Tuesday, January 31, 2017

'Scarface' reboot loses Antoine Fuqua as director but finds their Tony Montana in Diego Luna

Image from Coming Soon
By Darian Scalamoni
            Back in August, we reported that Antoine Fuqua was set to direct a reimagining of the classic Scarface for 2018, unfortunately, scheduling conflicts with The Equalizer 2 starring his muse, Denzel Washington has forced him to drop out of the project according to Variety. This comes right at the same time as the outlet reporting that the film has found their star in Diego Luna.

            Universal wants to get the project moving along quickly so following the departure of Fuqua, they’ve ramped up efforts and meetings with other directors to helm the remake. The 1932 and 1983 versions of the film focused on a Cuban drug lord in Miami but this incarnation is set to take place in Los Angeles and focus on a Mexican immigrant that rises to power. Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire) wrote the recent draft for the movie.


            Luna might look familiar as he was one of the stars of the recent Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in which he played Cassian Andor. Luna will be seen next in the horror/sci-fi remake of Flatliners which will star himself, Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, Kiersey Clemons and one of the original stars of the 1990 original, Kiefer Sutherland. 

Ben Affleck drops out of directing 'The Batman', shortlist of directors includes Denis Villeneuve and George Miller among others

Image from Warner Bros.
By Darian Scalamoni
            Oh boy, well the DC Extended Universe is facing serious issues between the backlash of their last two films, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, but to make matters worse, The Flash has lost a third(!) director and is now getting a complete re-write that might limit it from hitting its previously scheduled release date. That’s not all, as multiple outlets have reported that Ben Affleck, who plays Batman in the current DCEU, has dropped out of The Batman project as a director. He still plans to produce, star and possibly help write the solo Batman effort but these are truly troubled waters that they’re sailing down now.

            Affleck has been an established director for about ten years now after his first three directorial efforts (Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Argo) were deemed as critically and universally beloved before his last film, Live by Night, tanked. Argo managed to win Best Picture at the Oscars though and he’s still incredibly well-regarded behind the camera but he has decided to focus more on his on-screen presence for the upcoming Batman flick and Warner Bros. has opened the floodgates and contacted a multitude of directors to direct instead.

            The shortlist reported by The Playlist includes Matt Reeves, Gavin O’Connor, Denis Villeneuve, Matt Ross and George Miller. The slew of directors all have experience in all different types of films but the favorite at this time seems to be Gavin O’Connor, who just directed Affleck in The Accountant that was released last year. However, O’Connor is signed on to The Green Hornet reboot as well as a movie called Father Daughter Time in which Matt Damon was originally supposed to direct. If the scheduling works out though, I could see Warner Bros. keeping it with someone they know well who has worked with Affleck previously.

            The two no-brainers of the list have to be Denis Villeneuve and George Miller. Villeneuve is hot on the heels of an Oscar nomination for Best Director for his work on last year’s sci-fi hit, Arrival and has the upcoming sequel to cult sci-fi hit, Blade Runner 2049 releasing later this year. Miller was previously set to make Justice League: Mortal years ago before it fell apart so he would make sense to helm a Batman movie as well possibly before directing the sequel to his 2015 blockbuster, Mad Max: Fury Road.

              The two surprising choices on the list include Matt Reeves who has experience with blockbusters with his Planet of the Apes franchise but then there’s Matt Ross, who just directed the indie hit, Captain Fantastic and has no tentpole experience yet. Warner Bros. could go this route similar to what Marvel has done hiring smaller directors to direct bigger projects (i.e. James Gunn and The Russo brothers).


            Hopefully they can make a decision soon as the movie is expected to start filming this Spring and that would be impossible without a director. Also, that 2018 release date is looking very much in question but until then we know that Affleck will star as the titular Gotham City hero along with appearances from Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons and Joe Manganiello as Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and the villainous, Deathstroke respectively. 

New trailer for 'Beauty and the Beast' gives us one final look at the tale as old as time

Image from Digital Spy
By Darian Scalamoni
            We’re only a short time away until the next Disney live-action film, Beauty and the Beast will be released but in anticipation for it, Disney has released the last trailer for the movie just yesterday.

            The live-action remake follows a young woman who enters an enchanted castle to save her father who is imprisoned by a Beast. The Beast claims that he will let her father go if she stays in the castle with him to which she obliges and they form a romantic relationship that awakens the human element that the Beast has had buried inside himself. This final trailer gives us more new footage but it is also my favorite trailer we’ve seen so far. With a better look at all of the beloved characters including the villainous Gaston and LeFou, I’m clamoring to finally sit down in theaters and see the gorgeous tale as old as time in live-action format. We also get to hear Ariana Grande and John Legend's rendition of the classic titular song that won an Academy Award back in 1992.

            Check out the final trailer for Beauty and the Beast below! The film stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson. Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Kinsey) will direct the classic story that comes to all screens on March 17th

Saturday, January 28, 2017

John Hurt passes away at the age of 77

Image from FOX News
By Darian Scalamoni
            Less than a week after celebrating his 77th birthday, it makes us sad to say here at Cinema Wave that award-winning actor John Hurt has passed away. He passed away late last night after a battle against pancreatic cancer in which he was diagnosed back in 2015.

            Hurt began acting in 1962 at the age of 22 but it was the 70s in which his career really took off. He starred in a mini-series I, Claudius and landed an Oscar nomination just two years later for Midnight Express. It was after that where Hurt became more of a known actor for appearing in Ridley Scott’s horror classic, Alien and then getting a second Oscar nomination for playing John Merrick in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man. As the years went on, Hurt continued to have massive roles in big-time movies throughout the remainder of his career appearing in films like 1984, Contact, Hellboy, V for Vendetta, the Harry Potter franchise, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Snowpiercer.

