Sunday, June 19, 2016

Remembering My Dad And Movies

Hey folks:

It's still kinda hard to believe that my Dad passed away some six months ago. And that today is my first Father's Day without him...It's been hard but thankfully I have an excellent support system that is helping me muddle though.

Just as did with my Mom I want to devote some space to share my movie memories that focus on him....

Dad HATED going to the movies. He thought everything was overpriced (He's not wrong there!) and did not like sitting in a darkened theater for very long. The last film he saw at the cineplex was the Oscar-winning epic Titanic for heaven's sake--believe me with a 3 hour plus running time it was a tough slog for him. When I asked him later that day what he thought of James Cameron's hit film; His reply? "It was OK." He could not understand what all the fuss was about.

My parents shared many favorite films: The film saga of Rocky Balboa; Mel Brooks' comedies like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and High Anxiety; the first two Godfather films--that said he also had his own list as well. His favorite actress was Sophia Loren. She has talent to be sure. But I also think her Italian accent had a lot to do with the reason she was tops on his list. Yeah let's go with that. Among actors  Sean Connery and his exploits as James Bond were tops. He may not have enjoyed watching films with a long running time in the theater--in the comfort of his home--length did not matter 1970's biopic Patton starring the great George C. Scott in the title role (A must watch if you have never seen it), the star-studded biblical story The Ten Commandments (1956) and it's cousin--the original Ben-Hur (1959) were favorites. I wonder how he would feel about the upcoming remake of the latter?

I remember being in another part of my childhood home while my folks were watching television in the family room. I was working on a paper for one of my film classes--trying to beat back a case of writer's block for my conclusion. I was startled out of deep concentration by the sound of uncontrolled and very intense laughter. The sound originated from dad. I first thought he was in some sort of dis-stress...I rushed out to see what was going on...To my surprise by the time I got there dad was literally falling off our love seat--laughing so hard I thought he was gonna wet his pants. As it turns out he and mom were watching the comedy  “What About Bob?” In the film a successful psychotherapist/author () loses his mind after one of his most dependent patients, () a manipulative, obsessively compulsive narcissist, tracks him down during his family vacation.

Here's one of the bits Dad loved:

When I told Dad that I was quitting my job to make a short film---he was not a happy guy and not very supportive of the decision at all. It was a pretty heated exchange--I said things, he said things, pretty bad...I realized soon after that, just like Mom years earlier, he was just looking out for my best interest. I forged ahead with my writer/cinematographer Matt. While we were filming on location, he surprised me pulling up in his car, saying he wanted to see what we were up to. I don't think he had a clue what was happening. By the end of his set visit he helped us get some tricky shots on film--and then offered to buy everyone lunch. Once "Crossroads" was completed and he watched it he was all smiles. He did have one criticism--"I could have done without all of those curse words". Mind you growing up I heard Dad curse up a storm almost every day without much concern for my virgin ears...I treasure the footage that he helped us get and his set visit meant a lot.

Gosh I miss you dad--I wish you and mom were here...Thanks for all of your love and support. Some days are really rough. Love your son...

This post is also for my brother Nick--who is also a father to three girls--I love you...

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Zac Efron Going Under Big Top For "Showman"

Variety reports that Zac Efron is in talks to join the long gestating musical biopic The Grenatest Showman on Earth.

In development for nearly a decade, the film will tell the story of American showman P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) who had a knack for hoaxing a gullible public even as he created the three-ring circus that made him a household name. The pic also traces his infatuation with singer Jenny Lind known as the Swedish Nightingale. The Lind role was being eyed for Anne Hathaway way back when...Now it's uncast.

Efron's role is not yet known.

Michael Gracey will direct the project.

Jenny Bicks wrote an early script draft with British pop singer-songwriter Mika to write the music and lyrics for the film. Filmmaker Bill Condon was then hired to write a new draft in 2013.

"Dreamgirls" producer, Laurence Mark, will oversee production with Jackman and John Palermo set to produce.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Neighbors 2 Review: "Let's Shut This S@&t Down!"

 It's hard to believe that it has been 2 years since Universal Pictures released the R rated comedy Neighbors. Since I liked the original flick quite a bit--my expectations for "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising" going in-were perhaps a bit higher than they would have otherwise been. How does the sequel measure up?

