Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fox sets 'Deadpool' for February 2016, 'Fantastic Four' pushed back, 'Assassin's Creed' delayed indefinitely

Comic book fans have been begging for this movie for years, and on February 12, 2016, they'll finally get what they've been asking for. Fox announced today that Deadpool will be hitting theaters in a little over a year. According to Collider, the adaptation of the beloved comic will be directed by Tim Miller and the script will be penned by Rhett Rheese and Paul Wernick, who are best known for writing Zombieland. Although it is not yet confirmed, Ryan Reynolds is expected to star in the film. I'm betting that the strong reaction to the brilliant test footage was what got this movie the green light. Fans have been begging Fox for a proper Deadpool film ever since X-Men: Origins- Wolverine completely butchered the character and the test footage showed just how awesome this movie could be. Expect this to be a hard R film and a new experiment in the superhero movie world. If you haven't seen it, check out the test footage below.

Fox also moved several other films on their upcoming release calender, including the much-anticipated reboot of Fantastic Four. The Josh Trank-directed pic was originally set for release on June 19, 2015, but will now debut on August 7, 2015. Considering the success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy in August, I have to say that this is a great idea. The film stars Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell and is definitely one to look forward to.

In addition to that, the studio also shifted the release of their new John Green adaptation Paper Towns. The book adaptation from the author of The Fault in Our Stars was originally set to debut in late July, but will now hit theaters on June 19, 2015, taking the spot of Fantastic Four. The film stars Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne and is directed by Jake Schreier. And finally, Fox has indefinitely delayed their Michael Fassbender-starred adaptation of Assassin's Creed. No word on what's going on with that film at this time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jack Huston in talks to star in MGM's remake of 'Ben-Hur'

In many ways, it seems like we're heading back to the grand old days of Biblical epics with films like Noah, Son of God and Exodus: Gods and Kings all hitting theaters over the span of this year. At the beginning of 2016, MGM will be throwing another film in the mix as well and that would be their remake of the beloved classic, Ben-Hur. The original Ben-Hur starred Charlton Heston and Jack Hawkins and was directed by William Wyler, who was nominated for twelve Oscars over the course of his storied career. Ben-Hur went on to win eleven Oscars including Best Picture, and when adjusted for inflation, it's the 13th highest grossing film of all time. This remake has a lot to live up to.

Timur Bekmambetov, who is best known for directing Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, will be in the director's chair for this remake and according to The Hollywood Reporter, the film has found its star as well. THR is reporting that Jack Huston (American Hustle, Boardwalk Empire) will be starring in the film as Ben-Hur. The deal isn't finalized yet, but Huston's reps are in very serious talks with Paramount and MGM. Morgan Freeman is already set to star in the film as Ildarin. Expect official confirmation on the Huston deal sometime in the near future. I like the talent involved so far, but I'm not overly confident in this film. However, it's one to keep an eye on for sure. Ben-Hur will hit theaters on February 26, 2016.

Tom Hiddleston set to star in Legendary's 'Skull Island', Jordan Vogt-Roberts to direct

One of the more interesting mega-blockbusters that will be hitting theaters soon is Legendary Pictures' Skull Island, which is set on the mysterious island that is home to King Kong and many other magnificent creatures. The film made a surprise appearance at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, but little was announced at the time. Fans only got a brief teaser showing a screaming King Kong and the official release date. However, we learned quite a bit more information yesterday when The Wrap announced both the director of the film and the movie's star.

According to Hollywood insider site The Wrap, Universal and Legendary's Skull Island will star Tom Hiddleston, who is best known for portraying Loki in some of the biggest Marvel blockbusters of all time. No word on the character that Hiddleston is portraying, but he is certainly the lead of the film. The news also broke yesterday that Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) will be directing the film. Earlier rumors had suggested that Attack the Block director Joe Cornish would helm the film, but that has obviously been proven untrue. Legendary confirmed the report on their Twitter page. 

I'm very excited for Skull Island and I believe that it has the potential to be an excellent film. Tom Hiddleston is a strong actor and I'm happy to see him in the lead role. And while I'm not overly familiar with Vogt-Roberts' work, he definitely seems like a solid choice. All in all, this is definitely a film I'm looking forward to. Skull Island will hit theaters on November 4, 2016. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

'No Good Deed' leads with $24.2 million, 'Dolphin Tale 2' solid in second, 'The Drop' surprises at weekend box office

The fall box office is finally kicking off after a two week lag where Guardians of the Galaxy led, but it still was a pretty tepid weekend. No Good Deed led the box office with $24.2 million, which is pretty solid for the film that only cost $13.2 million. The Idris Elba-starred thriller received a "B+" Cinemascore. Not bad considering the film was lambasted by critics across the board. The thriller will probably end up having decent legs, but there is a ton of competition this weekend.