            John Hurt’s final roles include That Good Night, Damascus Cover, My Name Is Lenny and Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour, in which he’ll play Neville Chamberlain opposite Gary Oldman’s Winston Churchill.


            Rest in Peace to John Hurt, a fantastic 2-time Oscar nominated actor. Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and other loved ones during this tragic time. 

Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway in talks to star in noir/thriller 'Serenity'

Image from New York Daily News
By Darian Scalamoni
            Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are two Academy Award winning actors that proved that they have great chemistry following their roles in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Since then, McConaughey has turned in a legendary performance on TV with True Detective and also garnered Oscar buzz for his roles following Dallas Buyers Club. Since Hathaway’s Oscar win for Les Miserables back in 2013, she’s worked with Nolan, Nancy Meyers and continued her role in the Alice in Wonderland franchise. Now, according to Deadline, McConaughey and Hathaway are in talks to reunite for the noir, Serenity.

            Serenity is a mysterious project that tells the tale of a fishing boat captain whose past is about to come back to fruition following him crashing into a small island in the Caribbean. The movie will be directed by Steven Knight who previously directed the critically acclaimed feature, Locke that starred Tom Hardy. He’s also wrote and directed TV dramas Peaky Blinders and Taboo, both of which also star Hardy. Knight will also write the film, as he’s been nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Dirty Pretty Things. His most recent writing credits include Burnt and Robert Zemeckis’ Allied as well.


            McConaughey’s most recent film, Gold was just released wide in theaters yesterday, while he’s also had voice roles in Sing and the Oscar-nominated, Kubo and the Two Strings. He’ll be seen next in the Stephen King adapted, The Dark Tower. Hathaway will be seen next in the sci-fi action film Colossal and in the female ensemble, Ocean’s Eight in 2018.

Emmanuelle Riva passes away at the age of 89

Image from The Daily Beast
By Darian Scalamoni
            After losing two entertainment stars in the last two days, it’s sad to report that today there was yet another death as Oscar-nominated French actress, Emmanuelle Riva has passed away at the age of 89 after a long battle with cancer.

            Riva was a legendary French actress whose career spanned over six decades with her two most iconic performances essentially bookending her career. She was nominated for a BAFTA award in 1959 for Hiroshima Mon Amour and then 53 years later, starred in Michael Haneke’s Oscar-winning drama, Amour for which she was nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture at the age of 85. Riva won the BAFTA and the Cesar acting awards for the her performance in the latter.


            It is with a heavy heart that all of us at Cinema Wave say Rest in Peace to Emmanuelle Riva. Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and other loved ones during this tragic time. 

'Stranger Things' star Millie Bobby Brown to star in 'Godzilla 2'

Image from The Hollywood Reporter
By Darian Scalamoni
          Stranger Things was one of the best new shows of 2016, especially due to the breakout role for Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven. Soon after the show was released, she received rave reviews and signed with a powerhouse agency. Now, she has her first big film role following the success of the sci-fi Netflix smash hit. According to Collider, Brown is set to star in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the sequel to the 2014 film directed by Gareth Edwards. Michael Dougherty (Krampus, Trick ‘r Treat) will direct the film.

            There is no news yet on who Brown will be playing in the movie but it’s an exciting prospect for the soon to be 13-year old for her first feature film role to be involved within a franchise and even more, a new cinematic universe being dubbed by Legendary as the “MonsterVerse” that will expand further this year. The first Godzilla film in this new universe starred Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and Bryan Cranston and follows the rise of the titular monster who helped defend humanity against other terrestrial creatures known as MUTOs.

            The MonserVerse will only grow as Kong: Skull Island will be released on March 10th followed by Godzilla: King of the Monsters on March 22nd, 2019. These two solo films will happen before the highly-anticipated Godzilla vs. Kong battle film will be released on May 29th, 2020. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Michelle Williams signs on to Jonah Hill's directorial debut, 'Mid-90s'

Image from Empire
By Darian Scalamoni
            Ever since it was announced last year that Jonah Hill would be making his directorial debut, it’s been an intriguing project. Now, he has an Oscar-nominated actress in the lead to get the film moving along sooner than expected. According to The Playlist, Michelle Williams has signed up to star in Mid-90s.

            Hill’s first foray into feature filmmaking will follow a 12 year-old named Stevie who is involved in the skateboarding scene in the mid-1990s while dealing with his surroundings of drugs, drinking, sex and more. A coming of age film that sounds like Lords of Dogtown meets Dazed and Confused in the 90s sounds like a terrific movie that I’m excited to see. Williams will play Stevie’s mother in the film and mega producer Scott Rudin has signed on produce the project.


            Michelle Williams was just nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Manchester by the Sea. She has a busy 2017 slate as she’s signed on to Todd Haynes’ follow-up to Carol, titled Wonderstruck. Also, she’ll appear in the P.T. Barnum biopic, The Greatest Showman. Mid-90s will be released at some point in 2018 with a production date in June. A24 has picked up the rights and I’ll be first in line to see this!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Jacob Tremblay cast in Shane Black's 'The Predator'

Image from Toronto Star
By Darian Scalamoni
            Two years ago, Jacob Tremblay took the film world by storm for his performance in Room, for which Brie Larson won the Oscar. Many said it was a travesty that Tremblay wasn’t cast. The then 9-year old has broken out since then getting cast in tons of projects and he has another one lined up. According to The Tracking Board, Tremblay has been cast in Shane Black’s (Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys) The Predator.

            The reboot has already garnered a terrific cast in which Tremblay joins Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Keegan Michael-Key, Sterling K. Brown and Trevante Rhodes. The young actor is playing Holbrook’s son, an autistic boy who is bullied in school but becomes a massive player in the fight against the aliens due to his ability to learn other languages. I love the way this cast is shaping up, even more so because of the direction of Black. I was very receptive when first seeing Holbrook and Munn as the leads but the supporting cast around them is exciting to say the least.