As the film opens we find out that Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are expecting a second child. With the family about to grow--the couple decide that they are ready to make the final move into adulthood: the suburbs. But just as they thought they’d reclaimed the neighborhood and it was 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 were.

Tired of their school’s sexist, restrictive Greek system, the unorthodox ladies of Kappa Nu have decided to start a house where they can do whatever 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.

After Teddy's best friend Pete (Dave Franco) gets engaged--he finds himself homeless-striking a deal with the Nu girls for a place to live in exchange for his expertise on how to work the system. The Radner's are desperate to ensure that their home sells without any problem. Easier said than done. Soon though Teddy is given the boot by the gals and he switches sides as a secret weapon for Mac and Kelly...

Once again the original film's director as well as writers Brendan O'Brien and Andrew Cohen return to steer the festivities.  Rogen, his pal Evan Goldberg and Stoller helped out with the script this time. As before, (mostly) everything works. The film is light on it's feet and very raunchy fun.

Efron's comedic muscles continue to flex with a turn in the adult laugh-fest Dirty Grandpa as well as the upcoming Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and next year's Baywatch movie. It remains to be seen whether or not those not yet released movies portend that this is a good career trend for him. So far so good. He has shed his teen beginnings and High School Musical for sure.

 The filmmakers know what worked before and didn't really change the recipe--the entire cast works well with each other. Happily the Radner's best friends Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz) and Paula (Carla Gallo) are given a bit more to do here. The newbies Moretz Clemons and Feldstein make fine additions. As leader Shellby--Moretz is just great! Characters we like and care about is the film's secret weapon amid all of the f-bombs and airbag gags.

Neighbors 2 is that rare comedy sequel that works out very well--that said--I hope the team thinks long and hard before making a third one...

Friday, June 03, 2016

Bill Skarsgård Tipped For "It" Big Bad

One of the series that I am currently working my way through is the now completed Netflix original Hemlock Grove. I am about halfway through the 2nd season and I am really digging it.

Well now Heat Vision reports that one of its stars Bill Skarsgård is talks to join the newest two-part film adaptation of author Stephen King's novel It.

The story follows a group of teen outcasts (called 'The Losers Club') in 1958 who encounter 'It', a shapeshifting creature that feeds on children and whose favorite form a sadistic clown called Pennywise.  And then In 1985 the creature resurfaces. The kids, who're now adults, must take on the demon of their childhood again - this time in a different form.

Skarsgård (who played Roman Godfrey on Grove) is said to be the frontrunner to play Pennywise--and based on his work for the Net show--I think he'd be a great choice. Will Poulter (The Revenant) was previously eyed for the role when "Sin Nombre" director Cary Fukunaga was set to call action on the project. Poulter had to step out due to scheduling conflicts. “Band of Brothers” star Kirk Acevedo was in the running as well.

 Jaeden Lieberher (St. Vincent), Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), Jack Dylan Grazer (Tales of Halloween), Wyatt Oleff (Guardians of the Galaxy), Chosen Jacobs (Cops and Robbers) and Jeremy Ray Taylor (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip) are said to be in talks to play the young incarnations of the group of friends.

Andy Muschietti, who directed 2013’s “Mama”, will sit in the big chair.

 The new version will take place in contemporary times and will be tipped as a rated R affair

Dan Lin, Roy Lee, David Katzenberg, and Seth Grahame-Smith are producing.

The book was previously adapted as a solid 1990 2 part TV mini-series with John Ritter, Harry Anderson, and Tim Curry ('The Rocky Horror Picture Show') as Pennywise that was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Director's Cut Goes Blu

Hey Guys!

I know it has been a while since I posted anything on TLR--I of my goals with the relaunch has been to do less stories that just regurgitate film news per se--That's what Twitter handle @TheLastReel is here for--and instead focus on stuff that allows for a bit more commentary from me...I hope the slight shift makes for a better blog.

Moving on.

Tuesday June 7th will see the Blu-ray debut of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Director's Cut! This version of the popular sequel has been around since about 1985 when the film made its network television bow. Director edited back in three minutes of material that adds some great character moments between Kirk (William Shatner) and McCoy (); Spock () and his protegee' Saavik (); And finally gives Scotty () a meat on the bone subplot-his expanded scene in Sickbay gets me every time...Among other bits of footage.

