Category Archives: Trending

Kang the Conqueror Cast In ‘Ant-Man 3’

A new villain will quite literally conquer the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Ant-Man 3.

After Ant-Man and the Wasp opened to warm reception and solid box office numbers in 2018, Deadline just announced a surprise casting decision that may or may not shake the foundations of the MCU. Jonathan Majors will reportedly become the Marvel big baddie known as Kang the Conqueror in the upcoming bug-sized sequel.

This news is surprising for a few reasons. For one thing, this is the first major role that Jonathan Majors will be portraying. For the past few years, Jonathan has been cast in a variety of supporting roles for indie projects ranging from Hostiles in 2017 to White Boy Rick in 2018 to The Last Black Man in San Francisco last year. His most recognizable role is probably as Delroy Lindo’s son David in the Spike Lee Vietnam war epic Da 5 Bloods

But what’s even more surprising is the role Majors will be portraying. First debuting in 1963, Kang the Conqueror is a time-traveling super villain who has frequently fought both the Avengers and Fantastic Four. Besides having the ability to travel through time, Kang can also project holograms, create force fields, and manipulate energy beams against his enemies. He’s a very powerful villain and easily one of the most intimidating foes the Marvel heroes have ever gone up against. 

I’m excited to hear that Majors has been cast as Kang the Conqueror. Physically he fits the part to near perfection, and I’m excited to see how playing a villain may potentially catapult his career forward. My biggest problem with Kang isn’t with who’s portraying him: it’s who’s movie he’s debuting in. While Ant-Man and Kang have had a few skirmishes here or there in the comics, they’ve had nothing to the level where he warrants appearing as a key antagonist in his own movie. With his level of ability and raw power, his villainy fits better in an Avengers movie, or even in the “Loki” miniseries he was long rumored for. But how does he fit in with Ant-Man, exactly? Kang dwarfs Ant-Man in just about every way imaginable. You might as well make Thanos the villain for Ant-Man 3.

Granted, Loki was the main antagonist in Thor before he was cast as the big baddie in 2012’s The Avengers. But even Loki doesn’t compare to Kang’s intimidating presence. But at least Kang makes more sense in the “Loki” miniseries, because Loki would feel challenged by Kang’s skill and manipulation and ultimately grow as a result of that conflict. Plus with the time travel element, that would have worked well with reversing Loki’s death from Avengers: Infinity War (spoiler alert). But Ant-Man feels too, er, small for him. It feels like he might be wasting his potential rather than building up to something bigger and better in the MCU.

What do you think? Are you excited to see Kang conquer the quantum realm, or did you want him to save his evil plans for The Avengers 5 or “Loki”? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter

Chadwick Boseman Dies At 43

King T’Challa has moved on to join the rest of the Black Panthers in the afterlife. 

As if 2020 hasn’t robbed enough from us already, Chadwick Boseman, the Screen Actor Award-winning star of Black Panther, was just pronounced dead a few moments ago. According to The Associated Press, Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer earlier today at age 43. While he was diagnosed with the dreaded disease in 2016, he did not publicly disclose his illness and kept acting through several major productions, including Marshall, 21 Bridges, Da 5 Bloods, and of course, the last two Avengers entries and Black Panther. 

While many widely recognize Chadwick as the King of Wakanda in the record-breaking 2018 blockbuster, I first learned of Chadwick through one of his earliest roles as Jackie Robinson in the 2013 sports drama 42. Since then, I’ve gotten the privilege to see him move on to portray James Brown in Get On Up, Jacob King in Message From The King, and even Thoth in that dreadful Gods of Egypt movie. Seeing his career progress so quickly up until being cast as the Black Panther in that short of a time span was amazing to see, and I loved being able to watch him succeed in all of that. 

Needless to say, I’m devastated to learn about his passing. Chadwick was one of the most promising rising stars of this generation, creating an impact with moviegoing audiences everywhere long before he was even cast as Black Panther. But despite how much his life was cut short or how much of his career was left unfulfilled, I am grateful I got to witness a part of his life and support him during his great journey. 

