Berlinale 2017: Mangold’s ‘Logan’ is an Excellent Wolverine Western

Logan Review

Let’s make this clear right at the start – this is not another Marvel Studios movie. Logan is a stand-alone, outstanding, one-of-a-kind X-Men movie made for adults. It’s violent as all hell, emotional and captivating, gritty and grounded, and exciting to experience. Director James Mangold really hit a home run with this one, bucking the trend and going with his gut to deliver a superb “Wolverine Western”. I had to see Logan twice at the Berlin Film Festival before writing this review, to confirm how awesome it is. I haven’t enjoyed watching an X-Men movie this much in such a long time, and I’d say this is easily one of the best X-Men movies. It’s not really an X-Men movie, but it actually is – there’s so much mutant mythology hidden within. ›››

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Berlinale 2017: Geoffrey Rush Delights as Giacometti in ‘Final Portrait’

Final Portrait Review

Nothing like watching artists work. Final Portrait is a film directed by Stanley Tucci (of Blind Date, The Impostors, Big Night previously) starring actor Geoffrey Rush playing the famed Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti. If you don’t know who Giacometti is, it’s better to get acquainted with him and his incredible sculpture work before getting into this film. Final Portrait tells the story of, literally, his final portrait as an artist – a painting he did of an American novelist who was visiting Paris, where his studio was, in the 1960s. The film has a small, intimate feel to it exploring the pained life and quirky antics of a great artist, which is becoming increasingly common these days (e.g. Inside Llewyn Davis, Maudie, Mr. Turner, Love & Mercy). ›››

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Another New Trailer for ‘Power Rangers’ Movie Gives Us More of Rita

Power Rangers Movie

“Five little Rangers – how cute.” Lionsgate has unveiled another brand new 60-second trailer for the Power Rangers movie, directed by Dean Israelite, in theaters in March – about a month from now. The full trailer hit just last month, but this new trailer has even more footage – including a few scenes with Rita Repulsa gearing up to take on the cute little Power Rangers. The cast is lead by: Naomi Scott as The Pink Ranger, Becky G. as The Yellow Ranger, Ludi Lin as The Black Ranger, RJ Cyler as The Blue Ranger, and Dacre Montgomery as The Red Ranger. Also starring Bryan Cranston as Zordon, Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5, Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, as well as David Denman, Sarah Grey, Emily Maddison, and Caroline Cave. I’m not sure if this will be any good in the end, but it does look like it’ll be fun to see. ›››

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‘The Lion King’ Live-Action Remake Casts Donald Glover & James Earl Jones

Meet Disney’s new Simba: Donald Glover. You might also know him as the award-winning guy from “Atlanta,” or the future Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo standalone movie. He’s everywhere lately, and that’s a good thing.

Jon Favreau is directing Disney’s live-action “The Lion King” remake, which Variety said is being fast-tracked even as Favreau works on the sequel to “The Jungle Book.”

Favreau just announced Glover’s casting, along with news that James Earl Jones will once again play Mufasa, whom he voiced in the 1994 animated blockbuster:

I just can’t wait to be king. #Simba pic.twitter.com/wUYKixMBJI

— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) February 18, 2017

Looking forward to working with this legend. #Mufasa pic.twitter.com/1LszbWrcYT

— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) February 18, 2017

So that’s two Star Wars connections: The voice of Darth Vader, and the new Lando. Just saying.

Disney is on a live-action roll at the moment — from “Maleficent” and “Cinderella” to “The Jungle Book” and “Beauty and the Beast” — even if some fans still wish they’d leave their animated classics alone.

There’s no official production start date yet for Favreau’s “Lion King,” but stay tuned.

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First Teaser Trailers for Old School Practical Effects Horror ‘The Void’

The Void Teaser Trailer

“Indescribably horrific.” A short 30-second teaser trailer from the UK has arrived for a “horror event” film titled The Void, a throwback to old school practical effects and John Carpenter horror. The Void is co-directed by Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski (both from Canadian filmmaking collective Astron-6), and is a mind-bending sci-fi horror thriller about a small town overrun by some “otherworldly threat”. The cast includes Aaron Poole, Ellen Wong, Kathleen Munroe, Kenneth Welsh, and Daniel Fathers. Based on the marketing pitches, I’m certainly intrigued by this film. I just need to see more actual footage of these practical effects, but this teaser is a nice start. The scalpel in the eye scene is totally disgusting. Enjoy. ›››

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‘The Batman’ Once Again Needs a Director as Matt Reeves Exits Talks

Directing “The Batman” is turning into the Defense Against the Dark Arts post (even more than “The Flash” movie). Just call Tom Riddle, already. Ben Affleck was supposed to direct the solo movie starring his DC Comics character, but then he dropped out. Exactly one week ago, Matt Reeves was named the new director, or at least in “talks.” But those talks have broken down, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

However, they added this intriguing note:

“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 bigger than one person.”

