Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Very Special Post Remembering My Mom

My Mother And Movies

On this what would have been her 80th birthday I would like to spend some time talking about--My Mom--and the films she loved..

From a very early age, I remember spending many Saturday afternoons with mom, watching a show called Creature Double Feature, where a local host would introduce classic horror films like Frankenstein, Dracula, (both from 1931), House of Wax (1953) The Blob, (1958) I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)-just to name a few.

Mom's favorite film star was James Cagney. Sitting down with her to watch White Heat was a both a treat and chore, because I really didn't understand the beauty of the black and white film yet. Into my adulthood I appreciate it as the masterpiece that it is. When the 4th of July rolled around, Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) became a family tradition. When Cagney died on March 30th 1986, I vividly recall her shedding a few tears upon hearing the sad news.

Mom liked films about the underdog overcoming adversity. The film saga of Rocky Balboa was her favorite of the genre.

Watching Ryan Coogler's excellent continuation Creed in the theater last Christmas--was very bittersweet. I thought about the time I saw the original film with my parents on the big screen. Memories flooded back. I think she would have loved it... and Sylvester Stallone were great together. They both deserved more attention from the Academy....Mom would have most likely agreed with me on that. If you have not seen it yet...It's a MUST WATCH...

Speaking of sagas...even though the first two Godfather films were not meant for kids my age, the first time they hit broadcast TV in the mid 70's, I was allowed to watch them. Of course I'm so glad my parents made the exception.

As mother and son we shared many other favorite films over the years. Comedies like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and High Anxiety, all from the mind of a master named Mel Brooks. We also got a kick out of Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the original Pink Panther movies, as well as Sellers' turn in the underrated Murder by Death (1976).

She warned me not to watch John Carpenter’s Halloween the first time it hit broadcast TV--It's not like the Creature Features she said... Sorry Mom--So glad I disobeyed you. Regular readers of the blog already know how special Carpenter's 1978 original is to me....And the Horror genre as a whole...the funny thing here is that The Godfather on network TV is waaaaay more violent and disturbing than Michael Myers.

When the news of Shirley Temple-Black's passing broke in February of 2014 ..I thought about my Mom...Oh how she loved watching Temple's films. At a young age I remember that she had them on nearly every Saturday when the local UHF station would run two of them back to back...At the tine I did not appreciate them. As an  adult--It's easy to see that Temple had a special kind of magic...that has never been duplicated. What I would not give for one more chance to sit with Mom to watch a Temple film.

Mom would also indulge me by sitting through multiple viewings of Superman and various "Star Trek" flicks...especially Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, without much of a fuss. Star Wars, on the other hand, was a tougher sell...

When my sister Karen suggested that I study film making in college--while I was still in High School--Mom tried to steer me into a more "stable profession" She would say "you should be a college professor--you could teach the kids of the future so much..." I did think about the teaching idea for a bit--but the pull of cinema was too strong...Here I sit...There is a bit of Irony considering the path that I find myself on now though...

Sadly, cancer took her from our family nearly 21 years ago...And now that Dad is also gone--It's been an even tougher slog

Thanks Mom for all of your love, support, and kindness for all of those years. I miss you every day. But I'm grateful that we shared lots of love, laughter, and of course many movie memories.

"Made it, Ma! Top of the world!'

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Baywatch Movie: Pics, Pecs And Bikini Babes

Here are the latest pics from the currently filming Baywatch movie.

The film puts a comedic spin on the worldwide success of the TV show that ran from 1989–2001
charting the exploits and rescues of a team of lifeguards--ala 21 Jump Street
Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, Priyanka Chopra, Hannibal Buress, Izabel Goulart, Charlotte McKinney and  all star in the film.

 Series stars David Hassehoff and Pamela Anderson are both set to appear.

In late 2011 "Rescue Me" co-creator Peter Tolan and Jeremy Garelick had reportedly finished their script then--Reno 911 creators and stars Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant were attached to work on the pic at one point as well In June 2012, Justin Timberlake was linked to play a disgraced former Olympic swimmer trying out for the Baywatch crew. But that version fell apart

Justin Malen did a rewrite of the script that Seth Gordon directs.

Ivan Reitman, Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are producing the pic.

The Paramount release opens May 19th next year.

 The new shots see main cast members riffing on the signature slow motion beach run that was a staple of the series.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Max Greenfield Lives In "The Glass Castle"

Variety reports that "New Girl" star Max Greenfield is in talks to join the dramedy "The Glass Castle".

Based upon author Jeannette Walls' memoir the story centers on a successful young woman (Academy Award winner Brie Larson) raised by severely dysfunctional parents who struggles to understand her childhood when her parents, unexpectedly, move to New York to be near her.

Greenfield will play Jeannette’s loyal, but distant husband. He had a privileged upbringing, and is now living in Westchester and working in finance. He tries to understand and help Jeannette cope with her parents’ unexpected arrival.

Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts also star as said parents.

Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12)
is directing from an adapted script he wrote with Andrew Lanham. Marti Noxon helped pen a draft as well

 Gil Netter is producing the film.

  Filming is set to begin in June in Montreal and it is set for release in 2017.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Is Alden Ehrenreich The Young Han Solo?

Deadline reports that Alden Ehrenreich ("Hail Caesar") is now the front-runner to star as a younger version of Harrison Ford's Han Solo in Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's upcoming Untitled Star Wars Anthology Film.

Ehrenreich was part of a list of contenders that included Taron Egerton ("Kingsman: The Secret Service," "Eddie the Eagle"), Jack O'Connell ("Starred Up"), Blake Jenner ("Everybody Wants Some!!") and Jack Reynor ("Transformers: Age of Extinction")--it seems that he is now apparently leading the pack after having an impressive test performance.

With production to begin later this year, a name is expected to be announced soon.

Peter Mayhew is playing the legendary Wookiee Chewbacca in the Solo tale.