Rest in power, King. You deserve it. 

R.I.P. 1976 – 2020 

SOURCE: Associated Press, Variety

Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck To Reprise Batman Roles In ‘The Flash’

Robert Pattinson isn’t the only one suiting up as the caped crusader next year. 

DC Comics recently held its inaugural FanDome online, where they broke news, exclusive clips, and trailers regarding future DC projects. We got a new release date for the delayed Wonder Woman 1984. The full cast lineup was announced for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Matt Reeves even released a new trailer for The Batman, in which Robert Pattinson looks simply stunning as the world’s greatest detective. 

But interestingly enough, Pattinson won’t be the only Batman actor suiting up again next year. During a virtual panel for the upcoming Flash movie starring Ezra Miller and directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama, It), two actors are confirmed to reprise their roles as Batman. The first is Ben Affleck, who retired from the role shortly after vacating from directing The Batman last year. The second is much more interesting. After 30 years of taking on the Penguin and Catwoman in the Gotham sewers, Michael Keaton will be reprising the role of Batman as a significantly older variation of the character. 

Although it was initially a rumor a month ago, the production essentially confirmed this with some new concept art showing of Barry Allen’s sleek new Flash suit, presumably designed by WayneTech industries. While it’s hard to make out, the Batman behind Flash clearly shows it’s an elder Bruce Wayne, and furthermore, his bat symbol has the yellow symbol – exactly like it is in the Tim Burton movies. This basically confirms that Keaton is involved with the production and he will be reprising his role as Batman, though whether it will specifically be the Batman from the Burton movies or another future variation entirely remains to be seen. 

The fact that both Keaton and Affleck are reprising their Batman roles for The Flash confirms another long-rumored detail that the film is, in fact, an adaptation of the “Flashpoint” storyline, a comic miniseries that showed Barry running back in time to save his mother from the Reverse-Flash and accidentally create an alternate reality where everything went wrong. 

Two interesting things to note about this premise. For one thing, in the original “Flashpoint” storyline, Batman is actually Bruce’s father Thomas Wayne, portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Batman v Superman. The fact that both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton are in the upcoming Flash movie implies that Bruce Wayne will be a prominent part of the storyline in both timelines, not Thomas, which already spells interesting possibilities on its own.

Second, when “Flashpoint” takes place in Flash’s storyline, he’s already a well-established character that has fought several supervillains such as Captain Cold, King Shark, and Grodd before he went back in time to save his mother. In other words, “Flashpoint” was not the introduction for the character; it was his climax. For Pete’s sake, it was the entire premise for the third season of the CW’s “Flash” TV series. Why oh why would you choose this as the starting point for Flash’s own movie series? I understand he’s already been introduced in the mediocre Justice League movie, but when it comes to his solo debut he has a chance to really shine on his own without being overshadowed by bigger characters like Superman or Batman. Why would you make his first solo outing a crossover event the likes of which has literally shifted the foundations of the DC universe? It makes absolutely no sense. 

The “Flashpoint” movie also raises another interesting question: who’s going to portray Eobard Thawne? In “Flashpoint,” Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. Reverse-Flash was an essential part of that storyline, taunting Barry and teasing him with his own failure to the point where it drove him to go back in time and make a fateful mistake by attempting to right a wrong. That begs the question of who would play him? Some fans have thrown out names such as Kevin Bacon and Dan Stevens, but personally, I think Anthony Starr would be the best fit. His performance as Homelander in “The Boys” was smug, cocky, and high-strung; perfect for the full-of-himself character of Eobard Thawne. I only worry he may not be given enough space to really shine or stand out as a villain. After all, “Flashpoint” is already packed with a very large cast. 

We’ll have to wait and see which bizarre and unexpected directions The Flash takes us in 2022. In the meantime, enjoy rewatching The Batman trailer all over again, because nobody can get enough of that. 

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Collider, ComingSoon.net

‘Mulan’ To Be Released On Disney+ 

And here we were, thinking we wouldn’t get any more new movies this year.