Meyer did a similar addition thing when his 1991 franchise return Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country hit home video. I hope the powers that be will release that cut on Blu as well.

In the Prime timeline Khan Noonien Singh is the genetically enhanced human--An American Sikh of the 1967 episode of "Star Trek" called Space Seed played both times by the great Ricardo Montalban...Despite making $467 million worldwide, "Star Trek Into Darkness" still divides the core fanbase...Thanks to the fact that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch's baddie "John Harrison" in  J.J. Abrams’ sequel is really Khan in the rebooted timeline....Before STID opened I was totally against the notion of reimaging Kahn and stated my position loudly...Once I saw the film I was won over in large measure because of Cumby's magnetic portrayal ...All of that said though it's widely regarded that Montalban's version is the best Trek villain in its 50 year history. The debate will continue...

Here are specs on the TWOK-DC Blu-ray:

The Blu-ray  release will be presented in 1080p high definition with English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish Mono Dolby Digital and Portuguese Mono Dolby Digital with English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
  • Director’s Edition in high definition
  • Theatrical Version in high definition
  • Commentary by director Nicholas Meyer (Director’s Edition & Theatrical Version)
  • Commentary by director Nicholas Meyer and Manny Coto (Theatrical Version)
  • Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda (Director’s Edition)
  • Library Computer (Theatrical Version)
  • The Genesis Effect: Engineering The Wrath of Khan—NEW!
  • Production
o   Captain’s Log
o   Designing Khan
o   Original interviews with DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Ricardo Montalban
o   Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects ofStar Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
o   James Horner: Composing Genesis
  • The Star Trek Universe
o   Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics
o   A Novel Approach
o   Starfleet Academy: The Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI
  • Farewell
o   A Tribute to Ricardo Montalban
  • Storyboards
  • Theatrical Trailer
 Sure most of the extras port over from previous releases of the film. The tech specs are an upgrade though. For the record I am not a fan of the box art here...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Travis Fimmel Lands "Inversion" Role

Deadline reports that "Warcraft" and "Vikings" star Travis Fimmel has joined the cast of the sci-fi film "Inversion".

The story follows a street-wise American con man, and a young Chinese physicist as they race against the clock to save the earth from a terrifying loss of gravity.

Paul Haggis, David Arata and Bragi Schut wrote the script from which Peter Segal will call the shots.

Michael Nozik, Philip Lee and Markus Barmettler will produce the movie.

Production kicks off in Dublin, Shanghai and Chicago on September 12th.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dylan O'Brien Tapped As "American Assassin"

Deadline reports that NJ native Dylan O'Brien ("The Maze Runner," "Teen Wolf") is in negotiations to play the title character in "American Assassin".

Based on author Vince Flynn's eleventh Mitch Rapp novel that charts a Cold War veteran (Michael Keaton), who would be the most feared training officer in the CIA if more than a handful of people at the agency actually knew of his existence. His deputy director tasks him with training a black ops recruit (O'Brien) devastated by the loss of his fiancee to a terrorist attack. The pair is eventually dispatched on a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative from kicking off a global war.

"Kill the Messenger" director Michael Cuesta will call action from an adapted screenplay written by Stephen Schiff.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler are producing the film

Production begins this Summer.

CBS Films won the rights to the Rapp novels back in 2008 and originally planned to begin the series with an adaptation of "Consent to Kill" that Antoine Fuqua was due to direct Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell and Matthew Fox were all on the list to potentially play CIA agent Rapp.

O'Brien is still said to be recovering from injuries he sustained after an on set accident during production of the adaptation of the third and final book in the Maze Runner Series--The Death Cure.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Taylor-Johnson Stands Behind "The Wall"

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is in talks to star in Doug Liman's "The Wall" reports Variety.

The cat-and-mouse thriller follows an American sniper (Taylor-Johnson) and an Iraqi sharpshooter who has him pinned down behind a small chunk of concrete.

Taylor-Johnson reportedly won Liman over for the highly coveted role after several meetings.