            Tremblay has a big year on the horizon as he’ll star in Colin Trevorrow’s follow-up to Jurassic World titled The Book of Henry alongside Naomi Watts. Also, he’ll star as Auggie Pullman in the movie adaptation of the best-selling children’s novel Wonder that follows a young boy with a facial deformity. This movie could lead to an Oscar nomination especially since it has a killer cast with co-stars Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as Auggie’s parents. The Predator will be released on February 9th, 2018.

Naomie Harris cast in 80s video game adaptation 'Rampage'

Image from Variety
By Darian Scalamoni
            Dwayne Johnson has consistently been one of the busiest people in Hollywood. After massive successes in 2016 like Central Intelligence, the recently Oscar-nominated Moana and Season 2 of HBO’s Ballers, he has an even busier slate in the upcoming years. One of those projects that is in pre-production is Rampage. The movie is based on the 1980s video game that featured a gorilla, crocodile and wolf that wreak havoc on North American cities and now we have another casting announcement for the film. According to The Tracking Board, Naomie Harris is set to join the cast of Rampage.

            Johnson will play an animal-loving hero who is the world’s only hope when Harris tries to take out these large animals as a geneticist with a moral streak. Harris is coming off of Moonlight, for which she was just nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Brad Peyton (San Andreas, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) is set to reunite with Dwayne Johnson and direct the video game adaptation.


            This will be Harris’ first project post-Moonlight but she is also attached to Andy Serkis’ live-action Jungle Book, not to be confused with 2016’s The Jungle Book that was directed by Jon Favreau. Hopefully soon, we’ll be getting more information and casting news for Rampage!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore passes away at the age of 80

Image from Variety
By Darian Scalamoni
            It holds us all with a heavy heart here at Cinema Wave to say that TV icon, Mary Tyler Moore has passed away at the age of 80 today after her battle with diabetes for decades.

            Moore is known by many as one of the greatest and most influential television actresses of all-time. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 33, right around the start of her show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show in which she played a young journalist working in the newsroom of a Minneapolis TV station. The series won 29 Emmys over the span of its life and even won three consecutive Outstanding Comedy Series awards from 1975-77. Moore also won three Emmys for Lead Actress in a Comedy for the show as well. She would wind up winning another four Emmys over her career, while garnering 15 nominations along the way.

            Before her role on her own titular show, she had a role as Laura Petrie in the wildly successful, Dick Van Dyke Show. The show ran for 158 episodes from 1961-66 and Moore won two Emmys for the smart, beautiful, hilarious and neurotic wife of Van Dyke’s character, Rob Petrie. In 2012, the Writers Guild of America released its list of 101 Best Written TV Series in which The Mary Tyler Moore Show was ranked at No. 6 and Dick Van Dyke Show was ranked at No. 14.

            Moore also had a huge role within an Oscar-nominated film, Ordinary People. Robert Redford’s movie that starred Moore, Donald Sutherland and Judd Hirsch led to four Oscar wins, including Best Picture. Moore was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in the movie as well.


            Rest in Peace to Mary Tyler Moore as the entertainment world mourns the loss. Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and other loved ones during this tragic time. 

'This Is Us' Episode 13, Season 1 Review

Image from NBC
By Darian Scalamoni
            This week’s episode of This Is Us brought us a birthday celebration in Jack and Rebecca's path, though most of that revolved around their three children. Randall, Kate and Kevin were getting ready to celebrate their 10th birthday and wanted to have three separate parties for the first time. This came to a surprise to Jack and Rebecca who were under the impression that their kids loved sharing their birthday and having one big party.

            They obliged of course to their young children and it led to a Madonna-themed party for Kate, a Princess Bride-themed party for Kevin and Randall just asking to have a magician. More problems arise as it seems all is going well for Kate and her party until Jack walks in to see that all the girls left her party to go to Kevin’s. After an attempt to make her feel better, she reveals to her father that she just wants to be left alone. We later see after jumping back and forth between storylines that Kevin is in love with Kate’s best friend, Sophie from a very young age and then its revealed in his older storyline that he used to be married to that same Sophie, years later. Also, Randall only has three kids from his school show up, which concerns Jack and Rebecca before he reassures his mother that it’s okay and he has three “really great” friends that he really enjoys hanging with, bringing a tear to his mother’s eye.

            Jumping into Kevin’s modern storyline, in which the episode gets its title from, “Three Sentences”. It certainly was the most engaging of the week featuring a classic This Is Us twist revealing his former marriage with Sophie. After he tries to have small talk with Sloane following his epic mess up a couple of episodes ago, he calls his sister to try and help him. Instead, Kate thrusts Kevin into taking out Toby to have a good time while she’s at “fat camp” as she calls it. This leads to a great scene filled with humor but also realism in which Toby tells Kevin to close his eyes and think of the one person he loves the most and the three sentences he would tell them if he could. As an audience member, I legitimately did think it was Kevin deciding between Sloane and Olivia so the Sophie twist threw me for an unnecessary loop until I saw the relationship he had with her years earlier.

            In terms of Kate’s story line, it continues to struggle week to week with some great moments before being bogged down with a creepy prospect. Kate struggles to understand why she’s at this “fat camp” at first after going in with an expectation to work out until she pukes and lose weight, but it focuses much more on the emotional core of these people. This leads to an emotional breakthrough in her therapeutic workout class in which she begins to have flashbacks to painful points in her life, including her father’s funeral. It leads to Kate screaming out all of her pain in Chrissy Metz’s best scene in the show thus far. Unfortunately, a camp worker who takes care of the horses named Duke, seems to almost sexually harass Kate and uses it as a flirting technique that for some reason works, (WTF NBC?), he insinuates that she and him will engage something sooner rather than later. This is just weeks after her new fiancé Toby has heart surgery and they agreed to tie the knot, I don’t know what is up with the writing of her story line over this half season but thus far it’s been incredibly surreal and it’s taking me out of her story line completely.