Heads cool? Was there a spat? Can someone MacGyver a webcam into these meetings? They sound more interesting than the movie itself at this point.

The Contenders Presented By DeadlineWhen Reeves was first mentioned to be in talks to direct “The Batman,” THR said other directors remained in the wings, including Ridley Scott and “Don’t Breathe” director Fede Alvarez. So maybe one of them will jump on board.

THR said Reeves is currently busy with post-production on “War for the Planet of the Apes,” so stress from that could be a factor. As Collider added, it’s possible Warner Bros. wants to start production on “The Batman” right away and Reeves wanted more time. Or maybe he wanted more money. Or more script control. Or all of the above. It’s not clear.

What is clear is that “The Batman” is a work in progress, and we’re curious to see what Warner Bros. has to say when the studio announces the official director and official production start date for this movie.

Affleck’s Batman will be seen again soon, in “Justice League,” which will be released November 17.

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Emma Watson Explains Why Harry Potter Would Beat Darth Vader in a Fight

People always want to know who would win in a fight: X or Y. Emma Watson isn’t usually the type to weigh in on that sort of thing, but the world’s most adorable children sent videotaped questions to Watson via Entertainment Weekly, and a 5-year-old boy asked her about Harry Potter vs. Darth Vader. Because of course! So she answered. And her answer would definitely make J.K. Rowling proud.

Watson was asked a lot of good questions, some about her new film, “Beauty and the Beast” and the character of Belle, but others about “Harry Potter” and her role as Hermione. And, for whatever reason, she was also asked about Vader. Maybe that’s a sign that she’ll be in “Star Wars: Episode IX.” (Make it happen, Disney!)

Actually, the reason is a super-cute kid named Jacob, who didn’t just ask who’d win in a fight — Darth Vader or Harry Potter — he also did a funky little dance move when he was done. (As Emma says at the start of the Q&A video, “Where’d you get these kids? They’re all so cute. This is craziness.”)

So here’s her thoughtful answer to the Potter vs. Vader question:

“Harry Potter versus Darth Vader? Harry Potter. Definitely. Obviously. You’re only going to get so far in life when you’re cold and dry and mean. You’re not going to win in the end. You’ll do fine, but you’re not going to win in the end.”

Preach it, Hermione.

Watch the full Q&A:

“Beauty and the Beast” will be released in theaters March 17.

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Samuel L. Jackson Updates on ‘Unbreakable’ Sequel: ‘Let’s Get It On’

It has been more than 16 years since M. Night Shyamalan released his superhero/supervillain epic “Unbreakable,” and Samuel L. Jackson is ready to return for a sequel. There’s been talk of an “Unbreakable 2” for years, but now not only are stars Jackson and Bruce Willis ready to go, Shyamalan is working on a script, and Disney and Universal are reportedly ready to partner on the film.

Why now? Well, you probably can guess, but … in case you can’t …

SPOILER ALERT!

Spoilers ahead from Shyamalan’s latest movie “Split.” Stop reading now if you don’t want to know anything about that movie, as well as the first “Unbreakable” movie.

“Split” stars James McAvoy as Kevin Wendle Crumb, a guy with multiple personalities whom police nickname The Horde. At the end of the movie, someone recalls another crazy guy nicknamed by police. Some guy in a wheelchair 15 years ago… Then the camera reveals Bruce Willis’s “Unbreakable” character, David Dunn, who says the man’s name was Mr. Glass. Yep, “Split” and “Unbreakable” are part of the same universe. And now that “Split” has made a crapload of money — more than $170M at this point, off a $9M budget — everyone is ready to combine the worlds for a combined “Split 2″/”Unbreakable 2” movie.

