Newly-released "Alien: Covenant" featuring Xenomorphs

Alien Covenant

"Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise.  The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world.  When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape."

The film, opening May 19th, stars Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, and Benjamin Rigby.

Mark Hamill for Oscar?

"The Force Awakens director and Last Jedi executive producer tells The New York Daily News that Hamill’s work on Episode VIII is Oscar caliber: “I think we are all going to be very upset if he does not win an Oscar, and no one more upset than Mark.

And Ryan Reynolds thinks that Logan should win Best Picture ... Although I shouldn't really criticize that because "Logan" is a damn fine Marvel movie. Anyway, the academy lost all credibility when they overlooked Hamill for "Corvette Summer," that very "fine" post-A New Hope flick which had Hamill's post-graduate hooking up with a "hooker-in-training" to find his stolen corvette. 


In new interview Christopher Nolan reveals Dunkirk's story and intentions

Premiere Dunkirk
If Christopher Nolan has been criticized for anything it's for his use of dialogue. He usually writes the screenplays to his films, sometimes with his brother Jonathan as credited co-writer. His knack for words is, shall we say, not as profoundly inventive as his visual eye or thought for story and detail. He has supposedly corrected that in "Dunkirk" by being more sparse with dialogue, instead opting for "pared back" dialogue and confirming the film is a "survival tale."
My colleagues over at [The Playlist] have translated French Premiere's cover story on Nolan's Dunkirk and an exclusive interview with the director himself.
The film is told from three points of view. The air (planes), the land (on the beach) and the sea (the evacuation by the navy). For the soldiers embarked in the conflict, the events took place on different temporalities,” Nolan said (via Google translation). “On land, some stayed one week stuck on the beach. On the water, the events lasted a maximum day; And if you were flying to Dunkirk, the British spitfires would carry an hour of fuel. To mingle these different versions of history, one had to mix the temporal strata. Hence the complicated structure; Even if the story, once again, is very simple.
This is an essential moment in the history of the Second World War. If this evacuation had not been a success, Great Britain would have been obliged to capitulate. And the whole world would have been lost, or would have known a different fate: the Germans would undoubtedly have conquered Europe, the US would not have returned to war,” he said. “It is a true point of rupture in war and in history of the world. A decisive moment. And the success of the evacuation allowed Churchill to impose the idea of a moral victory, which allowed him to galvanize his troops like civilians and to impose a spirit of resistance while the logic of this sequence should have been that of surrender. Militarily it is a defeat; On the human plane it is a colossal victory.
I've liked every Nolan I've seen except for his debut "Following," so there's no reason why I won't dig much of what I see in "Dunkirk," but will it have the transcendant feeling of watching "Memento," "The Dark Knight" or even "Inception" for the first time?
“Dunkirk” opens on July 21st.

Bong Joon-Ho's "Okja" looks fantastic

For all its third act flaws, I loved Bong Joon-Ho's "Snowpiercer." So much so that it made my ten best list of 2014. He had his pblic fight against Producer Harvey Weinstein's insistence to snip the film, but the film ended up being a mild commericial success and a knockout critical success. Netflix has given him total carte banche here to make "Okja," which I don't know too much about except for this newly released trailer which looks phenomenal. 

The film stars Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Lily Collins and is shot by photography wizard Darius Khondji. Are we excited yet? the film which follows  a young girl that refuses to give up and puts everything on the line to prevent a powerful company from kidnapping her best friend, Okja, a unique, beastly animal. 

When is Netflix going to be screening this for me? I presume I might actually be watching this at the Cannes Film Festival this coming May.

“Okja” premieres on Netflix June 28th.