Ever since the coronavirus ravaged the country in May, several movie releases were either delayed or entirely removed from the 2020 calendar. First the newest James Bond movie No Time To Die was delayed until November. Sequels like A Quiet Place Part II, meanwhile, were postponed until next year. Other movies like Christopher Nolan’s science-fiction thriller Tenet were removed from the release calendar altogether. It’s safe to say the movie industry is in complete disarray right now and with no end in sight thanks to the coronavirus.

Well, Walt Disney just confirmed that at least one movie will be released this year despite the mounting pandemic: Mulan, the live-action remake of the Walt Disney animated feature of the same name, will be released in homes through the Disney+ streaming service.

According to Deadline, the company confirmed that Mulan would be regularly released in countries where theaters are currently open like China and Italy, but would be streamed for a premium price of $30 on Disney+ for countries that are still fighting the pandemic like the United States.

I have mixed feelings about this development. On one hand, I’m excited that I’ll get to see Mulan as originally planned this year, just in a much smaller theater and with less pants. I’ll happily spend the $30 premium price to watch it, even though I completely understand if some families feel that’s a little too absurd and pricey.

On the other hand, I was really looking forward to watching Mulan in a big-screen experience and am afraid I may not get the chance to now. Disney has not announced whether or not it will re-release Mulan in theaters after the pandemic passes, but depending on how successful it is, anything is possible. After all, the three highest-grossing movies of all time Avengers: Endgame, Avatar, and Titanic all saw theatrical re-releases, even though none of them needed help at the box office.

There’s also the thought to consider of what impact this will have on movie theaters as a whole. With remakes like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King all grossing well over a billion dollars, it’s obvious that live-action Walt Disney remakes are a hot commodity for the movie industry. But with Mulan moving online, that threatens to take all of movie theater’s potential earnings and pour them more directly into Disney’s pockets. This could potentially create a huge loss of business for movie theaters and further jeopardize the tough position they’re already in for a complicated market.

And while Walt Disney states that releasing Mulan straight to homes is “a one-off,” that once again can change depending on the kind of success it sees. Superhero movies like Marvel’s Black Widow can now potentially find new life on Disney+, while animated movies like Pixar’s upcoming Soul can possibly be seen by younger audiences much sooner. And don’t even get me started on the release hell that the horror movie The New Mutants has caught itself up in.

All in all, this is strange news for strange times. We’ll have to wait and see how these trends pan out and how they might change the movie industry going forward.

– David

SOURCE: Deadline, The Verge

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Delayed Indefinitely

Tenet: a word that will open the right doors, some of the wrong ones.

Well, in this case, it closed one.

Thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Christopher Nolan’s highly-anticipated science-fiction thriller Tenet has been delayed indefinitely. Originally slated for a July release this summer, Tenet was rescheduled for August before coronavirus cases escalated yet again. As positive cases continue to climb towards the four million mark in the United States, Warner Bros. has recently removed Tenet from its 2020 release calendar altogether, stating that it will announce a new release date “imminently.”

To quote Commissioner Gordon from The Dark Knight Rises, that basically means “We’re on our own.” Tenet is not the first movie to be delayed due to the coronavirus. James Bond’s No Time To Die, Wonder Woman 1984, Black Widow, and A Quiet Place Part II all got pushed back from their original release dates earlier this year, effectively eliminating 2020’s summer movie season. But after Tenet was wiped from the 2020 calendar altogether, that means other movies could quite possibly follow suit, leaving many to wonder when the movie theaters will reopen this year if at all.

And movie theaters are already in a tough spot due to the coronavirus. AMC Theatres, the largest movie theater chain in the United States, posted a $2.4 billion loss in its first quarter this year, and the industry as a whole has lost over $10 billion as of May, according to Forbes. CNBC reported that the box office is at a 20-year low, facing its worst year since 1998. How much worse it can get and for how long is only a matter of time.