Lawrence Kasdan ("The Empire Strikes Back," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" "The Force Awakens") and his son wrote the script.

 Kathleen Kennedy is producing and the film.

The film is scheduled for a May 25th 2018 release.

Channing Tatum Jumps Into "Kingsman: The Golden Circle"

Heat Vision reports that Channing Tatum has joined the comic based sequel "Kingsman: The Golden Circle".

The actor tweeted conformation of the news:

Created by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons--the comic book follows a seasoned Secret Service agent (Colin Firth) who takes a younger agent (Taron Egerton) under his wing as they investigate the murder of every resident of a small town and a mysterious secret involving Mount Everest.

Tatum's role is unclear as he was offered several with parts ranging from supporting roles to cameos, potentially including one in which he plays himself.

Egerton, Firth and Mark Strong are all returning for the latest chapter The newcomers to the franchise include Julianne Moore as the villain, Halle Berry as the head of Central Intelligence and Pedro Pascal as a lethal American agent. As reported earlier this week, Elton John is also in talks to join the pic.
Matthew Vaughn did a great job calling action on the 2014 action-spy film"Kingsman: The Secret Service" and returns to call action here too--using a script he script he co-wrote with Jane Goldman. The original film grossed a surprisingly healthy $415 million worldwide.

Production is slated to begin early May in London.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Scott Eastwood Drives Up To "Fast 8" Role

Deadline reports that Scott Eastwood ("The Longest Ride," "Suicide Squad") has joined the cast of "Fast 8," the latest installment of the action film franchise.

Eastwood confirmed the news on Twitter--will most likely play a new teammate on of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the protege of Kurt Russell’s federal agent, who will be reprising his role from Furious 7 as well..that's not been confirmed. Plot details are under wraps.

Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson and Michelle Rodriguez are set to return in their familiar "Fast" roles. Charlize Theron and Kristofer Hivju are playing the villains 

 F. Gary Gray takes the helm of the new film this Summer using 's script

Production is set to roll in New York, Iceland and Cuba to meet an April 14th release next year.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Neighbors 2" Peek & Poster

Late last week Universal Pictures released a new RED BAND trailer and poster for the comedy sequel "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising".

Here's the film synopsis:

“Now that Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) have a second baby on the way, they are ready to make the final move into adulthood: the suburbs. But just as they thought they’d reclaimed the neighborhood and were safe to sell, they learn that the new occupants next door are a sorority even more out of control than Teddy (Zac Efron) and his brothers ever dreamed of being.

Tired of their school’s sexist, restrictive system, the unorthodox ladies of Kappa Nu have decided to start a house where they can do whatever the hell they want. When Shelby (Chloe Moretz) and her sisters, Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein), find the perfect place just off campus, they won’t let the fact that it’s located on a quiet street stand in their way of parties as epic as the guys throw.

Forced to turn to the one ex-neighbor with the skills to bring down the new Greeks next door, the Radners—alongside best friends Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz) and Paula (Carla Gallo)—bring in charismatic Teddy as their secret weapon. If he can infiltrate the sorority and charm his way through it, the thirtysomethings will shutter the Kappas’ home. But if they think that their neighbors are going down without a fight, they have severely underestimated the power of youthful ingenuity and straight-up crazy.”

Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse are back as well-while actress/singer Selena Gomez and LL Cool J join the fun this time out.

The original film's director as well as writers Brendan O'Brien and Andrew Cohen are back too.  Rogen, his pal Evan Goldberg and Stoller helped out with the script.

The first film made over $268 million worldwide from an $18 million budget.

I liked the original flick quite a bit so we shall see...The new film looks pretty funny.

"Neighbors 2" opens May 20th.


Sunday, April 03, 2016

Superman-The Movie: The Inside Story

As regular readers of TLR will recall I credit Richard Donner's Superman--The Movie with a lot...And with Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice still making news and a comic book based film being released seemingly every few weeks it's easy to forget that STM was the first serious attempt to make the genre succeed on the big screen.

Stephen Galloway of The Hollywood Reporter recently talked to Donner about that time...

The famed director reveals how Marlon Bra do wanted to play Jor-El as a "bagel," fights with his producer and how he discovered Christopher Reeve for the first-ever big-budget superhero movie.

Fanboys and critics alike are arguing over how director Zack Snyder has portrayed Superman in 2013’s Man of Steel and the new Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. But when director Richard Donner brought the superhero to the big screen in 1978’s Superman, there were no such debates. The movie promised, “You will believe a man can fly,” and audiences bought it enthusiastically. The film grossed $300 million worldwide — the equivalent of $1.09 billion today — and it still boasts a 93 percent approval rating on

But the story behind the making of the movie is almost as dramatic as what appeared on screen. As Donner tells it, he was sitting on his toilet, riding high from the success of 1976’s The Omen, when the phone rang and Alexander Salkind introduced himself. “Do you know who I am?” he asked. Donner had never heard of him.

Salkind was the producer of 1973’s The Three Musketeers. He was also reported to have taken unused footage from that film and turned it into a sequel, 1974’s The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge, prompting the Screen Actors Guild to introduce “the Salkind Clause,” forbidding any filmmaker to divide a film into two installments without contractual permission.

Now he told Donner that he was months away from shooting Superman but had lost his original director, Guy Hamilton (Goldfinger). He wanted to offer Donner the job, along with a massive $1 million fee.

Salkind had already signed up Marlon Brando as Superman’s dad, Jor-El, and Gene Hackman as the villain Lex Luthor — the latter for a reported $2 million, the former for almost $4 million. He also had a hefty 500-page script in place, which covered one picture and a sequel, both to be shot back-to-back. But the clock was ticking, and he needed an answer.

Here Donner, the famed director of films such as Lethal Weapon and The Goonies, picks up the story, as he told it to Stephen Galloway March 29 in his Beverly Hills office.

I was hot. It was just a high point in my life, because I had done a lot of TV and then The Omen. I was getting a lot of calls and I had no idea where I was going. And then I got this call from Alexander Salkind.