This year's Oscars had a lot of "Firsts"

  • First time two black nominees won Best Supporting awards in the same ceremony; in general, first time an Oscar ceremony featured more than 3 black winners
  • First time in almost twenty years that all acting winners are American
  • First time in 10 years that the Best Actor nominee who won the SAG did not win the Oscar (Washington/Affleck)
  • First time a Muslim actor won an Oscar (Ali)
  • First time in almost 20 years that all acting awards went to people playing fictional people
  • First time a movie with 14 nominations failed to win Best Picture
  • First time a Potter movie won an Academy Award
  • First time a DC Universe movie won an Academy Award
  • First time a living person was included in the "In Memoriam" Segment
  • First time Kevin O'Connell won an Oscar after 21 nominations (Hacksaw Ridge, Sound Mixing)
  • First time the wrong Best Picture winner was announced
  • First time Netflix (White Helmets) and Amazon (Manchester By the Sea) films won Oscars

Other random trivia:
  • Natalie Portman is the first absentee acting nominee since Judy Dench (2014)
  • Ryan Gosling joins Jonah Hill and Eddie Redmayne as the only male actors born after 1980 to be nominated for acting awards more than once
  • This year was the first time in 9 years that an American male won Best Director
  • This year's ceremony is the longest running one in 10 years (3 hours 50 minutes)
  • Damien Chazelle is the youngest person to win Best Director
  • OJ Made in America is the longest film to win an Oscar (7 hours, 47 minutes)
  • Iran is the fourth country to win 2 Oscars after Argentina, Austria and Japan (which has won 4).
  • No Best Picture winner in the past 10 years has featured an actress nominated in the lead role

Priceless: See the Looks on Celebrities’ Faces at the Exact Moment of the Oscars Mix-Up

Best reaction? Check out The Rock on the right-hand side of the picture. For you non-wrestling fans, that's called the "people's eyebrow."

Sony exec: 'Fake news' will give Asghar Farhadi and The Salesman the Best Foreign Language Oscar

Image result for oscars political farhadi
[Image courtesy of CNN]
Sony Pictures Classics executive Tom Bernard pointed the finger at Best Foreign Film winner, “The Salesman,” in an non-tradional and aggresive manner. All this even before Iran's Oscar submission even won the Oscar. It all felt pre-ordained. It was a no-brainer. Farhadi's film was going to win.
It’s fake news that will give Asghar the Oscar,” “The media has made the foreign race about a vote against Trump and not about the films.
He made one statement [about not attending the Oscars due to Trump’s Muslim ban). Then the media went ‎and blew it up,” Bernard added.

As much as I do believe "The Salesman" deserved the Oscar and was my favorite of the five nominees, Bernard is on to something here. There is no denying that "Toni Erdmann" was the frontrunner of the category before the whole travel ban happened and the ensuing VISA problems Farhadi endured because of it.

This wasn't a win becase of the film's quality, but more a win for political reasons, which is not far off as to why Moonlight won Best Picture or Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali nabbed their coveted trophies. No diss intended on Barry Jenkins' movie, or the performances, which were all great, but this year's telecast was a clear and utter chance for a major political statement by the Hollywood elite. Self-congratulatory in a way. A jerk-off session or whatever you may want to call it. As I've stated before, no coincidence that Ali, Davis, Moonlight all won right after #OscarsSoWhite happened. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that.

As I told Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells last night: "Flashback to "In the Heat of the Night" winning post-death of MLK. I think in both cases the choice was mandated by the racial politics of the moment."

This shot of the Best Picture envelope reveals that Moonlight didn't actually win the Oscar ....

Kevin O’Connell wins his first Oscar after 21 nominations.


Imagine being called out as the winner on the 21st try, going up, holding your precious Oscar, making your well-deserved, emotional speech, then being told that the winner was actually ... Moonlight? All kidding aside, O'Connell really deserved it. He has done some incredible work in his career.  Now, the New "biggest loser" is Greg P. Russell, who has gone winless with 16 nominations in the same category as McConnell, Best Sound Mixing. I presume he will get nominated again next year, don't they all, time to start a campaign to get this dude an Oscar.

#OscarsSo...What???!! - Stagehand said, mid-LA LA LAND acceptance speech, "Oh, f-ck. Oh my God. He got the wrong envelope."