Will Tenet be released directly to at-home streaming? I seriously doubt it. Christopher Nolan’s movies have always been in high demand, from The Dark Knight trilogy to Inception to Dunkirk. Throwing it onto TV screens at home feels like a throwaway, and definitely something Nolan himself wouldn’t agree to.

Whether other franchises like James Bond or Wonder Woman ultimately go that route remains to be seen. But at the moment, it seems like we’re going to have to wait until 2021 to watch Christopher Nolan’s newest feature.

– David Dunn

SOURCES: Forbes, CNBC

Ennio Morricone Dies At 91

Another Hollywood legend has passed away. 

For over 50 years, Italian composer Ennio Morricone has provided ingenious, captivating scores that defined the very films they were featured in. He wrote music for unnerving horror movies like The Exorcist Part II and The Thing, gangster dramas like Bugsy and The Untouchables, and most popularly spaghetti westerns like For A Few Dollars More and Once Upon A Time In America. His iconic theme for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly inspired the tension and the unease that several other western films would emulate for years afterwards.  

But of all of the soundtracks he’s produced, the music behind Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight proved to be the most eerie, unsettling, and haunting. It brought together all of the dramatic and thematic elements of all of his previous musical scores and also successful underscored the buildup he featured in his other westerns. He won a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and an Academy Award from his work on the film, and no one was going to argue against it.

On Monday morning, the award-winning composer died from complications from falling and sustaining an injury. At 91 years old, Ennio lived a full life filled with wonderful music and imagination, inspiring other artists such as Gnarls Barkley, Metallica, David Guetta, Radiohead, and even Hans Zimmer. His legacy will live on forever, but we will miss him and his music dearly. 

Requiescat in pace, maestro Morricone. Che la tua musica ti guidi nei cieli. 

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The New York Times, NPR

Zack Snyder’s Cut Of ‘Justice League’ Will Be Released Next Year

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Never underestimate the power of the internet.

Ever since Justice League was released in 2017 to mixed reviews and lackluster box office earnings, fans have been demanding for a director’s cut of Zack Snyder’s original vision for the film. For those of you that don’t remember, Zack Snyder left production for the film earlier in the year due to a personal tragedy he and his wife Deborah were dealing with. That was when The Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon stepped in to handle reshoots and post-production for the film. The result was a campy, cliché, tonally inconsistent picture that switched between being serious and melodramatic to downright silly and in-cheek.

Whatever you thought of the Justice League movie, it’s clear it wasn’t Zack Snyder’s original vision for the film. Maybe his version would have been better than the theatrical cut – maybe it would have been worse. After all, he did release Batman V. Superman before the film’s release. Regardless, some fans were flustered by the inconsistencies of the theatrical cut and wanted to see Zack Snyder’s version of Justice League. Thus, the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement was born.

For a long time, the Snyder cut seemed like a pipe dream: a hashtag that celebrities like Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, and Ray Fisher could post about and get a few retweets out of. But after he streamed a live watch party of his 2013 hit Man of Steel, Zack made the groundbreaking announcement that the Snyder cut would be released on HBO Max next year. The Snyder cut of Justice League suddenly switched from being a distant impossibility to a very tangible reality.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project will cost approximately $20-30 million to finish the editing, musical scoring and visual effects for the finalized cut. It would also be released either as a massive four-hour feature-length movie or as a six-part miniseries.

Regardless, fans are finally getting to see their Snyder cut, and Zack Snyder will finally complete his version of Justice League that he’s always dreamed about.

“I always thought it was a thing that in 20 years, maybe somebody would do a documentary and I could lend them the footage, little snippets of a cut no one has ever seen,” Zack told The Hollywood Reporter. “As a family, as a couple, I think we have grown in a way that has made us stronger. We’re doing our best. You really can’t hope for more.”

You can watch Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League on HBO Max in 2021.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety

AMC Theatres Bans Universal Pictures

Out of all of the public spats to have surfaced in the face of the coronavirus, no one could have predicted that one of the most controversial came from two of the most prominent entertainment companies in the industry.