Dolphin Tale 2 took second place this weekend and opened with $15.8 million. The $36 million family drama finished with less than its predecessor this weekend, but still had a solid result in its own right. The film received an "A" Cinemascore, and with next to competition for the rest of the month, Dolphin Tale 2 should probably finish with around $50 million. I have no interest in the movie whatsoever, but there's an audience for it somewhere.

Guardians of the Galaxy finished in third place with $8.1 million. The massive Marvel mega-hit has now grossed $305.9 million, which is absolutely stunning. Marvel truly hit it out of the park. I know I've said it before, but I will keep on saying it. The film has also grossed $612 million worldwide. All in all, this is a tremendous success for the studio. In fourth place was Paramount's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which took in $4.8 million. The surprise hit has now made $181 million.

The sleeper hit comedy Let's Be Cops ended up in fifth place this weekend with $4.3 million. The film has now grossed $73 million. One of the big success stories of the weekend was Fox Searchlight's The Drop, which grossed $4.1 million in sixth place. The dark crime drama opened in only 809 theaters, but still managed to have a strong opening thanks to the star power of Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini. I'm hoping to see this one soon so look for a review in the near future.

Seventh place belonged to If I Stay, which managed to pull in another $3.9 million. The film has now grossed $44.8 million on an $11 million budget. Not too shabby. The November Man took eighth place this weekend and added $2.8 million to its total. The spy thriller has now made $22.5 million.

In ninth place, The Giver added $2.5 million. The YA adaptation has now taken in $41.2 million on a $25 million budget which is pretty impressive. And finally, The Hundred-foot Journey rounded out the top ten and took in $2.4 million this weekend. The light drama has now made an impressive $49.3 million.

Next weekend sees the release of The Maze Runner, A Walk Among the Tombstones, This is Where I Leave You and Kevin Smith's Tusk. Here are my predictions:

1. The Maze Runner- $35 million
2. A Walk Among The Tombstones- $18.5 million
3. This is Where I Leave You- $14 million
4. No Good Deed- $10.1 million
5. Dolphin Tale 2- $8.7 million
6. Guardians of the Galaxy- $5.3 million
7. The Drop- $5 million
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- $4.2 million
9. Tusk- $2.2 million
10. Let's Be Cops- $2 million

Friday, September 12, 2014

Best and Worst of Summer 2014

The Summer of 2014 has come and gone and it was quite spectacular. We saw a ton of great movies and some that will be classics for a long time (Edge of Tomorrow, Snowpiercer, Neighbors, Boyhood). There were some clunkers (Maleficent, TMNT), but for the most part, this was a summer to remember. Let's take a look back at a great summer filled with extraordinary films.


It's too bad that nobody saw Edge of Tomorrow because it was truly a great film. Filled with great performances, absolutely beautiful cinematography and stunning action, Edge of Tomorrow was simply fantastic and it's a film worth watching again and again. Tom Cruise breaks his recent slump and delivers a great performance while Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson are all brilliant in their supporting roles. This was one of the most innovative and terrific sci-fi films of the last few years and without a doubt, one of summer's best.


This movie was atrocious. Disney hasn't made a good big-budget flick since the second Pirates flick, but Maleficent was especially bad. Angelina Jolie is incredibly over-the-top and the supporting cast is terrible as well. The voiceover is grating, the story is uninteresting and the visuals are not very polished. Simply put, this is a bland, idiotic movie and one of summer's biggest disappointments (although I can't ever say that I was looking forward to it).


Boyhood was one of the most amazing cinematic experiences I've ever had. Seeing both the character of Mason and actor Ellar Coltrane grow up over twelve years was simply astounding. It's a true character arc and it's incredible to watch. However, Boyhood is not just an amazing experience. It's also a well scripted, well directed film with great performances from its entire cast. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke are great and Ellar Coltrane anchors the film. Individual scenes pop with gravitas and power and it's just an amazing film. Boyhood will be remembered for a very, very long time.