            Randall’s story line is thrust into the background in this episode in which he is truly trying to share some of the last months or possibly days with his ailing father. This is incredibly moving though as Randall is dealing with a huge account at work and doesn’t want to be pulled out of his element before William surprises him at work. This leads to his son helping him cross a great day off of his bucket list that includes buying sunglasses, drink the perfect egg cream and drive a cool car while listening to his favorite song. It follows the trend of the charming nature of the NBC drama and showcases the father-son dynamic that is so great on this show. The one thing that the show seems to get right are the relationships in Randall’s story line as well as Jack’s. Both married couples seem to be as authentic and genuine as any on TV and it’s pretty terrific to get that after only 13 episodes.

            Though this episode shies away from the true dramatic fare that we’ve seen in the last couple of episodes and fills it with humor, it turns out to be a quality episode in the freshman season. Though this Kate storyline is beginning to take me out of her character, it’s not enough to stop the watchability and wonder of what is going to happen with the rest of the characters.


7.6/10

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

89th Academy Awards Nominations are Revealed; 'La La Land' ties record and leads pack with 14 nominations

Image from Variety
By Darian Scalamoni
            Another year, another Oscar season. There are surprises, snubs aplenty but these are the final pickings of the Academy that was under massive scrutiny last year for no minorities being nominated in any of the acting categories that lead to the Oscars So White campaign. This year, 7 actors were nominated that are minorities, including 6 African-Americans. Also, La La Land, unsurprisingly leads the field with 14 total nominations which ties it with Titanic and All About Eve for the most nominations ever at the Oscars. Without further ado, here are the categories and the nominees.

Best Picture
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Best Director
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Best Actress
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Best Adapted Screenplay
Luke Davis, Lion
Eric Heisserer, Arrival
Barry Jenkins, Tarell McCraney, Moonlight
Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures
August Wilson, Fences

Best Original Screenplay
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Efthymis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Mike Mills, 20th Century Women
Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

Best Cinematography
Greig Fraser, Lion
James Laxton, Moonlight
Rodrigo Prieto, Silence
Linus Sandgren, La La Land
Bradford Young, Arrival

Best Animated Feature
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Best Documentary Feature
13th
I Am Not Your Negro
Fire at Sea
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America

Best Foreign Language Film
A Man Called Ove, Sweden
Lane of Mine, Denmark
The Salesman, Iran
Tanna, Australia
Toni Erdmann, Germany

Best Original Song
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream), La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling”, Trolls
“City of Stars”, La La Land
“The Empty Chair”, Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go”, Moana

Best Original Score
Nicholas Britell, Moonlight
Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
Mica Levi, Jackie
Thomas Newman, Passengers
Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka, Lion

Best Film Editing
Tom Cross, La La Land
John Gilbert, Hacksaw Ridge
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, Moonlight
Jake Roberts, Hell or High Water
Joe Walker, Arrival

Best Visual Effects
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Costume Design
Colleen Atwood, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Consolata Boyle, Florence Foster Jenkins
Madeline Fontaine, Jackie
Joanna Johnston, Allied
Mary Zophres, La La Land

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Alessandro Bertolazzi, Suicide Squad
S. Anne Carroll and Joel Harlow, Star Trek Beyond
Love Larson and Eva Con Bahr, A Man Called Ove

Best Production Design
Stuart Craig, James Hambige and Anna Pinnock, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Jess Gonchor and Nancy Haigh, Hail, Caesar!
Guy Hendrix Dyas, Passengers
Patrice Vermette, Arrival
David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, La La Land

Best Sound Editing
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

Best Sound Mixing
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Monday, January 23, 2017

'Star Wars: Episode VIII' gets an official title and poster

Image from Chicago Sun-Times
By Darian Scalamoni
            It’s finally official… Star Wars: Episode VIII has a title. The eighth episodic film in the Star Wars universe has been given the title of Star Wars: The Last Jedi first reported in a press release by Lucasfilm.

            This reveal has led to tons of questions for all fans of the series. Is “The Last Jedi” that they’re referring to Luke Skywalker? Or possibly Rey? We’ll have to wait until December to find out for sure. The film will be directed by Rian Johnson (Looper) and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman in addition to being executively produced by Jason McGatlin, Tom Karnowski and J.J. Abrams who directed The Force Awakens.


            Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on December 15th! The movie stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Andy Serkis, the late Carrie Fisher, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran. Hopefully we’ll be getting a trailer much sooner rather than later!

'Silence' Review

Image from Vox
By Diego Coya
            Silence is directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, and Issei Ogata. Silence takes place in 1542 and tells the story of two Jesuit priests who travel to Japan for two reasons- to find their mentor, Father Ferreira, who had apparently denounced God in public and left Christianity, and to spread Christianity in Japan, where it was illegal at the time. The film shows how people’s faith was tested, how they were tortured physically and emotionally for believing in Christianity and how some characters question whether there is a God or if they are just praying to silence.

            Silence was one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Martin Scorsese has made some of my favorite movies of all time, and in my humble opinion, he rarely has a misstep. Silence is Scorsese’s passion project that he has been trying to make for almost 30 years, a wait well worth it because not only is this one of Scorsese’s best, it is a masterpiece.

            Silence is not an easy film to watch. It is powerful, brutal, and it can be a frustrating, not because of its long runtime, 2 hours and 41 minutes, but due to the torture that people endure. It is perfectly understandable why some may never want to see this film again, however I cannot say the same about my experience. I want to see Silence again and again, because there are so many themes in here that Scorsese conveys and it is a film that requires a lot of attention. I found the film to be beautifully shot; it has some of the best cinematography of the year. The scenery and the set design are truly incredible.