He said, “Do you know who I am?” and I said, “No. Why are you calling me?” He said, “I’ll get to that. I’m a producer. Did you ever see The Three Musketeers?” I said I did see it, and he said “I produced that.” And I said, “The way I hear it, they tried to release a second picture without paying the actors.” He said, “Well, that’s a long story. I’m making Superman. I don’t have a director and I’ll pay you a million dollars.”

A million dollars! That was like saying “I’ll give you all the tea in China.” I said, “Oh. How many pictures is it?” He said, ”Two. I have Marlon Brando for X number of weeks and I have Gene Hackman, and we start shooting on such and such date.” I said, “Whoa, that’s close.” He said, “But we’re all prepared. We’re ready to go.” I said, “What’s your script like?” He said, “Perfect.”

There was a delivery guy at my door within an hour, with this script that was so thick and big you’d get a hernia from lifting it. And there were other things with [the package], and one of them was the Superman costume. So I sat down and read the script, and it took forever. It was the longest thing I have ever read. It was indulgent and heavy and had no point of view and treated [the comic books] with disrespect.

It was disparaging. It was just gratuitous action. I’m reading this thing and Superman’s looking for Lex Luthor in Metropolis, and he’s looking for every bald head in the city. And then he flies down and taps a guy on the shoulder and it‘s [Kojak’s] Telly Savalas, who hands him a lollipop and says, “Who loves ya, baby?”

I was brought up on Superman as a kid. There was a whole point in my life where I read Superman. So when I was finished with it, I was like, “Man, if they make this movie, they are destroying the legend of Superman.” I wanted to do it just to defend him.

I called [writer] Tom Mankiewicz, who had been a friend for years. He said, “I don’t want to get involved. I don’t want to do a comic book.” I said, “Tom it’s more than a comic book. Please come over.”

I got a little stoned, smoked some weed, put on the Superman costume. I was in pretty good shape then. It was like elastic. And Tom pulled up, and I ran across the lawn and Tom turned and looked at me and ran back to his car.

Tom says, “You’re crazy. Get the f— away from me!” I said, “Tom, listen. You’ve got to read this.” I gave him all my feelings about what we should do. I said, “The most important thing when you look at it is this: Make a love story. And prove a man can fly.” So he read it and he called me that night and said, “You know, there’s a lot we can do with this.”

The next thing, they were flying me to Paris [with Donner’s agent Steve Roth] to meet with Mr. Salkind.

Salkind lived in a hotel in Paris. Now, he [had a diplomatic passport] from Costa Rica, even though [he wasn’t] from Costa Rica. I thought, “What am I dealing with?” We went to his hotel. We met in his bedroom, because he had a cold. We sat down. He never got out of bed.

The first thing I said was, “Mr. Salkind, this needs a major rewrite.” He said, “No, no, no, this is a perfect script.” I said, “It’s not a perfect script.” So I started telling him all my feelings and he said, “You’re wrong.” I said, “Thank you for the trip to Paris, but I can’t do this.” And we started leaving. He said, “OK, tell me what you would rewrite.”

Then we had some money arguments and Steve and I walked out, went back to our hotel. Anyway, we get back to the hotel, and they’re on the phone, and they say, “OK, we agree.”

We were running late for the plane, and Mr. Salkind said, “I’ll have my driver take you.” We got into this big Citroen sedan, and the driver was [French president] Charles de Gaulle’s driver! He made it all the way from the Ritz to the airport in, like, 11 minutes.

[Soon after, Donner and Mankiewicz] were on a plane to London. And the next day we drove out to Pinewood, where they had the Superman offices, and met with their production team. And they laid out all their preproduction.

They had filmed some flying tests, and I looked at them and said: “This is terrible.” The flying was like bad television, like lying on a board on a process screen. The stuff they had was corny. I said: “You guys don’t understand. You’ve made a farce out of this.” So I called the Salkinds [Alexander and his son, Ilya] and said, “Listen, maybe this isn’t going to work. We have to start from scratch.” [They said:] “No, no, everything you have is perfect.”

All they cared about was what things cost. So we had to start literally from scratch. I threw everything out, and we had seven units shooting at the same time. I had the main unit broken down into stuff to shoot with [Superman], stuff to shoot with the heavies, the Brando setups. We had a flying unit [headed by veteran director] Andre De Toth. I had a miniature unit building dams, a miniature unit that was doing Krypton.

Tom was with me every second in London. Every morning my driver picked him up — I had a driver under contract, seven days a week, 24 hours, whenever I needed him. Every day, I had them pick up Tom, then we would drive to Pinewood or Shepperton. We shot at both.

We had a great casting director [Lynn Stalmaster]. He would put many, many people together. But the Salkinds wanted a name. I met with Sylvester Stallone because of them. I tried to be nice and say, “This is wrong.” I liked Stallone; he turned out to be a nice guy. He wanted to do it. I remember meeting him in his manager’s office and I was as cordial as I could be. He was a big star and I’m some punk kid.

A lot of actors wanted to do it. They gave me a list of all these names and I said “Listen. Your flying stuff is s—t, and I have to create a man who flies. Even if you saw Paul Newman or Robert Redford in that costume, no one is going to believe them.” I fought for an unknown.

Anyway, one of the actors comes in and it’s this kid, Chris Reeve. He walks in; he’s got this great big sweater on, blondish hair. I said, “What’s under the sweater?” And he says, “Well….” He has this thick sweater on and he’s this skinny kid. I said, “Problem quite honestly, buster, is I got to get a guy that is bulk, that looks like a muscle zoo.” He said, “Listen, I was a jock in school and when I went into acting I lost 50 lbs.” I said, “I don’t believe you — you’re an actor.” He says, “No, I did. I swear to you.”

I went down to see him in a play that night. It was some off-Broadway thing. He played two roles, as a son and a grandfather. And I kind of hired him on faith.

