‘Raid’ star Iko Uwais shows up in “Stuber” but instead of taking advantage of his athletic talents, the movie has Uwais go through such mundane and lazily set-up action sequences. The entire movie, at times, works purely on the ingenious casting decision of having Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista buddy-cop their way through a pedantic plot.Read More
“Dark Phoenix” is supposed to be the X-Men finale before Disney takes over the franchise. Written, directed and produced by Simon Kinberg, the result is an embarrassing movie that is undeserving of this series’ best moments. Hell, it may very well be the worst X-men movie ever made, even more excruciating than the infamously bad “X-Men: The Last Stand.”Read More
When we last saw the heroic Avengers in 2018’s “Infinity War,” we were all stunned by the devastating final minutes, in which evil Thanos (Josh Brolin) got a hold of all six of the Infinity Stones and snapped his fingers, causing half of the world’s population to be killed. Many of the key MCU players, including Spider-Man, were thus, supposedly, wasted off into a barrage of grim apocalyptic dust. Of course, this being Marvel and Disney, there was absolutely no way this could conceivably be the way the 22-movie MCU ended. And so, here we are with “Avengers: Endgame,” which opens where we last left off: the infamous “Snap.”Read More
I’ve been hearing whispers that Dexter Fletcher’s upcoming Elton John biopic “Rocketman” will be headed to Cannes.Read More
Consider me disappointed with the by-the-books trailer that has just been released for Brian De Palma’s upcoming terrorist thriller “Domino.”Read More
The "John Wick" series has turned into a visceral, 21st century homage to the B-movie. It is very hard not to enjoy what Keanu Reeves and the directing duo of Chad Stahelski/David Leich have done with the first two installments . The story itself was simple: A low-key, but lethal hitman gets brutally beaten up by gangsters and, more importantly, his dog gets killed, which flicks off a switch in his head to exact the ultimate revenge. On a $20 Million budget the first filmmade $86 Million at the box-office, but, more importantly, it became an enormous hit on streaming services and home video. "John Wick: Chapter Two" made $92 Million at the domestic box-office.Read More
Not to carp on about it, but the new wave of indie arthouse horror, but has really tapped into something primal in our culture. Using formal rigor and a kind of patience that’s the opposite of jump scares, this new movement is bound by its collective desire to use atmospherics to unsettle us emotionally and psychological on a much deeper level. It’s a different kind of fear and one not traditionally scary in the boo! gotcha! sense, but in general, it’s so much more long-lasting and at its, best profoundly disturbing.Read More
The fact that Alex Lehmann’s “Paddleton'‘ concerns two friends, one of which has just been told he’s dying of cancer, could make you run scared from the sob-fest that is about to happen, but “Paddleton” isn’t a “Love Story” or a “Terms of Endearment,” rather it’s a film that is incredibly light on its feet with humor and heartbreak and which sidesteps whatever cliches can be found in this kind of gooey territory. Despite some narrative straining, the payoff is beautifully rendered.Read More
John Travolta's career still looks like it desperately needs a second comeback. We thought it might happen with his excellent turn as OJ Simpson's lawyer, Robert Shapiro, in 2016’s “The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” Ever since then? Nada. Zilch. Zero.
His next project does sound fascinating. TMZ asked Travolta about “Moose,” a film directed by Fred Durst, yes of Limp Bizkit fame, and the actor full-on said: “Maybe my favorite experience I’ve had. He’s so generous and he’s such an artist. And he allowed me to create a character that no one else would allow.”
The best experience that Travolta ever had? In a film directed by Limp Bizkit's frontman?
“Moose” is based on a real-life that Durst experienced between himself and a fan. The film is about an obsessed fan, played by Travolta, who begins stalking his favorite action-film star, played by Devon Sawa (Remember him? From “Idle Hands” and “SLC Punk?”).
No word yet on a release date, but “Moose” has just skyrocketed onto my must-see list.
Director Andy Muschietti's horror remake of Stephen King's clown opus “It” was a box-office smash last fall. It even surpassed "The Exorcist" at the top spot and became the highest-grossing horror movie in box-office history, nabbing more than $327M at the domestic box-office. Incredible numbers, so much so that a sequel was inevitable, and, as we quickly learned, was in the works only a few weeks after the film's September release.