            The acting is phenomenal, everyone delivers a wonderful performance but this is yet again another Oscar-worthy performance from Andrew Garfield. His performance is filled with so much pain and emotional depth. In my review of Hacksaw Ridge, I stated that Andrew Garfield gave the best performance of his career. After seeing Silence, I honestly don’t know which performance I prefer. I also loved Issei Ogata who plays The Inquisitor, he gave a fantastic performance as someone who is complex.

            Which leads to one of my favorite aspects of the film, its complexity. Silence has many shades of grey; it is not biased against Christianity but it is most certainly faith-challenging. It is a heartbreaking film that has so much going for it, and it showcases that Scorsese is arguably the greatest director working today. I predict this film will receive many Oscar nominations, and it rightfully deserves to. This is yet another film that has not done well in the box office. Please support Scorsese’s latest film, because it absolutely deserves your money. Silence is a film that I will remember for years to come and will be known as another cinematic achievement from Martin Scorsese.


Rating: 10/10

'Split' Review

Image from Blumhouse
By Darian Scalamoni
            M. Night Shyamalan has had somewhat of a return to form over the stretch of his last two films between The Visit and his most recent film, Split. The latter was just released on Thursday and follows a man named Kevin who suffers from a personality disorder and kidnaps three young girls. Not only is it a personality disorder that Kevin is dealing with but a massive personality disorder in which he has twenty-four distinct personalities. The twenty fourth personality labeled as “The Beast” is what drives Kevin to kidnap these young girls and finish out his constructed fate.

            James McAvoy stars as Kevin, Patricia, Hedwig and Dennis just to name a few and does a masterful job portraying all of these personalities for the main character. He’s over the top with one character and then a completely different person when we shift gears as he plays Patricia with subtlety. Hedwig is by far my favorite persona because of the way McAvoy can truly play a nine-year old child in a 30-year old’s body. It’s hilarious to see with your own two eyes but also sadly terrifying. Though McAvoy stands out in the film, there are also admirable performances by Anya Taylor-Joy, who starred in The Witch, which was regarded as one of the best horror movies in years. She plays Casey, the only girl with a real head to try and survive even the worst nightmares, some in which she’s dealt with previously in her past. You can tell the heartbreak she has just in her eyes alone how weak her character comes as the days continue to wind with her struggling to understand why her captor took her and her friends. The most underrated performance in the whole film though is Kevin’s therapist, Dr. Karen Fletcher, played brilliantly by Betty Buckley. Fletcher is a student to the learnings of Kevin’s condition, while also doing her best to keep him sane. Though some of most of his personalities have been welcome into “the light” by Dr. Fletcher, others are shunned out because of outlandish and wrong behaviors. Fletcher’s character adds another layer to the film that digs deeper into how people with these conditions think and act when jumping from personality to personality.

            Though much of the film falls on its performances (and for good reason), the movie is constructed to be dark, ridiculous but also has a tremendous pay off. It feels very much like a B-movie but Shyamalan’s direction and script makes it worth your while in the theater. As someone who is usually not a fan of the horror genre, I have to say it really isn’t much of a horror movie, rather a psychological thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. After his successes with The Sixth Sense, Signs and Unbreakable, Shyamalan had a really bad stretch of filmmaking with movies like The Last Airbender and After Earth. It was when he took a step back with smaller budgeted and simpler ideas like Split and The Visit where it seemed he felt more comfortable and found his footing before his creative gene came back.

            Split is not the best movie of the year by any means but it’s led by great direction, a good script with solid ideas and a fantastic Shyamalan twist at the end. The amazing performances just elevate the project and make it for already one of the more pleasant surprises of 2017 for which you can dictate, at least for the time being, that M. Night Shyamalan is back.


7.7/10

'Patriots Day' Review

Image from Showbiz
By Diego Coya
            Patriots Day is the third collaboration between Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, following Lone Survivor (2013) and Deepwater Horizon (2016). It tells the story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the ensuing citywide hunt for the terrorists responsible. Several characters are based on real people; the film shows their stories and how the bombing affected their lives. It also showcases the chaos and fear that spread throughout the nation, and how people united after this tragedy.

            I was highly anticipating Patriots Day because I am a huge fan of the collaboration between Berg and Wahlberg. Their films based on true events never come off as exploitation, but rather as respect and tribute to the people caught up in the tragedy. Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon evidence this, and I can confidently say that Patriots Day is Peter Berg’s best film to date. I hope this film get some Academy Award nominations.

            Mark Wahlberg once again gives an excellent performance playing a character based on three different Boston police officers who worked the day of the marathon. He gives his role a lot of emotion and commitment; it would be great to see him nominated for either this or Deepwater Horizon. The cast also includes Kevin Bacon, J.K. Simmons, John Goodman, and Michelle Monahan. Everyone turns in a great performance; especially Themo Melikidze and Alex Wolff who play the brothers who bombed the marathon. Their performances were truly amazing, because they played such unlikeable characters; particularly Themo Melikize who sold the character as sinister as he can be. The acting is so good in this movie that at times I forgot I was watching a film; I felt like I was part of the manhunt watching real police officers and detectives trying to capture the terrorists.

            Similar to Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon, characters in Patriots Day are easy to connect with and care for. I was invested in every one’s story, and when they showed the interviews during the end of the movie with the real life victims, I felt very emotional. What makes Patriots Day so special is that it is a fantastic tribute to the people of Boston, and it is about people coming together after a tragedy. It is so well constructed, and it seriously deserves some award consideration come Oscar time. While this film isn’t doing too well at the box office, I hope more people see it in theaters, because it is one of the best movies of 2016 for sure.