I had to go back to London, and I flew Chris back, which was so far from his life. When he told his father, who was a professor at Princeton, that he was doing Superman, his father said, “Man and Superman?” [George Bernard Shaw’s play]. That’s the world Chris came from. He came over, we did this test in costume, the one I had in L.A. He was just wonderful as Clark Kent and as Superman. He really got the idea of a terribly pained individual living a dual life.

He did the screen test with an actress in London, scenes with him as both Superman and Clark Kent. And when it was over, I told them I found my man.

I'd seen Margot Kidder [who played Lois Lane] in a TV series called Nichols. She was charming and very funny. When I met her in the casting office, she tripped coming in and I just fell in love with her. It was perfect, this clumsy [behavior]. She was one of the few [actresses] we flew to London to test with Chris. Anne Archer [also tested]. But they were magic together.

Let me tell you a funny thing about Margot. When we were shooting, her makeup man comes to me and says: “We have a little problem. Margot scratched her eye putting her contacts in.” I said, “Do it without your contacts.” That day she was wonderful, because she was wide-eyed, with no depth perception. She walked into a desk — and she was the girl I wanted her to be. She said, “But I can't see!” There was a law after that: every morning people had to come to me and make sure she didn't have her contacts in, and that she would act without her contacts. It just made her wonderful.

Brando lived in L.A. and I had to go and meet him. I called Jay Kanter, who was a very powerful agent and studio executive, and I said, “Can you give me any hints?” And he said, “He's going to want play it like a green suitcase.” I said, “What does that mean?” “It means he hates to work and he loves money, so if he can talk fyou into the fact that the people on Krypton look like green suitcases and you only photograph green suitcases, he'll get paid just to do the voice-over. That’s the way his mind works.“ I said, “F—,” and then I called Francis Coppola. He said, “He’s brilliant. He's got a brilliant mind. But he loves to talk. Keep him talking, and he'll talk himself out of any problem.”

So I go to California and I meet Marlon F—ing Brando at his house on Mulholland Drive. Myself, Tom Mankiewicz and Ilya Salkind. He and Jack Nicholson had a little compound. We rang the gate and a couple of German shepherds came down, and there's Marlon Brando. And it was hard to talk, because this is Marlon Brando! He invites us in and we go into his house for a drink; it was late in the afternoon and we sat down and we started to talk, and we talked and talked. Finally, it was getting dark and he said: “But listen, that's not why you're here. You're here to talk to me about [the role].”

He said, “Why don't I play this like a bagel?” I was ready for him to say “a green suitcase” and he said “bagel.” He said, “How do we know what the people on Krypton looked like?” He had good logic. He said, “Maybe they looked like bagels up there in those days?” I said, “Jeez, Marlon, let me tell you something.” He’d just told us the story about a kid [and how smart he was] and I said, “It's 1939. There isn't a kid in the world that doesn't know what Jor-El looks like, and he looks like Marlon Brando.” And he looked at me and smiled [and said], “I talk too much, don't I?” He said, “OK. Show me the wardrobe.”

He and Chris did not meet at the beginning. But they did have a scene, because I remember how nervous Chris was, working with Brando. But Brando was nice to him. He was nice to everybody. They had dinner; he was Chris’s hero. He was a doll. He was totally present, on time. Not difficult, [though] we had to put his dialogue on other actors’ chests. He would say, “I don't want to read it like I've read it before a bunch of times. The first time I read it, it'll be honest.” He made it work. He was the ultimate. He was Marlon Brando. He was Marlon F—ing Brando.

He saved Tom Mankiewicz’s life, probably. We were having dinner with Mr. Brando, eating steaks, and there was this woman in our party and all of a sudden, she started yelling at Tom, that he didn't know what he was doing. She grabbed a knife [from] the plate and goes to stab Tom. Marlon reached over and grabbed her and the knife and calmed her down. It was a steak knife and, God forbid, it could have very easily been a tragedy. It was nuts.

Every day for eight months, we’d run these tests of flying and look at dailies. A wonderful man came into our life, Zoran Perisic. In those days, a front projection unit was massive and weighed about a ton. And he had invented a front projection unit that weighed 35 or 40 lbs. It had a zoom on the projector and on the lens that was photographing all parts of this. So you could zoom and move. The camera was flexible. He came to me and we ran all these tests and I said, “This is f—ing great!” So I went to Salkind and said, “I want to do this,” and they wouldn’t pay the $25,000 for him to finish developing it. So Warners put it up. And the day we saw [Superman truly seem to] fly for the first time, there was dead silence. A couple of guys that ran the flying unit were crying, because it was so good.

We were traveling all over. We shot in New York. We shot in Calgary, Canada — which is where Smallville USA was. We had to go there eight months in advance to find the farm where Ma and Pa Kent live and plant rye, so that when we shot, it would be great flowing fields of wheat.

Everything went wrong. I mean, we were shooting in Calgary for all that exterior work, and we researched and researched, and it never rains in the summer in Calgary. It rained every day.

[During the shoot] I had a bunch of these handheld radios in my golf cart and I would get a call from production and they would say “Get over to stage blah blah. They’re doing the tests. We’re ready to shoot.” I’d go over there and go back and shoot the principals, and then get a new set-up that would take hours, because it was so vast.

The biggest problem I had was really with the producers, because instead of helping me, they were hurting me. The thing [with the Salkinds] was always about money. They’d say, “You can’t do this,” but I would have no alternative and they wouldn’t show me the budget. They never ever told me what the budget was. I had no idea what I was spending. I was making a movie and they wouldn’t tell me the budget. So there was no way I knew what I was spending. Sometimes I’d authorize something and nothing would be there; they would just arbitrarily cancel it. They didn’t want anyone to know where that money went, I guess.

They kept saying, “You’re going over budget.” And I would say, “How am I going over budget if I don’t know what the budget is?” It got to the point where I just told them: “Don’t come on to set. You’re counter-productive.” And it became us against them. They were against the quality of the movie.