I'm a fan of Michael Bay's work, so I actually didn't expect to hate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which he produced). But boy, it was awful. I can deal with cheesy humor and a terrible script. I'm even okay with an awful performance from the lead actress. But I'm not okay with a poorly filmed movie that it exceedingly bland and completely uninteresting. TMNT does almost nothing in its 100 minute run time and the action scenes are more disorienting than they are entertaining. It's just a bad movie from start to finish and one that I wish I could forget entirely.


Snowpiercer was a movie that surprised me in a very good way. This bold, provocative and well-acted sci-fi flick does all the right things and features a surprisingly brilliant performance from Chris Evans. The film is visually stunning and terrific in its pacing, with some of the greatest action scenes of the year. In addition to that, this film contains one of the most stunning monologues that I've ever seen. It's absolutely incredible. Snowpiercer is an almost perfect film and a movie that I will watch over and over when I finally get it on Blu-Ray.


The Purge: Anarchy is both an exceedingly stupid and terrible film and a morally questionable one. It glorifies the bloodsport of a night where all crime is legal, but it also wants to condemn the violence. The filmmakers don't realize that they can't have it both ways. Anarchy would certainly be better if it actually took one side, but let's not forget that it's also an exceptionally bad movie. All of the characters are idiots and the plot is non-existent. It was just a terrible film and one that I never want to see again.


In a summer full of delightfully raucous R-rated comedies, Neighbors stood out from the pack by being gleefully unhinged and packed with non-stop jokes. Seth Rogen is quite good as suburban dad Mac Radner, but the supporting cast, led by Rose Byrne, Zac Efron and Dave Franco, steals the show. All three give star-making performances and give the whole movie their all. In addition to that, the film's screenplay is great and the film succeeds at being both clever and dirty. This is simply one of the best frat comedies ever and a pure treat to watch.


Get On Up was probably the biggest disappointment of the summer for me, simply because it had so much going for it. It's the story of James Brown with a great young actor in the lead role and a terrific soundtrack in the background. What could go wrong? The answer is a lot. Chadwick Boseman is perfect, but the rest of the film is a jumbled mess of a movie. Scenes feel out of place and characters pop up at random times. Some people loved this style, but I despised it and that's why I thought Get On Up was one of the summer's worst.


The X-Men franchise is incredibly inconsistent, but Bryan Singer undoubtedly delivered with the superb X-Men: Days of Future Past. This emotional, action-packed roller-coaster was one of the high points of the summer for me and James McAvoy gave one of the summer's best performances. The scenes with Quicksilver were brilliant, the future was appropriately bleak and the character work was exceptional. Without a doubt in my mind, this was one of the best superhero movies of all time.


When the Game Stands Tall is a perfect example of how to not make a sports movie. This dull and cliched drama runs through the motions and does nothing new or unique. The dialogue is pathetically bad and the characters are unlikable and uninteresting. Besides a few good moments, this is one huge misfire.


Calvary brought a bright light into the doldrums of summer with it's bleak, depressing look at the human condition. Brendan Gleeson anchors this beautifully shot character study and gives a monumental performance. The supporting cast is excellent as well and the script is brilliant. The opening scene is startling and the tragic ending is incredibly shocking. John Michael McDonagh did an absolutely fantastic with this film and it was one of the highlights of my cinematic summer.


An incredible documentary that examines the life of the world's greatest film critic, Life Itself is a painstaking, moving piece of cinema about the late Roger Ebert. Both entertaining and heartbreaking, Life Itself manages to create a simply terrific atmosphere of both admiration and sadness. It's a brilliant achievement by director Steve James and one that will not be forgotten anytime soon. A beautiful movie.


This summer had some great comedies. Let's Be Cops was not one of them. Although Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson have good chemistry, this film is overlong and incredibly light on the belly laughs that 22 Jump Street and Neighbors provided. The film is only 104 minutes, but it feels like 150 minutes, which is definitely not a good thing. Let's Be Cops is not aggressively bad, but it is incredibly forgettable.


21 Jump Street is a funny movie, but 22 Jump Street is a HYSTERICAL movie. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum take it to another level with this raucous, insane comedy that fires on all cylinders. This film has a great soundtrack, brilliant acting and some really terrific action scenes as well. All in all, this is a dynamite film that is an instant classic in the R-rated comedy genre.