Rating: 10/10

            

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Top 50 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

By Darian Scalamoni
            It’s crazy to think that we’re already half way through the first month of 2017 and though I’ve only seen a few movies thus far, it really does seem like it’s going to be a terrific year for cinema. Even though we’re sixteen days into the new year, there are still tons of movies that I’m dying to see and I’m anticipating the most. So without further ado, here’s my most anticipated movies of 2017!


50. Power Rangers (March 24th)
From the original Mighty Morphin’ series, I’ve been a huge Power Rangers fan my whole life. This new incarnation of the Rangers looks interesting and incredibly similar to 2012’s Chronicle, a dark and gritty tone that is a breath of fresh air for the film. I’
m a fan of RJ Cyler too, who is playing Billy and with legitimate actors like Elizabeth Banks and Bryan Cranston playing Rita Repulsa and Zordon respectively, it’s hard not to be excited for this movie. 


49. All Eyez on Me (June 16th)
With Straight Outta Compton being a massive hit, it seems that biopics on rap legends were going to be the new craze, well in the summer we’re getting a Tupac Shakur movie. Marcc Rose played Shakur in the N.W.A. biopic but this time it’s Demetrius Shipp Jr. taking the lead role. It’s evident though that Shipp Jr. looks exactly like the legendary rapper and many are hoping the movie turns out as good as Straight Outta Compton. The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira and Lauren Cohen also co-star in the movie and we’ll even have an appearance from Jamal Woolard who will reprise his role as Biggie Smalls after starring in Notorious back in 2009.


48. The Circle (April 28th)
Based on a best-selling book, The Circle follows a young woman who lands a job at a powerful tech company before being consumed in their own world of technology through the maker of the titular system. The premise sounds like its straight out of a Black Mirror episode but what makes this so interesting is the cast and director. Starring Emma Watson with supporting turns from John Boyega and 2-time Oscar winner, Tom Hanks, it just adds to the intrigue of such a promising story. The trailer is very mysterious and displays a weird tone but even more weird is that the film is directed by James Ponsoldt who had previously directed excellent character studies like The End of the Tour and The Spectacular Now.


47. Wildlife (Fall)
The directorial debut of one of the most underrated actors ever, Paul Dano is a welcomed one especially when he’s already worked with a crop of some of the greatest directors of all-time. His film starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan follows a family that moves to Montana and falls apart. Its seen through the eyes of the main character who will be played by Alex Oxenbould who starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit. It’s a great team attached too, with Dano and his real-life partner, Zoe Kazan penning the script. Also, Oren Moverman is producing and it’ll likely be released around Fall festival season. 


46. Wonder Woman (June 2nd)
After making her big-screen debut as the Amazonian princess warrior in the disappointing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gal Gadot will have to carry a whole movie on the weight of her shoulders this time around. Wonder Woman has always been a favorite DC character of mine and I’m very excited for this movie. With a supporting cast that features Chris Pine, Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen, the movie will be the first real solo movie in the newly-minted and thus far, not good, DC Extended Universe. Patty Jenkins directs the iconic female super heroine and directed Charlize Theron to an Oscar over 10 years ago so she might just be the right woman to helm the first film about Princess Diana.


45. Stronger (Winter)
The second movie this year to cover the events of the Boston Marathon bombing, though this one takes a different approach. Instead of focusing on the tragedy itself, the movie focuses on Jeff Bauman, a man who lost his legs due to the terrorist events. Directed by David Gordon Green, who has just as many great movies as he has disappointments, the movie will hopefully garner Jake Gyllenhaal his long overdue second Oscar nomination and also be a launching pad into movies for Emmy winner, Tatiana Maslany.


44. Darkest Hour (November 24th)
The historical drama that follows Winston Churchill battling Adolf Hitler’s German army in the early days of WWII looks like it could be a potential awards candidate with that release date and one of the greatest method actors ever in Gary Oldman playing Churchill (yes, that’s Gary Oldman in the picture up above the title.) It has a great cast that also stars the emerging Lily James and one of my favorite actors today, Ben Mendelsohn. In addition to that, Joe Wright is directing and the last time he directed a historical drama, we got Atonement which was terrific.


43. Tully (Fall)
Jason Reitman reunites with Diablo Cody who wrote two of his best films (Juno, Young Adult) and the star of the latter, Charlize Theron, where she plays a mother of three struggling to cope with a newborn who hires a night nanny and forms a bond with the young woman. That young woman is played by Mackenzie Davis, who stars in the incredibly underrated AMC drama, Halt & Catch Fire and is poised to break out. Reitman might be able to get her there as he badly needs a good film after his last two movies bombed at the box office and critically. He hopes to return to old form with this dramedy that is expected to be released around Fall festival season. 


42. Mudbound (Fall)
Though this movie just debuted at Sundance, it’s likely to get a wide release closer to award season. Directed by Dee Rees, who previously helmed the HBO movie, Bessie, Mudbound could be an under the radar Oscar contender for 2018. Based on a best-selling novel that dealt with racial injustice, PTSD and family tragedy and led by an underrated ensemble of actors like Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke and Jason Mitchell in his first big role post-Straight Outta Compton, it seems that this could wind up being one of the better movies of this year.


41. The Old Man and the Gun (Winter)
One of the only films on this list that has yet to begin production, the movie directed by David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon) stars two actors he’s worked with previously in Casey Affleck and Robert Redford. It also stars the legendary Sissy Spacek in a film that follows Redford as an elderly bank robber who escaped prison over a dozen times before moving into a retirement home. He wants to do one last big heist before he kicks the bucket and enlists in the recent Golden Globe winner, Affleck to assist him. Could be tons of fun, just like Lowery’s last live-action Disney remake named earlier.