Scorsese's THE IRISHMAN about to get delayed due to lawsuits


It looks like Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" might be getting major setbacks due to its recent Netflix deal. A lawsuit is potentially being weighed by distributor STX. They put in more than $50 Million of their money to produce the film and were kept out of the loop on the Netflix deal.

It’s like you selling me an apartment and then saying someone else is going to move in,” said Stefano Massenzi of Italy’s Lucky Red, which purchased “The Irishman” for Italy.

Yikes. This is bad news for those of us that wanted to see this film start its shoot in the coming months of spring. Might not happen, unless Netflix finds a clean way out of this. 

More quotes:

"Martin Scorsese’s upcoming mob movie “The Irishman” looks to be running into trouble as distributor STX is weighing legal action over Mexican producer Gaston Pavlovich’s pending deal with Netflix. STX bought all non-U.S. distribution rights to the Robert De Niro-starring movie last year in a $50-million deal that was the talk of the Cannes Film Festival."

 "But STX’s role in distributing the film was cast into doubt after Pavlovich and his Fabrica de Cine outfit tried to switch instead to a worldwide deal with Netflix. But the reports of an imminent deal between Pavlovich and Netflix have alarmed – and angered – some of those distributors, who feel they have been kept out of the loop and are waiting for answers."

We have a legally binding and fully executed contract re all exclusive rights in Benelux for ‘The Irishman,’” Van den Broeck wrote in an email. “The chain of title as of today allows to my knowledge no opening for Netflix to even negotiate international rights with these deals in place.

Hayao Miyazaki comes our of retirement for new movie

Image result for miyazaki

“Right now in Tokyo, he’s putting all his effort into making it.” 

Miyazaki has been working on "Boro the Caterpillar." It was intended as a short, but Miyazaki wasn't too satisfied with it. It was this past August that he suggested the short become a feature-length film. He says the film could be done by 2019, right before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


OFFICIAL: Matt Reeves Producing and Directing THE BATMAN

The Batman Matt Reeves
Breaking News ...


"Matt Reeves has closed a deal to direct “The Batman.” Reeves comes in after Ben Affleck stepped aside to focus on the role of the Caped Crusader. News broke last week that negotiations broke down, but that there was a possibility that they could resume. WB offered Reeves the job to replace Affleck as director two weeks ago after Affleck exited the film to focus on the role of the Caped Crusader. Sources had always said it was a priority for the studio to get a director on the project to move the pre-production forward and there was always optimism a deal would get done."

Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart cried side by side when final credits rolled at LOGAN premiere

The Discovery is not a, err, discovery at all ...

I was actually very tempted walk out of this film at this year's Sundance Film Festival. It was THAT bad, a mediocre sci-fi movie that believes it is smarter than it actually is. The worst possible kind of cinema, ego-cinema! Think of it as a riff on Nolan's sci-fi smarts, but with every single technical and creative aspect not going as planned.

The official synopsis reads like this:

"One year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified, millions around the world have ended their own lives in order to “get there”. A man and woman fall in love while coming to terms with their own tragic pasts and the true nature of the afterlife."

Coming to Netflix March 31.

Martin Scorsese says watching a movie at home on your Television set "Is not the best way" to go about it

5-minute Prologue to Ridley Scott's much anticipated "Alien: Covenant" released

It's been a long time comin'

Back in 2010 I wrote:

"Debra Granik’s second feature film, “Winter’s Bone”, is the kind of movie that gets progressively better as you delve deeper and deeper into it. It is filled with humane, authentic characterizations of a society that is rooted in evil and people who have lost all hope in life and succumbed to morally wrong choices. There are memorable scenes that linger (the gutting of a squirrel, the taking of a girl, a final ambiguous mumbling sentence) a sense of dread that might turn the most primitive of moviegoers off. It is through and through a product of American Independent cinema and we should never forget its important existence. Then newcomer Jennifer Lawrence, delved deeply into her role and created something memorable and real. It was an absolutely spellbinding lead performance that brought subtlety to her role as a teenage girl desperately looking for her – quite possibly dead – father in the wild Ozarks of Missouri."