We couldn’t find an ending. We talked and talked and finally we stole it from Superman II and figured when we finished that, we would have come up with a new ending.

I finally got a cut, and we were going to take the work print to Los Angeles and have a screening at the studio, because we were editing in London. It was all arranged, and [editor] Stuart Baird and I flew to L.A., and when we get there, I get a call from [Warner Bros. executive] John Calley, who says: “We’ve got a big problem. The Salkinds won’t release the work print because they say we’re trying to steal it.” And I say, “We can’t steal it. They have the negative there.” He said, “Well, they’re claiming that we can make a negative off the work print.” I said, “No, you can’t. That’s physically impossible.”

The negative had to be shipped to L.A. and [Warners had to pay the Salkinds] all this money [ to do so]. The negative had to be cut, timed, printed. So [there was no time to hold] test screenings. Not one. I saw it at the lab, no audience, without sound. The second one I saw with sound.

I didn’t know what I had until I saw it with an audience at the premiere. They loved it. I couldn’t believe it. It was thrilling.

[Donner was about to go to London to film what remained of Superman II.] I had almost bought a little Chevy van; I was going to ship it to England because it was big enough that I could have a desk in it and the chairs would recline. Then I get a call from my agent, who said: “I just received a telegram from the Salkinds. You are no longer needed.” That was it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Petitions Want Zack Snyder Outta The DCEU

It seems that some folks are so upset with the way that Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice turned out that they are petitioning the studio to have the helmer removed from his duties on The Justice League Part One which begins production next month...The notion has zero chance of working. One such recent effort asking to have Colin Trevorrow removed from "Star Wars: Episode IX" had 25,482 supporters but had no impact at all with production now underway.

Snyder's style, tone and approach are arguably the biggest criticisms in the reviews for 'Dawn' - the director gets the blame for things like the film's pacing and muddled narrative which have been labelled "messy" and "incoherent" in most reviews.

There are two different petitions to get Snyder removed not just from 'League' but all other involvement in the  DC Entertainment's long term Extended Universe plans--The first by Bryan Cruz has 5,000 supporters. The second by Taufique Radhakrishnan has 500.

One person who wasn't a fan of DOJ is Hollywood Babble-On podcast host Kevin Smith. The filmmaker, who helped promote the film during a special about the upcoming DCEU earlier this year, says he did not care for the film said it pales in comparison to his love for The CW's "The Flash" TV series :Smith directed an episode of the show for its 2nd season that will air during sweeps.

"Remember before when we were talking about Flash, and that it has heart, humor, and spectacle. The movie I felt like didn't really have a heart. It was certainly f--king humorless, there was nothing funny going on in that world whatsoever, but it had lots of spectacle. Like you can't take that away from Snyder. Boy, he knows how to like compose a frame and how to setup a shot. Beautiful visual stylist but you need more than just the pictures, you need like characterization and these characters seemed off character, particularly Superman... But, uh, you know, I'm happy that the DC Universe is going… I guess?

"Justice League: Part 1" is currently targeting a November 2017 release.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Batman v Superman Review: "God V. Man"

I would put Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice slightly ahead of its predecessor "Man Of Steel" in terms of  its plot--but in the end that's not saying much...

18 months after the events of MOS finds the world divided over Superman (Henry Cavill) following his battle over the skies of Metropolis with General Zod (Michael Shannon). Some see him as a hero and the salvation of mankind--while others think he is a threat that must be neutralized. The Batman  (Ben Affleck) of Gotham City has been its protector for some 20 years or so and is quite convinced that Superman is no hero. What both titans do not know is that brilliant businessman and scientist Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has been been manipulating events in order to carry out his own evil agenda...

I know I am stating the obvious here when I say that BvS has so much potential with the talent assembled that you would think that the film would impervious to criticism. I am not gonna complain about the film's serious tone since the script by Chris Terrio, who won an Oscar for writing Affleck's “Argo,” and David S. Goyer injects a few lines of levity this time out as opposed to MOS. Heck, even the fact that the movie basically exists to set up DC Entertainment's long term Extended Universe plans--did not bother me--I thought they did a good job introducing those elements. Indeed I am looking forward to seeing the further exploits of Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. Jason Momoa as AquamanRay Fisher playing the role of Cyborg and  as The Flash in solo films and The Justice League Part One down the road.

Affleck did solid work playing Bats here with the script infusing this version with the vibe from Frank Miller’s 1980s ground-breaking mini-series The Dark Knight Returns.  Cavill and Amy Adams as Lois Lane share some nice scenes playing a couple living together. Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane provide good support here as Perry White and Martha Kent.

By now I know some of you are asking 'Tom this review sounds mighty positive--what gives?'

Believe me my issues with BvS are BIG-- bringing down the entire film for me...You bring together two of the genre/s best characters promising one epic cinema brawl--after lots of build-up...and what do we get? A sequence that lasts maybe 12 minutes in total screen time so that the filmmakers could shoehorn a genetically created hybrid Doomsday from the famed Death of Superman comics storyline in the movie. His intro and execution are handled so poorly that it left me with a few douche-y chills.

My biggest issue with BvS is Eisenberg's Luthor--Without a doubt the WORST incarnation of the villain in any medium. This once described "greatest criminal mind of our time" comes across as some high-pitched Millennial Spazz spouting lines of incoherent nonsense every minute he is on screen. It got so bad that I found myself wishing that Supes would just put Lex out of his misery...and ours...To think that there was at one time reports that suggested that former "Breaking Bad" star and Oscar nominee Bryan Cranston was playing Lex in the movie. What could have been?  This Lex casting makes the decision to put Richard Pryor in Superman III seem brilliant by comparison...If the bad guy doesn't work your heroes are not left with much....Hoping that Lex stays in jail for a long time.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Harrison Ford On Indy And Han

"The Force Awakens" hits home video in early April--the film's star Harrison Ford is on the stump showing up on both "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "Ellen DeGeneres" this week to promote the release with talk turning to recent news about his two most iconic characters - Han Solo and Indiana Jones.