40. Lady Bird (Fall)
The directorial debut of indie darling Greta Gerwig, who previously co-wrote Frances Ha and Mistress America with Noah Baumbach that stars 2-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan in a semi-biographical movie. Not only is Ronan terrific but you also have Lucas Hedges coming off of an incredible performance in Manchester by the Sea and the always comparable Tracy Letts is also in the movie. Gerwig had a big 2016 in front of the camera with Maggie’s Plan, Jackie and 20th Century Women but I’m intrigued to see what she’ll be able to do when crafting her own film behind the lens.


39. Goodbye, Christopher Robin (Fall)
The life and story of A.A. Milne, the author and creator of the wondrous Winnie the Pooh character inspired by his son C.R. Milne. The cast is terrific with Domhnall Gleeson playing Milne along with Margot Robbie playing his wife and Phoebe Waller-Bridge who is coming off of her leading role in the Amazon series, Fleabag. As a giant fan of Winnie the Pooh and growing up on the stories following the lovable bear, I’m excited about this biopic. Especially since Gleeson is one of my favorite actors under 35 at the moment.


38. Landline (Late Spring/Early Fall)
The female-led indie that just debuted at Sundance could be this year’s 20th Century Women. Led by Jenny Slate, Edie Falco and newcomer Abby Quinn, the movie follows a teenager who lives with her sister and parents in the 90s before discovering that her father is having an affair. Slate and Falco are immensely talented but also roles for Jay Duplass and John Turturro make this project so fascinating. It could be a showcase for all talent involved including director, Gillian Robespierre who directed Slate in the refreshing rom-com Obvious Child that could make something special that has the chance of being awards fare.


37. The Snowman (October 13th)
Tomas Alfredson’s long-awaited follow up to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy stars one of the finest working actors today, Michael Fassbender. The Oscar-nominated actor plays an alcoholic Norwegian detective that is investigating the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around a mysterious looking snowman. The premise makes it sound like a crazy noir and after previous reports that Martin Scorsese wanted to direct, the source material has to be pretty great. The author of the original novel also wrote the book that Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters was adapted from. Not only that but also a screenplay that was co-written by Hossein Amini who wrote the best noir film in recent memory, Drive and a supporting cast that includes Rebecca Ferguson, J.K. Simmons and the triumphant return of Val Kilmer can make this one of the best of the year.


36. The Masterpiece (Maybe Winter?)
A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the often-referred “worst movie ever made”, James Franco directs and stars as Tommy Wiseau who created The Room in a movie being adapted from a book from one of the movies original stars. The film could be one of the funniest of the decade if done properly and because this movie’s release date keeps getting pushed, it seems that Franco is taking his time with the formerly-titled “The Disaster Artist”. All of his pals are along for the ride as well with roles for Seth Rogen, Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse but also serious actors like Jacki Weaver, Zoey Deutch and even Bryan Cranston have roles in the film. With Franco describing the movie as a mixture between Boogie Nights and The Master, it makes it seem like it could even be released around awards season and it could be better than anyone could’ve anticipated.


35. A Futile and Stupid Gesture (Fall)
Doug Kenney was the founder of National Lampoon magazine which had a meteoric rise and later resulted in spinoff films that were surreal comedies that have become favorites since the 80s and 90s. Will Forte stars as Kenney and with Wet Hot American Summer writer/director David Wain directing with his absurd style and mind, he seems to be the most perfect guy to adapt the story of this company. Domhnall Gleeson and Emmy Rossum also co-star but I’m more excited to see Joel McHale as Chevy Chase, Seth Green as Christopher Guest and Jon Daly as Bill Murray. An interesting career loaded with immense talent could make for a great movie.


34. Yeh Din Ka Kissa (Fall)
The next film from Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Frances Ha) stars his most recent muse Ben Stiller along with a surprising co-star in Adam Sandler. Not only that but also roles for Oscar winners, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson make this the most interesting cast of any film this year. The plot follows an estranged family gathering together in New York to celebrate the artistic work of their father, played by Hoffman. Baumbach is one of the most stylized filmmakers in the industry and is on a hot streak recently, even if I wasn’t a huge fan of While We’re Young, other critics adored it.


33. Okja (Summer)
I wasn’t aware of Bong Joon-Ho’s filmmaking until I saw the incredibly underrated Snowpiercer just a couple of years ago. Okja follows a young Korean girl who is traveling the world to protect her best friend, who happens to be a giant creature named Okja from a corporation trying to take it down. It’s a fantastical premise and has a tremendous cast with Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Lily Collins and Giancarlo Esposito. If you can tell from the above image, yes that is Gyllenhaal and it looks like a kooky adventure to be released on Netflix in the summer season. 


32. Mother (Fall)
Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming project that stars Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem follows a young couple that receive uninvited guests at their home. It’s a psychological thriller from the mind of a man whose done it well in the past (Black Swan), so much so that the star of that film won an Academy Award for her performance. Not much else is known about the movie other than Lawrence and Bardem are joined by Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer and Domhnall Gleeson and that it is shot on 16mm. The movie should be released around Oscar season, most likely.


31. Wonder (April 7th)
The film based on the best-selling children’s novel follows a young boy that is born with a facial deformity and decides that he’ll start attending a real school after years of being home schooled by his mother. The source material is riveting and intense but speaks to the truth of how awful some kids could be when seeing something they don’t truly understand. With a cast that includes established talent like Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Mandy Patinkin as well as Jacob Tremblay in the lead role coming off his breakout turn in Room in 2015. Steven Chbosky is also directing coming off one of the greatest coming-of-age films of all time with The Perks of Being a Wallflower, so he knows how to adapt from the page to the screen. 