Liman calls action using a script by Dwain Worrell, that made The Black List of 2014.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Captain America-Civil War Review: Civil Discourse

Whenever a comic book based film boasts a lot of super-powered characters I cringe because that usually means that the folks in charge intend to burden plot with spectacle rather than a good story. Thankfully the team responsible for Captain America: Civil War do a great job at balancing both. The 3rd phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets off to a rollicking start.

The film starts with a flashback in 1991--where we see Hydra operatives from Siberia send the brainwashed Winter Soldier aka Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) to intercept an automobile carrying a case of super-soldier serum and assassinate its driver and passenger. Cut to...

One year after Ultron's defeat in Sokovia at the hands of The Avengers, Captain America aka Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) stop former S.H.I.E.L.D; operative Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) from stealing a biological weapon from a lab in Lagos--when Scarlet Witch tries to displace an explosive blast into the sky, it destroys a nearby building, killing a number of Wakandan humanitarian workers.

At the team's headquarters, U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (last seen in The Incredible Hulk and played by William Hurt) informs the Avengers that the United Nations is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish an international governing body to oversee and control the Avengers. The team is divided: Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)  supports oversight because he feels responsible for Ultron's creation and Sokovia's devastation while Rogers has more faith in his own judgement than the government's.

Widow tries to convince Cap to support the Accords, but is unsuccessful. At the conference in Vienna where the Accords are to be ratified, a bomb kills King T'Chaka () of Wakanda. Security footage indicates the bomber is Barnes, who T'Chaka's son, T'Challa, aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) vows to kill. Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) tips off Rogers to Barnes' location and that the government does not plan to take him alive. Because Barnes is an old friend and war comrade, Rogers decides to capture Barnes himself, without authorization. Rogers and Wilson track Barnes to his hideout in Bucharest and attempt to protect him from the authorities and T'Challa, but Rogers, Wilson, Barnes, and T'Challa are apprehended...

The 3rd Cap film is an adaptation of the Captain America: Civil War storyline penned by series vets Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely from which Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo called action. While there is certainly no shortage of action and spectacular sequences--it's still light on its feet-yes it slows down--but the pic never stops to give you enough time to check your watch.

The film tackles some of the same ethical and moral questions raised by Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. The difference? "Civil War" is much more fun to watch. Despite the fact that this is indeed Marvel's darkest movie yet--there's still enough humor and warmth found within to prevent the film from being a total downer. During the sequel's pivotal 17 minute  battle between the opposing sides--things are serious-but there is also plenty of fun to be had....

Newly minted  Spider-Man () gets a fine introduction into the MCU--and while I still wish that former Spidey Andrew Garfield was wearing the suit--I look forward to seeing where this third big screen incarnation goes next in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The film's other big introduction is Black Panther. Boseman is just terrific I can't wait to see more of him as well.

Cap 3 biggest flaw is its true villain Zemo (Daniel Brühl). Once again we have a comic book movie bad guy who is woefully underwritten and thus poorly realized He doesn't really seem all that menacing. Behind the scenes he is the puppet master--but onscreen he's no menace. A shame because Brühl is talented.

"Civil War" has it all...Action Spectacle Drama Humor--A must see.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

What's The Last Reel Cinema Group?

Hey Guys.

I wanted to let you know that I created The Last Reel Cinema Group on Facebook

Here is the description:

"Need a film recommendation? Want to talk about your favorite films or a movie that you have recently watched? Want to promote your film? Need a cinema question answered? Get it all right here.

Have fun with it! All I ask is that you you keep the discussion Civil and the debate Friendly. Looking for more members--Spread the word Kids!"

I decided go this route rather than do a "proper" FB page for TLR--Hoping that it proves popular enough--Its fate lies with you....

Andrew Garfield Swims "Under the Silver Lake"

Heat Vision reports that former "Spider-Man" film series star Andrew Garfield is attached to star in "It Follows" writer/director David Robert Mitchell's noir crime thriller "Under the Silver Lake"

Plot details about the project are being kept under wraps other than that the film is set in contemporary Los Angeles setting.

Michael De Luca, Adele Romanski, Chris Bender and Jake Weiner are producing the pic.

Production kicks off at the end of summer.

I thought horror pic "It Follows" was meh after hearing raves--we shall see what happens here.

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.