The characters will show up in new films with a young Solo coming to theaters in 2018 while Indiana Jones 5 is released in 2019.

With regard to Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's upcoming Untitled Star Wars Anthology Film DeGeneres asked him if he had any advice for a young actor taking on the role He said:

"Don't do it. First, it seems like everything's going swimmingly, and you put in 25, 30 years, and then they just let you go. And they show you the door and say, ‘We're done with you, thanks very much.'"

Ford says that he is excited about reprising his role as Indy. He tells Jimmy:

"I'll be ready - I'm excited about it. The opportunity to work with Steven again on this character which has brought pleasure to so many, not to mention me - it's fun. It's great fun to play this character, it's great fun to work with Steven. I'm looking forward to it."

Ford also sat down for an interview with The BBC where talk turned towards the new "Indiana Jones" film. In the interview, he confirmed that he always wanted to make another film in the series, but wouldn't do it unless Spielberg was calling action:

"I've always thought there was an opportunity to do another. But I didn't want to do it without Steven. And I didn't want to do it without a really good script. And happily we're working on both. Steven is developing a script now that I think we're going to be very happy with."

Kathleen Kennedy is producing the film with Frank Marshall Last week it was announced that David Koepp (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) is writing the script.

It isn't known when production is slated to begin.

Ford also spoke about the potential of playing Han Solo role again in future films--and  despite the events of 'Force,' he seemed surprisingly open to the idea (SPOILERS AHEAD):

"Anything is possible in space. I wanted Han Solo to sacrifice himself for the good of the other characters to bring some gravitas to the story. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to work with the other characters, to work on a script that I had real confidence in, with actors that were a dream to work with, with a director that had a very sure and generous hand, and it was altogether a pleasure. I hope I bring an emotional understanding of the characters and something the audience will recognize. I want the audience to experience the character, not to feel that they know him but to be involved in seeing what happens to him"

Monday, March 21, 2016

Taron Egerton Talks Han Solo Chatter

Last week Heat Vision & Justin Kroll told us that Taron Egerton ("Kingsman: The Secret Service," "Eddie the Eagle"), Alden Ehrenreich ("Hail Caesar"), Jack O'Connell ("Starred Up"), Blake Jenner ("Everybody Wants Some!!") and Jack Reynor ("Transformers: Age of Extinction") were in contention to play a younger version of Harrison Ford's Han Solo in Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's upcoming Untitled Star Wars Anthology Film.

With production to begin later this year, a name is expected to be announced soon.

Egerton appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show over the weekend where the actor was asked directly about the possibility and indicated that he hasn't been contacted by either Lucasfilm or Disney about the role:

"I've heard this rumor, yes. I mean, I've seen the stuff on the Internet, and I think any lad of my age would kill to play a part like that. It's very, very flattering. I have no idea if there's any truth in it, but I mean, Lucasfilm, Disney, if there is, then you know where I am."

Ross then asked specifically if studio suits had contacted him, to which he flatly said "No, they've not".

Peter Mayhew is playing the legendary Wookiee Chewbacca in the Solo tale.

Lawrence Kasdan ("The Empire Strikes Back," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" "The Force Awakens") and his son wrote the script.

The film is scheduled for a May 2018 release.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

An Update On "Maze Runner" Star Dylan O'Brien

On Friday TMZ reported that Teen Wolf series co-star and NJ native Dylan O'Brien was hit by a car on the set of the currently in production adaptation of the third and final book in the Maze Runner Series--The Death Cure.

Rushed to the hospital, the injuries were described as "severe" and are serious enough that the shoot has been postponed.

The film's director Wes Ball talked about the on-set accident in a letter he tweeted out on Saturday offering an update:

"Well, it's been a whirlwind of emotions these past few days. I've been overwhelmed with feelings of anger and sadness and guilt. But, ultimately I find myself left with a deep love and respect for Dylan. He is one tough cookie. I'm sorry for the grief this accident has caused his friends and family as well as my wonderful cast and crew. It's scary seeing your friend get hurt, but fortunately, Dylan is going to be just fine. After a few weeks of rest and recovery he'll be back up and running to finish our adventure together. All the best."

Author James Dashner tweeted his well wishes on Friday:

"I just want to let everyone know that yes, Dylan was hurt, but that he's going to be okay. Not life threatening in any way. Production is postponed but certainly not cancelled. All that matters now is that Dylan recovers. We love you, Dylan!!!"

Regular readers of TLR may recall that I am huge fan of O'Brien's TV and film work. I am absolutely thrilled and very relived that he will OK. Get well soon Dylan!

Fox was targeting a February 17th 2017 release but that date is likely be pushed back.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Batman v Superman-DOJ: R-Rated Cut Details

Recently it was announced that Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice would be getting an R-rated Director's Cut that will be a part of the eventual disc release.

A week away from the film's release, Snyder's wife and producing partner Deborah told THR that contrary to popular belief--the success of the salty superhero pic Deadpool played no part in the decision to make this alternate version:

"Online, everyone's like, 'Oh, they're doing an R-rated in reaction to Deadpool,' and you're like (laughing), 'We didn't just shoot it last week, and we also didn't edit it last week'."

She also shot down rumors that the film underwent re-editing in the wake of the reaction to the early trailers:

"No. When we had a locked picture, we didn't change anything. We've been working on the 3D. We did the 3D conversion after the movie was done."

Zack spoke about the extended cut which runs a full half-hour longer than the 151 minute theatrical cut:

"The DVD version is a half-hour longer, and some of that additional material is some of the stuff we took out for the rating. I was like, 'Cool, I can put it back in for the director's cut.' There was nothing by design. This was the material I just put back in, and then when [the  MPAA] looked at it again, they were like, 'Oh, now the movie's rated R.' And, by the way, it's not a hard R. There's no nudity. There's a little bit of violence. It just tips the scale."