What could have ended up being a forgettable teen tear-jerker eventually became one of the summer's best films. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort give breakout performances in this stunningly touching film that does everything write. The film is directed so well by Josh Boone and the supporting performances from Nat Wolff and Laura Dern are splendid as well. This sad, beautiful film does precisely everything that a romantic film should.


How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a perfect example of how to screw up your sequel. Make it super dark and depressing, barely further the story and take nearly a half hour to actually get going. Yeah, way to go Dreamworks. I know a lot of people were sad to see this movie disappoint at the box office, but I was in no way surprised. This bleak and inconsequential kids flick is rather dull and a complete misfire. Hopefully the filmmakers can recapture the charm of the first film next time.


Guardians of the Galaxy had the potential to be Marvel's first misfire, but it ended up being one of their highest grossing films yet. And it's a ton of fun. The characters are great, the action is awesome and the soundtrack is still on repeat on my iPhone. Chris Pratt is going to be one of the world's biggest stars and Dave Bautista could end up being a huge success as well. Hopefully this film will encourage Marvel to create more odd, outside the box ideas.


Chef was one of the biggest independent films of the summer and it many ways it is the perfect summer movie. With a great soundtrack, a fun plot and terrific performances across the board, Chef is just a pure joy to watch. It's not a perfect movie, but it's so much fun and so enjoyable that you simply do not care.

That's it for my summer wrap-up. Hopefully we'll get to see even more great films in the fall.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Morgan Freeman set to join Seth MacFarlane's 'Ted 2'

Although Seth MacFarlane ran into a brick wall with the massive box office disappointment of A Million Ways to Die in the West (I still thought it was pretty funny), he's undoubtedly one of the most bankable comedic names in Hollywood. Ted was one of the highest grossing R-rated comedies ever back in 2012 and the sequel, Ted 2, should be a huge hit as well. MacFarlane will step back into the director's chair once again and Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Jessica Barth and Patrick Warburton will all reprise their roles. Before today, the biggest new addition to the cast was Amanda Seyfried, who also appeared in A Million Ways to Die in the West. However, a new report indicates that a much more famous supporting actor will be joining the cast.

Variety is reporting that Morgan Freeman will be joining the cast of Ted 2 and will play an integral role in the plot of the film. According to Variety's sources, Freeman will be playing a famed civil rights lawyer who comes into play when Ted runs into some legal issues. Sounds like a very funny role. Freeman has the ability to elevate every single movie that he's in and I have a feeling that he'll do a great job in Ted 2. I never saw the original Ted, but I'm just going to assume that I would enjoy it. I'm excited for the sequel and more of MacFarlane's raunchy humor on the big screen. Ted 2 will be hitting theaters on June 26, 2015.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dwayne Johnson cast as Black Adam in 'Shazam'

Marvel has pretty much taken over the cinematic world at this point. The Avengers and Iron Man 3 both grossed over a billion dollars, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier improved on their predecessors and Guardians of the Galaxy is now the highest grossing movie of the year. Marvel rules the world. Warner Bros.' DC entertainment division has been left in the dust. Man of Steel was a moderate success last summer, but even that film paled in comparison to some of Marvel's recent efforts. Think about that for a second. A film about Superman, the world's most recognizable superhero, will likely be beat out by Guardians of the Galaxy, which is probably one of the more obscure Marvel titles to be adapted for the big screen. That's simply incredible and shows just how strong of a hold Marvel has on the comic book film world. However, DC is definitely giving it their best shot. They announced nine new titles last month and will likely have a Justice League movie in theaters before 2018.

One of the more interesting titles that DC has teased is Shazam, which is not necessarily a well-known entity. From what I know, it's about a boy who says the word "Shazam" and then turns into a giant superhero. Cool concept and Dwayne Johnson has been involved for a long time. Until recently, the only thing we knew was that Johnson would either be playing Shazam himself or Black Adam, the nemesis of Shazam. Now we know for sure. Dwayne Johnson will be playing Black Adam in the upcoming Shazam film, per his Twitter. On the social media site, Johnson said:

"Kneel at his feet or get crushed by his boot." My honor to become...#Black Adam #TheAntiHero #DC Comics

There aren't many specifics known about the film besides this latest bit of casting news, but I would count on this being one of the first DC films released. The film is being distributed by New Line Cinema and according to Variety, veteran writer Darren Lemke (Turbo, Jack the Giant Slayer) is penning the script. I'm expecting a late 2016 or early 2017 release for this one and I'm sure we'll hear more about it soon.