet. So, you don’t know how things are going to work, and it definitely, you know, the story of films takes a long time, especially if the filmmaker has worked hard on them."


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Suburbicon is George Clooney's latest attempt at directing and, at some point in the aughts, it seemed like he could really be a great director. His first two fillms ("Confessions of a Dangerous mind," and  "Good Night and Good Luck") seemed to indicate that he could be a natural-born director, but somewhere along the way he lost himself with a series of misfires ("Leatherheads," "The Monuments Men," "The Ides of March"). You can now add "Suburbicon" to that list of fails. It's not like Clooney has lost his knack for presenting us a vivid setup of  tone, story, and time, but the the film's promising start is then followed by a a problematic execution of comedy and drama.

Dan Gilroy & Denzel Washington trimmed and re-edited ‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’ after TIFF

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I dug Roman Israel, ESQ. I didn't expect it to have the mixed reviews it received at TIFF this past September. Yes, the movie is a mess, but I thought that was part of its charm [Full REVIEW] It's a messy ambitious account of a messy, ambitious man. Some, make that many, movies go back to the cutting room floor after a festival showing. I mean, it's common sense to feed off of the reactions from critics and audiences alike and better your movie, but what Gilroy and Washington seemed to have done here is a complete overhaul of the narrative structure and tone of the film. The fact that they "reordered" scenes says everything you need to know about what is going on here. They also cut off a subplot, there are a few so I'm not sure which specifically, and that's something that can also impact the film differently. Music cues were changed, but, here's the gimmer for me, 12 minutes were cut from the film. You hear some directors say they cut 2 or 3 minutes, such as what Ruben Ostlund told me he did with his Palme D'or winning "The Square" after having won the prize, but 12 minutes, that can really change a movie. I wasn't going to rewatch "Roman Israel, ESQ," I thought I was satsfied enough by what I saw last month, but now it's back on my must-see list. If it is indeed a better film than that which I saw at Toronto then I'll be very ecstatic about it.

Does "The Breakfast Club" Deserve Its Criterion Treatment?

“A movie about a bunch of stereotypes who complain that other people see them as stereotypes ... But all that this encounter-session movie actually does is strip a group of high-school kids down to their most banal longings to be accepted and liked. Its real emblem is that dreary, retro ribbon" - Pauline Kael [8 Apr 1985, p.123] 

David Fincher on the pressures of directing "Star Wars" movies

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"….I talked to [producer Kathleen Kennedy] about that and look, it’s a plum assignment. I don’t know what’s worse: being George Lucas on the set of the first one where everyone’s going, “Alderaan? What the hell is this?” Where everyone’s making fun, but I can’t imagine the kind of intestinal fortitude one has to have following up the success of these last two. That’s a whole other level. One is that you have to endure the withering abuse of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and the other is you have to live up to a billion or a billion-five, and that becomes its own kind of pressure. I think [The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner] had the best job. He had a pretty great script and he had the middle story. He didn’t have to worry about where it started and he didn’t have to worry about where it ended. And he had the great reveal. You’d have to really clear your head, I think. You’d have to really be sure this is what you wanted to do because either way it’s two years of your life, 14 hours a day, seven days a week."


"I, Tonya" has a trailer

Given the incredible word of mouth from TIFF, it’s a no-brainer decision to have Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya released this year for potential awards, especially when it comes to Margot Robbie and Allison Janney's performances. I wasn't sure what to make of the film initially but then I re-watched it and then it grabbed me. This is not a film that will break new ground, it is an entertaining take on a wild true story and, in some twisted way, I see it as a sure-fire crowd-pleasure, despite the lack of any characters with redeemable traits. Hell, I think the most likable character in this film is probably Tonya.

What are some other examples of movies that have weird alternative titles in foreign markets?