Snyder has done longer cuts of his Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen that improved on already great films 

He also isn't concerned about criticism that BvS is too serious saying:

"I just gave it the weight that it deserves as far as the mythological conformation. But it's still a guy in a red and blue suit fighting a guy in a black suit. I mean, they're in costumes. The movie is fun, and Batman fights Superman. If you can't have fun there, then something's kind of wrong with you."

The serious tone of the sequel matches that of  "Man Of Steel". Knowing that going in I am hopeful that I will like the new film a lot more....Sources say the new movie is going for the tone of the relationship and fight seen in Frank Miller’s 1980s ground-breaking graphic novel mini-series The Dark Knight Returns. We shall see soon enough.

If you want to know the Biggest Test Screening Spoilers & Details be sure to click the link.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

What About "Iron Man 4"?

A lot of movie-goers I talk to comic book fan or not are looking forward to seeing many of Marvel's superheroes face off against one another in "Captain America: Civil War" in May....

That said, many folks are also wondering if we'll ever see another "Iron Man" solo flick at some point.  Chatting with USA Today, "Metal Head" himself actor Robert Downey Jr. suggests that 'Civil War' is effectively "Iron Man 4" as far as he's concerned:

"I don't think that's in the cards. In a way it's Cap 3 but for me it's like my little Iron Man 4. And then it's back to the thing we all recognize. Everything pulls over to the side of the road when the thunder of an Avengers thing comes through because that's how it is until it changes. If it changes."

RDJ is contracted for Avengers: Infinity War - Part I /Avengers: Infinity War - Part II but then his current deal is up...We shall see.

Meantime you can watch the latest (and really kick ass) "Civil War" trailer here. The pic opens  May 6th 2016

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Life, Death, & Resurrection--Why TLR Is Back...

Hey everyone.

I hope you guys have been living a good life in the time I have been away....

Originally I had absolutely no intention of returning to the blogosphere--I had happily moved on with no regrets--and then--on January 9th my father passed away from complications after a fall. He was 84. Since that time--my career shifted a bit. It is not a life altering occurrence but it has been tweaked enough to help this decision along.

In the wake of my father's passing one word began repeating in my head over and over....


If TLR is to be a part of what I leave tapestry if you will--I did not like how I ended it last July--There were a few more things I wanted to accomplish in this space--Hopefully I can. And that you my very loyal readers will enjoy the ride along the way. I am hoping to regain any folks that rightfully walked away--and pick up newbies as well. Spread the word....

All of that said I have decided things will be different this time out:

Before the injury to my right hand I was writing multiple posts a day--sometimes at the cost of other aspects of living--not this time--I will post often to be sure--but I won't be "Married" to the blog--Life is short after all. The Twitter handle @TheLastReel is here to catch the news that doesn't make it into a blog post the way it used to...Thanks for understanding in advance the notion behind these changes.

I appreciate your support--Now let's go "out there....Thataway"

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Oscars Viewing Poll

Thanks! I will have news about the Blog's relaunch soon...Stay Close!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Breaking News....

Life has taken another turn for me--and that means that the TLR Blog will make a comeback soon....All will be explained...Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Before I Go...

Hey kids...

I thought writing this final post would be a piece of cake once I announced that I am bringing the blog to a close. Indeed it is the exact opposite...And it's all your fault.

Your loyal readership over the past 9 years and 9 months has been nothing short of amazing. There are a lot movie sites on the Net where you could go--The fact that you came here...and then stayed here is incredibly gratifying. In that sense I see TLR as nothing but a success.


This is not a decision I made lightly believe me. The injury to my right hand played into the move--My protracted condition means that my ability to do right by you my loyal readers--has been nixed.  Therefore even as I explore all of my options going forward I can't do the blog justice-having always maintained that  if I couldn't satisfy my perfectionism it would be time to pull the plug. My original thought was to stick around long enough to mark the 50th anniversary of Star Trek but the film gods had other plans......The good news is that the blog will live on through Twitter You can follow me @TheLastReel. I am hoping that we will be able to interact there before too long...

In the absence of TLR please visit my good friend Brittani Burnham at Rambling Film---you will have fun.

I credit Richard Donner's Superman--The Movie with a lot...and say goodbye with this....

This blog is lovingly dedicated to the memory of my Mom, my niece Kayla and my lovely "B" I miss you every day...and I love you...

Live life Happy and all the best.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Director Elias Will Miss TLR

One of the best things about doing TLR has been getting to know filmmakers from all over the world--I took a lot of folks by surprise when I announced that I am bringing the blog to a close this month. Among those saddened by the decision was Gut helmer Elias.

He took time out of his busy schedule to pen a wonderful short essay about the blog. The big E even suggests where my online career should go next. Here it is:

"We came across Tom and his blog back in 2012 when I was promoting my first feature film "Gut". We had been querying and sending out screeners for review to any and all of the movie blogs we could find in an effort to get the word out about the film. We received our fair share of praise and critique for the film and Tom's review fell somewhere in the middle, managing to be both critical and complimentary, but unquestionable fair -- qualities in film reviews that are often lacking in my humble opinion. Still it was a mixed review ultimately, and you might think we would have all left it there, but Tom very graciously followed his review with a written interview of yours truly where I was able to expand more on my intentions with the movie, my experiences making it, and working in independent film overall. It was a kind and generous gesture for Tom to continue the conversation about Gut on his blog, and one that he didn't have to make, but that reflects his dedication and love for movies and respect for those that make them, which this filmmaker and movie buff deeply appreciates. The Last Reel will be missed, Tom, but our friendship will remain, and I'm grateful for that. Perhaps a podcast is in the future? I know someone who would be glad to come on and banter about movies and filmmaking anytime " ~Elias

Thanks for your very kind words--They mean more to me than you know....Our Round 2 chat was even more fun.