Turns out, Sam Jackson found out about the twist the same way audiences did. He shared the story with Collider:

“I got a call and [Shyamalan] said, ‘Call me I wanna talk to you about something.’ And I called him, because I always do when I get a message from him always hoping [it’s ‘Unbreakable 2’], and he said, ‘I just did this film called Split, I want you to see it,’ and I was like ‘OK, I’m down with that.’ I had no idea what Split was about or anything else, and he said, ‘We’ll talk after you see it.’ So I went to the arranged screening and I called him immediately and was like, ‘OK dude does this mean what I think it means?’ and he was like, ‘Well first we gotta see how the movie does’. And I think the movie’s done well enough now to merit the ‘OK, let’s put this together.’”

Jackson told Collider he considers Kevin/The Horde “an adequate foe for what Bruce’s ‘Unbreakable’ character is in terms of him being sort of unbreakable too in that kind of way,” but now “It’s just a matter of breaking [Elijah’s] ass out of wherever that mental institution was they had me locked up and let’s get it on, let’s see what happens!”

The Wall Street Journal reports that Universal Pictures and Disney hoping to combine forces on the sequel, since “Unbreakable” was a Disney movie, and Universal distributed “Split.” A source told WSJ, “Disney expects to work with Universal as a partner, and participant in the profits. The two studios have yet to hammer out a deal for a sequel, in which Mr. Willis’s character likely would feature much more prominently, because Mr. Shyamalan is still in the planning stages.”

Shyamalan recently tweeted about the outline for his next movie, meaning his follow-up to “Split.”
In January, Shyamalan had a Q&A with The Hollywood Reporter about the plans for a “final” movie to combine worlds:

Did you always conceive of [‘Split’] as being part of the ‘Unbreakable’ universe?

This was always part of the “Unbreakable” world. Kevin Wendle Crumb was a part of the original, original script for “Unbreakable.” I pulled him out because it just wasn’t balancing right. But a bunch of the scenes that are in this movie, I wrote 15 years ago. They were as is. Patricia opening the door. Hedwig’s first scene. Those were all written already. And it’s literally from the same moment that I created all the characters, all three of those characters. But I knew I wanted to do a movie about him because I just loved him so much, and I thought it’s a rich world for storytelling, so I was super, super excited to finally make it.

You’ve teased an Unbreakable sequel for years. Was this it? Or are we going to see another one with Bruce Willis as the star?

This is down the line, but my hope is to make one final movie that combines the two.

It doesn’t sound like it’s too far down the line.

By the way, back in 2015 comedian Patton Oswalt shared an idea for an “Unbreakable” trilogy, picking up from the reference at the end of the first movie about other “Unbreakables” in the world. He suggested a sequel called “Unbreakables” with David Dunn assembling other superpowered people while Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah/Mr. Glass forms his own master plan from the asylum. At the time, Shyamalan liked the idea. Who knows, maybe grains of it will still be included in this “Split”/”Unbreakable” sequel.

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The ‘Power Rangers’ Suit Up and Go, Go in New Trailer

Power Rangers“Are we more like Iron Man or Spider-Man?” wonders one of the “Power Rangers” in the new trailer for the movie about the teen superheroes.

Maybe a bit of both, actually. The new trailer shows that these teens certainly know how to crack a line, all while brimming with excitement at the prospect of wearing really cool armored suits, wielding really cool gadgets, and kicking not-so-cool villainous butt in the form of Rita Repulsa (a wonderfully campy Elizabeth Banks).

There’s not a ton of new footage, though we get a first glimpse at Red Ranger (Darce Montgomery) using the signature Power Sword. The best part of the trailer comes at the end, when Bill Hader’s robotic assistant Alpha 5 gets in a few punches and screams “Yeah! Power Rangers!” like the kid inside all of us.

“Power Rangers” opens in theaters March 24.

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Love Is Very Complicated in Terence Malick’s ‘Song to Song’ Trailer

Song to SongAh, to be in love and make sweet music together — what could be better?

The trailer for Terence Malick’s “Song to Song” starts out blissful and sweet, as indie rockers Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara float through Austin, Texas, falling in love and playing music. Things get complicated by the arrival of music mogul Michael Fassbender and his waitress paramour Natalie Portman. It seems triangles and quadrangles ensue.

“We thought we could just roll and tumble. Live from song to song, kiss to kiss,” Mara says. If only love were that easy.

Malick filmed the movie during the 2012 Austin City Limits Festival, and word is that the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Iggy Pop make appearances. Also rumored for cameos are Arcade Fire, Florence & the Machine and Iron & Wine, as well as actors including Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett. But with Malick’s notorious reputation for brutal editing, you really never know what might end up in the final cut.

“Song to Song” debuts at SXSW on March 10, and then in limited release March 17.

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