Its been 7 years since Granik's film made its festival debut. Since then, we've gotten a skimp documentary from her and nothing else. She really picked the wrong time to become a filmmaker with opportunities growing slim to none for maverick filmmakers in the industry. 

The Hollywood Reporter has Granik returning behind the camera for her sophomore effort
entitled "My Abandonment" and we couldn't be happier to hear the news. "Winter's Bone" proved her to be a unique talent with an important, female voice in a spectrum largely dominated by men. 

"Hell or High Water actor Ben Foster will star in My Abandonment, to be helmed by Winter's Bonedirector Debra Granik. Granik and Anne Rosellini wrote the script based on Peter Rock’s novel of the same name. The film tells the story of 13-year-old Caroline (McKenzie) and her father, Will (Foster), who are found living in Forest Park, a temperate rainforest abutting Portland, Ore. When authorities pluck them from their hidden world, where they lived peacefully and practically, Caroline and Will must embark on an increasingly erratic journey in search of a place to call their own."

SXSW adds a few more interesting movies to its already stellar lineup

With every passing year I get more and more the urge of attendng Austin's South by Southwest festival. This year's lineup has, once again, outdone itself with Terrence Malick's "Song to Song," James Franco's "The Disaster Artist," Edgar Wright's "Baby Driver" and Michael Winterbottom's "On The Road" all making their debut at the fest. Today two more titles were announced: Deadpool 2 director David Leitch's "Atomic Blonde" starring Charlize Theron and Daniel Espinosa' "Life." The latter looks rather atrocious, but you get my point. SXSW has become a big deal and is now officially on the radar for "World of Reel."

You can find the full lineup HERE

"Now in its 24th year, the 2017 Film Festival will host nine days of screenings from March 10-18, 2017."


LA LA LAND will win Best Picture, almost everything else is up in the air [Final Oscar Predictions]

I saw "La La Land" in September, it was the frontrunner then it still is the frontrunner today, especially with "Silence" now having screened and not being everyone's cup of tea, we clearly have a favorite and there really isn't really a clearcut opposition willing to contend.

I wrote back in September:

"Winning the People’s Choice Award at TIFF, and coming out this Friday, Damien Chazelle’s film was a no-brainer. Everyone felt sure it was going to win even before the festival started. Starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, Chazelle’s film has moments of pure joy that make you feel punch-drunk in love at the movies again. The morning press screening burst into extended applause after the film’s final shot and that sealed the deal for the film’s eventual fate as a major Best Picture contender. Stone, a beauty of an actress, also turned heads for her performance as Mia, a struggling actress hoping to find her big break. Mia falls for Sebastian, a playful and charismatic Ryan Gosling, as they embark on a colorful and touching adventure filled with some of the best original songs ever conceived for the big screen. It’s quite possibly the best movie musical since Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz."

I'm pretty good at this Oscar guessing-game. The last two years I've only gotten a single prediction wrong out of the following 13 categories.

GET OUT skewers liberal America's race agenda in inventively funny, twisted and scary ways

Netflix To Produce Martin Scorsese's Irish Mob Saga THE IRISHMAN starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino,

Matt Reeves NOT directing THE BATMAN

Why don't they just ask me to direct The Batman? I'll do it for free.
"A week after entering negotiations to direct The Batman, Matt Reeves has exited the talks, The Hollywood Reporter has learned."
"A studio source confirms that negotiations have broken down. The possibility, however, exists that talks could resume when heads cool. The studio is intent on making the movie no matter what, as the Batman franchise has proven to be bigger than one person."

Netflix' latest Sandler opus "Sandy Wexler"


"There was a time when I really did try to defend Adam Sandler. I was trying to get people to truly appreciate and understand the sheer Jerry Lewis-like lunacy of the neurotic Jewish schlub in "The Waterboy," "Billy Madison," "Happy Gilmore," "The Wedding Singer," "Punch-Drunk Love" "50 First Dates," and, even, "Big Daddy." Those days seem to be gone. With the exception of "That's My Boy," which seemed to harken back to his comedic glory days of the '90s, yes I will defend it with every inch I could muster ... I mean, please do watch it, it's a hoot, Sandler has been stuck in the kind of cinematic hell that makes me almost regret defending him some 20 odd years ago."