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Here are a few nifty titles I uncovered courtesy of a Reddit thread that was started on this topic [HEREI'm sure there are thousands of other examples but these seem to be the clear winners for me, from what I've found at least:

"Professor Marston & the Wonder Woman"

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Yes, "Wonder Woman" was the surprise of the summer, no make that the year, but what might even be more surprising is the story of the heroine's original creator. Harvard-educated William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), taught Psych at Radcliffe with his wife Elizabeth Holloway (Rebecca Hall), a no-nonsense kind of gal that was ahead of her time in terms of feminism and sexuality. Dominance and submission are what this eccentric couple were after and given that this was all happening in the 1920's, many timid minds were offended, to say the least.  Enter Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), Marston's student and eventual muse in his educational endeavors. As an unadorned fan of Marston's Olive is ready to volunteer at any cost, and volunteer she does, participating in the professor's many tantalizing experiments. Holloway agrees but warns the young protegee to not sleep with her husband or else, "don't fuck my husband" she says in a dryly persuasive delivery. However, it's not with the professor that this young bright mind's main desires lie, it's actually Holloway herself and, as we learn, the feeling is mutual. Marston, Holloway, and Byrne eventually embark on a three-way relationship that doesn't just confuse their neighbors next door but the main perpetrators themselves, who have enough confused emotional investment in each other to blow the roof off of their beautiful suburban house. 


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Marshall Thurgood was the first attorney for the NAACP. He won 29 of the 32 cases he argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, including one Brown v. Board of Education. In fact, in 1967 Thurgood became the first African-American to serve on the Supreme court. A feat that didn't go unnoticed given that 50 years later we finally have a Hollywood movie about the man.

David Fincher: "Now, movies are about saving the world from destruction."

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I have difficulty trying to see David Fincher as a good fit for "World War Z 2," but Fincher has surprised us more than once in his career. This film, to me, harkens me back to his directing debut: Alien 3. It's a similar genre which relies on a lot of jump scares. I sure hope Fincher gives us something fresh and inventive, but what's the potential for that to happen here? Fincher has stated in the past that he wants to make movies that a big audience will go to see, he wants his movies seen NOT forgotten. With that in mind, I completely understand why he would choose such a project, the original Z, directed by Marc Foster, was plagued with reshoots and controversy, but it was a mega-blockbuster.

‘Reviews’ on the poster for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Kevin Feige: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Will Kickstart Marvel’s Phase 4

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We all really want to know what's Marvel's plan, Post-Phase 3. I mean, REALLY want to know. There is so much demand that Marvel head Kevin Feige had to address the swirling rumors earlier this week by stating that there is no plan, at the moment, to unveil a new phase. However, I'm betting that, once we catch "Infinity War," next year stuff will become a little clearer and we'll be able to decipher what's next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Ron Howard reveals Han Solo standalone is called "SOLO - A Star Wars Story"

Netflix Expects to Release Around 80 Original Films in 2018

And Netflix also plans to advertise about five of them ...Here's my beef with Netflix. Chances are that these movies will not go for any awards because Netflix refuses to market their original films, or, if they do, it's very minimal and you wouldn't even notice it, but they’ll be watched by their intended audience eventually as people will “discover” them just like they discovered the now classic mumblecore drama "Drinking Buddies," which had a whole new shelf life on the streaming service.

All this to say ... And YET, they’re still $20 billion in debt, intentionally they say, which begs us to ask the question: When are you going to start making money Netflix?

Here's Variety quoting Netflix president Ted Sarandos on the 2018 lineup:

"Netflix expects to release around 80 original films next year, as it looks to hit the kind of scale in movies that it’s achieved on the TV side, They range anywhere from the million-dollar Sundance hit, all the way up to something on a much larger scale,” like Will Smith-starrer “Bright,” Sarandos said in an investors’ interview Monday about Netflix’s third-quarter 2017 results."

Obviously many of the 80 films will be bought at various film festivals next year but, of the titles already acquired, these are the most exciting prospects:

The Irishman (Martin Scorsese)
The Land of Steady Habits (Nicole Holofcener)
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel Coen)
The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles)
Hold the Dark (Jeremy Saulnier)
Mute (Duncan Jones)
Apostle (Gareth Evans)

Box Office Week: Happy Death Day surprises at #1 with an excellent $26.5M, The Foreigner comes in at #3 with a solid $12.8M, and Professor Marston & The Wonder Women has a disasterous opening at #14 with $737K.

1."Happy Death Day," $26.5 million 
2."Blade Runner 2049," $15.1 million
3."The Foreigner," $12.8 million 
4."It," $6.1 million 
5."The Mountain Between Us," $5.7 million
6."American Made," $5.4 million 
7."Kingsman: The Golden Circle," $5.3 million
8."The Lego Ninjago Movie," $4.3 million 
9."My Little Pony: The Movie," $4 million 
10."Victoria and Abdul," $3.1 million