I am working on my exit post to be published soon....Stay Close.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

SDCC 2015: Batman v Superman-DOJ Sizzle Reel

Even with its very bleak tone I must admit that my inner fanboy loved the San Diego Comic-Con International peek for Zack Snyder's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"

 DOJ will see the return of Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent, Ben Affleck will play Bruce Wayne/Batman amid lots of fallout--while Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane are set to reprise their roles as Lois Lane, Perry White and Martha Kent. "Fast Five" star Gal Gadot's playing Wonder Woman. Jason Momoa has been cast as Aquaman,

The death of Thomas and Martha Wayne will be part of the narrative with "Watchmen" actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan said to be playing Thomas.

 Ray Fisher is playing the role of Cyborg in the film. Jeremy Irons has been cast as Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth. Jesse Eisenberg is playing Lex Luthor

There were reports that suggested that the chatter about former "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston was playing Lex in the upcoming movie were true were denied by the actor. In fact he and fellow early frontrunner Mark Strong were never offered the role. Tom Hanks was internally discussed but an offer was never made.

Instead, they stuck with a next generation' mandate. We were told that Joaquin Phoenix came up as a contender for Lex. The trade says that he passed.

Speaking of Lex--JoBlo posted a rumor suggesting that Luthor's iconic purple and green battle suit from the comics will make it to the big screen.

Latino Review reports that four secondary villains are making an appearance in DOJ: Victor Zsasz Morgan Edge Amanda Waller and David Cain.

According to their sources, the serial killer Zsasz will fight with Affleck's Batman in an early Gotham City-set scene. Edge will be the slimy public relations head of LexCorp who goes toe to toe with Lois Lane on a TV talk show. Cain will meet with Luthor's bodyguard Mercy to set up an assassination. There's also another baddie  that is yet to be cast . In this incarnation Waller's a stern, intimidating senator who sees Superman as a threat and comes up with a counter measure to stop him.

Latino Review reports that a flashback scene was recently added to Batman v Superman which will see Oscar winner Jared Leto's Joker from the film version of  the "Suicide Squad" comic book beating Batman's sidekick Jason Todd (the second Robin) to death.

Holly Hunter, Callan Mulvey and Tao Okamoto ("The Wolverine") have joined the cast. Specifics about their new characters are being kept under wraps. Although the trailer reveals Hunter plays a politico Australian actor Mulvey (Zero Dark Thirty ," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier") has  been rumored for the role of an (unnamed) villain in the film for quite some time now....TMZ said that he is playing Batman's greatest foe --The Joker.....Scoot McNairy ("Argo," "The Rover") has joined the film. Nobody at the studio will confirm the news or reveal what the role is.

 Spanish site El Multicine which claims that "Looper"and "Edge Of Tomorrow" actress Emily Blunt inked a deal for an unspecified role.

Batman on Film also suggests that the character of Commissioner Jim Gordon is in the film, however there's no word on potential casting or confirmation at this time. The character is front and center in Fox Broadcasting's fantastic new Fall TV Series prequel Gotham starring  , , and

More rumors ran that Girls co-star Adam Driver was the frontrunner to play the character of Dick Grayson, the post-Robin Nightwing incarnation in the film. The original story mentioned that two other actors are in the mix for the role. Less than 24 hours later "Gossip Girl" and "Easy A" star Penn Badgley and "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin" star Ezra Miller were said to be in mix for the part. Driver denied any such talk...With good reason since he was really up for Lex. He turned it down due to scheduling conflicts. Denzel Washington was also among a list potentials for Lex generated by Thinkmcflythink as were Idris Elba and.

Last August Superhero Report posted a photo of actress Jena Malone meeting her "Sucker Punch" director on the set. This led to speculation that she may make a cameo in the film. At the time Malone denied that talk, saying her set visit was just a visit. Channel 10 WILX in Michigan claims to have an anonymous film extra as a source who says that Malone is in the film and she's playing a female Robin aka Carrie Kelley

El Mayimbe from the Shanlian on Batman podcast has apparently confirmed rumors that Doomsday from the famed Death of Superman comics storyline will indeed appear in the film  The design is said to be very faithful to the comic and looks "incredible".

Singer Justin Bieber uploaded a photo on his Instagram account showing him holding up what appeared to be a personalized script for the film with the hashtag "#Robin" but it turned out to be a prop for a Funny or Die skit.

The speedster The Flash is said to be in the script.

Meantime: The star of The CW's popular Arrow TV series Stephen Amell posted a "Justice League" comic image on his official Facebook page.  We already know that Flash (Grant Gustin) showed up there for a few eps before getting his own show (Watch an extended trailer). Could more of DC Entertainment's "Justice League" be coming to "Arrow"? The answer is yes...For now the DC Cinematic Universe will NOT co-exist with the TV heroics...There are rumors about where the films might go as well as the  TV side of things...

"Man Of Steel" writer David S. Goyer was back on the keyboard but now--THR reports that  Chris Terrio, who won an Oscar for writing Affleck's “Argo,” has been hired to write the latest draft of the MOS 2 script. 

Goyer is in the midst of developing several projects including an adaptation of author Neil Gaiman's  popular comic book series Sandman, which he’ll produce with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven return to executive produce the multi-hero film. 

Sources say the new movie is going for the tone of the relationship and fight seen in Frank Miller’s 1980s ground-breaking mini-series The Dark Knight Returns.

The DOJ release was delayed a full 10 months for a number of reasons. As a result, the original release date of July 17th 2015 was no longer. The studio then targeted a May 6th 2016 release. They quickly inserted the fantasy Pan into that original slot. The sequel was to go head to head with "Captain America 3" ...Nobody thought that the comic book pics would ultimately share the date--Sure enough DOJ blinked--and will now open on March 25th 2016.

Once DOJ is completed  Snyder will helm DC Entertainment's long planned Justice League movie The Justice League Part One--penned by "Argo" scribe Terrio