After movie theaters shut down worldwide last month due to the coronavirus, many movie studios had to pivot to streaming their films on demand in order to make a profit. One of the more popular studios to have found success in this format was Universal Studios. Its most recent films The Hunt and The Invisible Man were among the first releases to be made available on VUDU, while Robert Downey Jr.’s Dolittle was released later on down the road. But one of the most successful rentals is, oddly enough, Trolls World Tour, which set the record for the most streams in a weekend release, surpassing even Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s streaming numbers, according to Deadline.

“The results for ‘Trolls World Tour’ have exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of [premium video on demand],” NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell said to The Wall Street Journal. “As soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats.”

Well, that interview ended up being the worst possible thing Jeff could have done, because after that, AMC Theatres declared that it would no longer screen any of Universal’s movies in its 1,000 theaters across the globe. 

In a strongly-worded letter, AMC Entertainment President and CEO Adam Aron wrote to Universal conveying the company’s disappointment, expressing explicit frustration over Shell’s “release movies on both formats” comment. 

AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theatres simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies,” Adam writes. “It assumes that we will meekly accept a reshaped view of how studios and exhibitors should interact, with zero concern on Universal’s part as to how its actions affect us. It also presumes that Universal, in fact, can have its cake and eat it too, that Universal film product can be released to the home and theatres at the same time, without modification to the current economic arrangements between us. It is disappointing to us, but Jeff’s comments as to Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice.”

What does this mean for Universal? Going forward, you can expect any film with a Universal logo on it to not be playing at any AMC or Regal theater, including the upcoming Fast & Furious 9, animated Illumination movies such as Despicable Me and Minions, and future sequels to the Jurassic Park franchise. At the moment, you could still watch Universal movies from Cinemark or Harkins theaters, but that’s assuming if they don’t pull out later on like AMC or Regal Cinemas did. With AMC and Regal being the largest movie theater chains by far, you can expect Universal to be absent from over 18,000 screens across the world.

I get AMC’s frustrations with Universal. In his letter, Adam says they accepted Universal to originally stream Trolls World Tour to homes as an exception due to “unprecedented times.” He even says that they were willing to sit down with Universal and discuss different strategies and economic models that would benefit both companies, especially in the face of this pandemic.

So when Jeff completely disregards all of those conversations and investors and unilaterally decides this is the “new normal,” I can understand why AMC is more than peeved at his comments to the press. Yet, I can’t help but feel this might be a slight overreaction on AMC’s part. As part of Hollywood’s “Big Five” studios, Universal holds 11% of the market share, slightly behind Sony Pictures’ 12.1% and more than double of Paramount’s 5%. Universal’s movies have consistently placed among the year’s highest grosses, competing against Columbia Pictures, TriStar, 20th Century Fox, New Line Cinema, and even Warner Bros. Saying that a big chunk of movies would be missing from movie theaters is a severe understatement, and with that, a large chunk of the market as well.

“We absolutely believe in the theatrical experience and have made no statement to the contrary,” Univeral wrote in a response statement to AMC. “As we stated earlier, going forward, we expect to release future films directly to theaters, as well as on [premium video on demand] when that distribution outlet makes sense. We look forward to having additional private conversations with our exhibition partners.”

What do you guys think? Do you feel this is an overreaction on AMC’s part, or do you think they’re right to shut out all future Universal releases? Comment below, let me know. I’ll see y’all when the theaters reopen. 

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Wall Street Journal, Deadline

Sam Raimi Confirms He’s Directing ‘Doctor Strange 2’

Sam Raimi is returning to the Marvel universe, only this time he’ll be helming a project much “strange”-r than his last superhero outing.

A fantasy-horror filmmaker whose projects range from The Evil Dead series to Oz the Great and Powerful, Sam Raimi is no stranger to taking on unusual and off-the-wall type projects. His 1990 cult action film Darkman is one of the few original superhero movies out there, while his 2009 sleeper hit Drag Me To Hell was a creepy and unsettling return to his horror roots. Perhaps most notable to the superhero genre is his Spider-Man trilogy, starring Tobey Maquire and earning an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

Now Raimi is making a return to the superhero genre to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. After previous director Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Day The Earth Stood Still) dropped out of the project back in January, talks of Raimi taking his place circulated around shortly after Derrickson left the project. Raimi essentially confirmed his new role while speaking to ComingSoon.net, all while expressing his fascination with the sorcerer supreme.