The focus of this aforementioned second chapter would be on the main kids, but all grown up some thirty years later, but Pennywise the clown still looming and torturing them in the creaky darkness. Muschietti wasn't shy in his insistence to have Jessica Chastain play grown-up Beverly, the redhead, and we had heard of serious talks between the actress and Warner Brothers pictures occurring as early as this past winter.
Well, THR is now reporting that those talks have translated into Chastain being officially cast for the sequel. However, that's not the only bombshell we received yesterday evening, we also learned that none other than James McAvoy and Bill Hader were now themselves in serious negotiations to join the sequel. McAvoy is supposedly sought to play the role of adult Bill Denbrough, and Hader would be playing Richie Tozier, the dirty-mouthed comedic relief of the "losers club."
"It Chapter 2" will be adapted from King‘s horror novel, which was about a group of childhood friends, that once battled a supernatural clown, returning to their hometown as adults only learn that same evil still exists. If fans were praying for casting to be well thought-out for this much-anticipated sequel, then their wishes have surely been granted. Chastain was strongly pushed as a fan favorite to play Bev and both Hader and McAvoy are strong, resiliently talented actors that will no doubt bring a ton of charisma to their respective roles. Also, Muschietti and Chastain previously worked together on the horror film “Mama,” an underseen gem released earlier this decade. Bill Skarsgård will, of course, be back as the shape-shifting clown from hell, Pennywise.
“It: Chapter 2” opens on September 6, 2019.
Spoke to a few people that said it was similar to the way he shot and told "Lincoln," and "Bridge of Spies," meaning the story does the talking, there's a lot of patient, held-back filmmaking, a very slow and dry affair. "Slightly square, old-school Hollywood craftsmanship," somebody told me, adding "It's no Spotlight." In other words, a movie that underplays its strengths. I thought "Lincoln" and "Bridges" were both ok, but that seems to be the direction Spielberg has decided to take on the last 5 or so years with his dramas.
I will be there again this year, covering the fest for World of Reel.
The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 17-28.
Gravity is eye popping stuff. Alfonso Cuaron has made a movie that is unlike any we’ve ever seen before. It’s almost as groundbreaking as Avatar minus the flaws Cameron’s film had. Cuaron's magic here is perfect. This is a straightforward blockbuster from an auteur who knows how to please. Cuaron's films have legitimately made him one of the best directors around (Children Of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien) hell he even made high art out of a Harry Potter film. Prisoner Of Azkaban was by far the best one of the series, with its exceptional visuals. So who's to expect anything else but a great movie from Cuaron. He's made one here with Gravity. There are no eye popping, gut squirming villains in this space world. The villain here is just gravity itself in all of its nightmarish, scientific and subtle madness.
It would be unfair to reveal the secrets behind the plot but suffice to say a master is at work here and Cuaron has surely directed Sandra Bullock to her second Oscar Nomination – if not, her second win. Bullock is dead-on as an astronaut with not much to live for but her job, especially as she is still mourning the death of her daughter back at home. Corny stuff right? but you believe it and are affected by it. George Clooney plays her co-pilot in the space mission and he acts, well, like George Clooney in an astronaut suit. I'm fine with that. Some of the visuals here are tremendous, in a how-the-hell-did-they-do-it kind of way. It was supposedly a torturous experience for Sandra Bullock as she told us at the film's premiere in Toronto. Bullock was in a cubicle the entire shoot of the film and had to rely on her imagination to act out the scenes. It seems to have worked.
Gravity is a film that relies on its visuals to tell a story. The hypnotic madness of space itself is continuously a theme that was delved upon before, most notably in Stanley Kubrick's 2001:A Space Odyssey. This is not as trippy an experience as Kubrick's journey into the human psyche but it relies on that film as a draft for its more entertaining aspirations. Some of Gravity's images have been firmly planted into my head since I last saw it in Toronto 3 weeks ago. It's a film that is meant to be seen on the biggest screen possible with the biggest speakers. The dialogue is minimal but the music -brilliantly composed by Stephen Price- drives the story along with its loud, penetrating beat.
The last 10 minutes of Gravity are as intense any film I've seen this year, in fact it'll make you appreciate the grounded feel of our beloved planet. There's something to be said about a film that takes place mostly in space with not much plot to speak for but the survival of its protagonists. What Cuaron and his brother Carlos -they wrote the screenplay together- have achieved is an immersive experience unlike any other we've ever seen before. Comparisons to Avatar will be made, but Gravity is a better, more artful experience. A 90 minute trip to space with the unrelenting feeling of wanting to get out alive.