"His Netflix fare has been unwatchable at best, and he seems to have lost an edge that would almost be instantly recognizable in his more succesful films. Oh well, will I still watch this? Probably. It is, after all, completely sacriligious as a critic to say you like Adam Sandler, but what do I really care. Isn't the whole point of the profession to be honest and truthful? Sandler was good at what he did and he made me chuckle more than a few times. Did I possibly lose a brain cell here and there? I would guess so, but you only live once. Again, please watch "That's My Boy."

Mel Gibson in early talks to direct SUICIDE SQUAD 2

David Ayer helmed the initial outing.

Yikes! "Bloody Mel" is at it again. We all know he never skimps on the violence with his movies: "Braveheart," "Passion of the Christ," "Apocalypto" and "Hacksaw Ridge" are four of the most violent movies I have ever seen. He seems to revel in staging beheadings and grisly deaths.

It has been ten years since Mel Gibson gave us "Apocalytpo," a bloody, surreal, but cinematically brilliant dissection of the Mayan's final days. "Hacksaw Ridge" was his fifth movie as a director. It was also the film that officialized his comeback in Hollywood with a bunch of Oscar noms, especially in the Picture and Director categories. 

What was he going to follow-up "Hacksaw Ridge" with? It certainly wasn't going to be a superhero movie. According to The Playlist he was even quoted as saying “What did they spend on ‘Batman v Superman’ that they’re admitting to?” “And it’s a piece of shit,” “I’m not interested in [superhero movies]. Do you know what the difference between real superheroes and comic book superheroes is? Real superheroes didn’t wear spandex. So I don’t know. Spandex must cost a lot.” 

Well, guess what? According to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, Gibson is in talks to direct "Suicide Squad 2":
"Mel Gibson is mulling joining the DC Extended Universe … as a director. Warner Bros. is courting the actor-director to helm Suicide Squad 2 and the sides are early in talks, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. No official offer has been made nor has any commitment. Sources say that Gibson is familiarizing himself with the material. But the studio is not being passive and is also looking at other directors, Daniel Espinosa among them."
The only way this would work is if he actually is given an R rating for the project. There is no way Mel could truly get the vision he wants with a PG-13 rating. 


Press release:

The Criterion Collection
May 2017 New Releases

This May, the collection welcomes an offbeat teen comedy from Terry Zwigoff, a Palme d’Or winner from Jacques Audiard, Orson Welles’s take on Othello, and six rarities restored by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project. Plus, Ozu’s Good Morning and Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman arrive on Blu-ray

"La La Land" continuing to get backlash from PC Police. This time Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says it "Sends a bigoted message."

Lars Von Trier Was Inspired by Donald Trump For New Film

“'The House That Jack Built’ celebrates the idea that life is evil and soulless, which is sadly proven by the recent rise of the Homo trumpus – the rat king,”

The House That Jack Built begins shooting in Sweden in March, before moving to Copenhagen in May. It will be released in 2018.
[The Guardian.]

In the alley scene in Collateral, Tom Cruise executes this firing technique so well that it's used in lessons for tactical handgun training

LIFE poster should be renamed GOOD LOOKING ASTRONAUTS

There are just so many things wrong with this poster. Oh look, the names don't match the actors. Also, that tagline ("Be careful what you search for") is just weak. The poster looks like a cliche-ridden lesson of how to NOT fuck up a movie poster. As for the film: Alien life form threatens/infects heroic spacefarers. I feel like I've already seen this movie a thousand time before. Finally, Whenever I see the title I keep being reminded of the 1999 Martin Lawrence/Eddie Murphy film of the same name. Couldn't they choose a better title? 