Fun fact: Doctor Strange was actually name-dropped in Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, where “Daily Bugle” publisher J. Jonah Jameson was brainstorming names to call Doc Ock.

“I loved Doctor Strange as a kid, but he was always after Spider-Man and Batman. For me, he was probably at number five for me of great comic book characters,” Raimi said. “He was so original, but when we had that moment in ‘Spider-Man 2,’ I had no idea that we would ever be making a ‘Doctor Strange’ movie, so it was really funny to me that coincidentally that line was in the movie. I gotta say I wish we had the foresight to know that I was going to be involved in the project.”

Well there ya have it, folks. Sam Raimi is officially returning to the Marvel universe. I for one am very happy to see him return, as I was a big fan of both Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. However, he did also lead the widely panned Spider-Man 3, a film that was so universally mocked that Sony was forced to reboot the series with Andrew Garfield. We’ll have to wait and see how Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness pans out, but at the moment, I for one am very excited to see what Raimi does with the elusive sorcerer. At the very least, Disney has a better track record when it comes to studio interference than Sony does. 

What do you guys think? Are you excited to see Sam Raimi return to the Marvel universe, or would you rather he just left behind the web he weaved? Whatever you think, comment below, let me know. 

– David Dunn

SOURCE: ComingSoon.net, CNET 

‘Borderlands’ Movie Nabs Eli Roth As Director

Well, depending on your viewpoint, this is either wonderful or horrible news for the Borderlands movie.

On Thursday, Gearbox Software President Randy Pitchford announced via Twitter who would be directing the upcoming live-action Borderlands movie based on Gearbox’s critically and commercially acclaimed video game series of the same name. That director is none other than the horror head honcho himself, Eli Roth.

Eli Roth is a strange, albeit oddly appropriate, choice to helm the upcoming dystopian action movie. Following a group of vault hunters on the planet Pandora trying to find long-lost treasure, Borderlands has spawned a series of sequels, spinoffs, and even an off-kilter marriage proposal, all while creating a massive cult following of fans. With the level of popularity and prominence Borderlands has amassed, a film adaptation of the science-fiction franchise almost seemed inevitable. 

Unfortunately, video game movies don’t have the best track record, even with the recent successes of Detective Pikachu and Sonic The Hedgehog. That being said, a Borderlands movie could definitely work, if given the right director to handle it.

Whether Eli Roth is the right guy or not is very dependent on which Eli Roth you’re getting. I won’t deny that Roth has delivered some solid horror movies in the past: his debut Cabin Fever was an amusing homage to B-movie horror cinema, while Hostel delivered a wildly disturbing yet entertaining slasher flick. But his larger filmography is mostly unimpressive, with the Death Wish remake simply being a vacant and cliche revenge thriller while the cannibalistic Green Inferno was just gross and stomach-churning. Even 2018’s The House With A Clock In Its Walls was a generic and uneventful family comedy.

Top that all off with the fact that he doesn’t have much experience with CGI-heavy films to begin with, and what you have left is a big, fat “huh?” in regards to his involvement with this movie. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to bring in a filmmaker that has more experience with CGI and dry, smirking banter? Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn, for instance, would have been a perfect fit were it not for the fact that he’s busy working on Suicide Squad 2. David Leitch would have been another solid choice, considering his work on other high-octane and witty action flicks such as John Wick, Deadpool 2, and Hobbs & Shaw. Heck, Quentin Tarantino would have been a great pick as well if he ever got his mind off of Kill Bill: Vol. 3 and his adaptation of Star Trek.

What do you guys think? Do you think Eli Roth is a reliable choice for a Borderlands movie, or do you think Claptrap and crew deserved more? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Kotaku, IGN