The film opens March 24th, 2017

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Teaser Released by Marvel

Yay or Nay? Captain America: Civil War was the best Avengers movie we have gotten thus far in the Marvel: Cinematic Universe. Will be hard to top what the Russo brothers created with that film, but I'm all eyes and ears for Infinity War, which comes off the utter disappointment that was Age of Ultron. I had partially given up on The Avengers until I saw Civil War. My expectations are still fairly low for this next chapter. I do look forward to the next Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy, but Thor? Give me a break. Why don't they give Robert Downey another shot at an Iron Man film. The third film was great and had a loose, eccentric vibe that is severely lacking in many of the Marvel movies these days. His paycheck must be too steep for billionaire Disney.

2Pac movie "All Eyez on Me" has eerie Tupac lookalike Demtrius Shipp Jr.

It's about time they made a film about Tupac Shakur. Notorious was a dud, but Straight Outta Compton was such fresh and vitally alive filmmaking experience that I have to say I'm quite excited for this. I know many Tupac songs, maybe not enough, but his life story should be told. It looks a gangster film through and through, but check out Tupac lookalike Demetrius Shipp Jr. Did they wait two decades to make this movie just to get a guy that looks EXACTLY like Shakur? Danny Boom directs and his directing credits include episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles, 90210, and 50 Cent: Special Edition - The Massacre. Yikes.

"Cloverfield" director Matt Reeves offered directing job for "The Batman"


Deadline has just broke the news that Matt Reeves has been ofered the gig to direct The Batman. Reeves is well known as a JJ. Abrams protege whose films (Cloverfield, Let Me In, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) were well received critically and commercially. He has a keen directorial eye and a great flair at using visual effects, but keeping the human element of his story very present.

"EXCLUSIVE: I’ve heard Warner Bros has offered the directing job on its Batman franchise to Matt Reeves, the filmmaker who just finished War For The Planet Of The Apes for Fox. This comes weeks after Ben Affleck decided that directing and starring in such a massive undertaking was too much. The emergence of Reeves is hardly a surprise; it was known he was the filmmaker the studio engaged when Affleck made his decision after weeks of wavering."


‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2’ Just Got The Highest Test Screening Score (100) In Marvel History

20 Odds-on Favorites for Cannes '17 Official Competition

"Based on a True Story" (Roman Polanski)
"Happy End" (Michael Haneke)
"High Life" (Claire Denis)
"The Death and Life of John F Donovan" (Xavier Dolan)
"Mektoub is Mektoub" Abdelattif Kechiche)
"Ismael's Ghosts" (Arnaud Despechin)
"Thelma" (Joachim Trier)
"Where Life is Born" (Carlos Reygadas)
"The Square" (Ruben Ostlund)
"Loveless" (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
"Zama" (Lucrecia Martel)
"The Killing of a Sacred Deer" (Yorgos Lanthimos)
"You Were Never Really Here" (Lynn Ramsay)
"Wonderstruck" (Todd Haynes)
"Logan Lucky" (Steven Soderbergh)
"Downsizing" (Alexander Payne)
"Okja" (Jonn Ho Bong)
"Kings" (Deniz Gamze Erguven)
"The Waves Are Gone" (Lav Daz)
"Jeanette" (Bruno Dumont)

The 2017 Cannes Film Festival runs from the 17 to 28 May. 

Am I missing any here? Based on research these seem like the most set-in-stone. Of course, there's always surprises. Just look at last year with "Toni Erdmann." Anyways, I will be there again this year covering the fest.

Something feels off about James Ponsoldt's "The Circle"

Something feels off with James Ponsoldt's "The Circle." Watch the trailer and tell me you're not disappointed that this is Ponsoldt's follow-up to his first two impressive films ("The Spectacular Now," and "The End of the Tour.") The story feels too facile and by-the-books for Ponsoldt.  Principal photography wrapped-up in 2015. It was rumored to come out last year, but then reshoots happened this January. So "The Circle" is coming out only 4 months after the reshoots. Yikes.

The film is set for release April 28th, 2017. Don't expect the reviews to be kind. I'm already confident that this movie will be a disaster.