30. Baby Driver (August 11th)
It’s been quite a little while since we saw the stylized Edgar Wright put something on screen, well this summer he’s releasing his long-awaited next film that has the best cast he’s ever assembled. Starring Ansel Elgort, known best for his leading role in The Fault in Our Stars, he’ll play a music-obsessed getaway driver for bank robbers who must save his girlfriend when a job goes wrong. The crime caper also has Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm as the bank robbers, rising star Lily James as Elgort’s girlfriend and one of the greatest living actors, Kevin Spacey having a role as well. It’s been four years since we’ve seen a film directed by Wright and to be honest, that is just WAY too long.


29. Song to Song (March 17th)
Terrence Malick’s latest features two intersecting love triangles against the music scene in Austin, Texas. I previewed this movie when the first image surfaced recently; shot back-to-back with last year’s Knight of Cups, it features actors from that film like Natalie Portman and Christian Bale but also acting juggernauts like Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and Cate Blanchett among others. One thing is for sure, the film will be beautiful to look at like Malick’s other efforts but here’s hoping it’s more in the vein of The Tree of Life featuring an overarching feeling of joy when walking out of the theater unlike some of his most recent fare. 


28. Murder on the Orient Express (November 22nd)
Looking to make a splash at next year’s Academy Awards is Kenneth Branagh’s remake of the classic crime/mystery, Murder on the Orient Express. The 1974 classic directed by Sidney Lumet was nominated for six Oscars and featured an all-star cast that included Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave and Ingrid Bergman, who won as Oscar for the original. Branagh counters with a cast that includes Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Michael Pena, Daisy Ridley and Branagh himself as the lead Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. He’s investigating the murder of a wealthy American while on board the most famous train in the world, the Orient Express. Could be terrific with the talent involved but it’ll be hard to outdo the beloved original.


27. Downsizing (December 22nd)
Another possible Oscar film from one who is familiar with the territory, Alexander Payne, director of The Descendants and Nebraska will bring Downsizing to big screens. A movie that has been in development for quite a while with a starry cast to boot, the film follows a man who agrees to shrink himself along with his wife after he goes through turmoil and more issues before she backs out at the last minute for him to experience it all for himself. Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig star as the couple as Alec Baldwin, Jason Sudeikis, Neil Patrick Harris and even Christoph Waltz have supporting roles in what seems to be the hilarious and fantastic concept.


26. Kong: Skull Island (March 10th)
The latest movie to cover the monstrous ape is directed by little known indie director Jordan Vogt-Roberts who is coming off The Kings of Summer, and shows a different side and kind of gorilla then we’ve ever seen. One that can compete with Godzilla in future spinoffs and battle feature films. This movie though seems to be stylized (hopefully in the right way, that last trailer was very strange) with a 70s tone as a group of scientists, soldiers and government officials travel to Skull Island in the Pacific to discover the giant King Kong as well as other creatures amongst the island. Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson and recent Oscar winner, Brie Larson are just some of the terrific ensemble collected for the film that will be released in just a short time. The epic scale also seems to have a lighter tone by the previews as this has potential to be the best non-superhero blockbuster of 2017.


25. War Machine (Spring)
The biopic that follows Brad Pitt as Stanley McChrystal, the Runaway General that President Obama appointed in charge of the war in Afghanistan before alienating his bosses and allies. In the above image you can see Pitt sporting grey hair in the film that is supposed to be a war drama with comedic elements. The cast is loaded with talent including underrated young actors Keith Stanfield, Emory Cohen and Will Poulter. Another movie to get Netflix in the awards hunt, hopefully its Spring release date won’t hurt it.


24. Blade Runner 2049 (October 6th)
The surprising sequel to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi cult classic that was released 35 years ago, marks the return of Rick Deckard thirty years after the events of the original and he’s joined by recent Golden Globe winner, Ryan Gosling. Instead of Ridley Scott directing, Blade Runner 2049 marks the next effort from one of the best directors in the industry today, Denis Villeneuve following his own successful original sci-fi film, Arrival. Frequent collaborators Roger Deakins and Johan Johansson will shoot and score the movie so it will look and sound amazing but we could tell that already by the trailer. The supporting cast is also tremendous with Dave Bautista, Robin Wright, Barkhad Abdi, Lennie James, Mackenzie Davis and Jared Leto on board so hopefully it lives up to its massive hype surrounding it.


23. Last Flag Flying (Winter)
Richard Linklater’s next movie is actually a sequel to a movie he did not direct, The Last Detail. The 1973 dramedy directed by Hal Ashby originally starred Jack Nicholson and Randy Quaid as two Navy officers that must bring a young offender (played by Otis Young) to prison but show him one last good time before they do so. Linklater has been known for doing spiritual successors to even his own films (Everybody Wants Some!! was just that to his Dazed & Confused), but Darryl Ponsican wrote the aptly-titled novel in 2005 that was a follow-up to The Last Detail. This was in development since the novel was released and Linklater has cast Bryan Cranston and Steve Carell in the roles of Buddusky and Meadows respectively with Laurence Fishburne playing the young offender who is now old, who goes along with his buddies to return Meadows’ son to his hometown after being killed in the Iraq war. 


22. Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7th)
The first Marvel movie to crack my list is the third try at a franchise for the popular web-slinger. Though Sony solely produced the first two efforts led by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, Marvel Studios now has dipped their creative hand into the cookie jar and is collaborating with Sony to make Spider-Man standalones. This movie that is being described as “Spider-Man in a John Hughes movie” and it sure feels like it from the trailer; Tom Holland puts on the costume this time around after being probably the best part of one of the best movies of 2016, Captain America: Civil War. Marisa Tomei also returns as Aunt May as well as Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau making appearances as Tony Stark and Happy Hogan. Donald Glover is another popular name that shows up but it is perhaps Michael Keaton in the villainous role as Vulture that will get many casual viewers heading to the theaters after his recent work has been considered his best in years.



21. Under the Silver Lake (Fall)
David Robert Mitchell’s follow-up to one of the most pleasant surprises of 2014, It Follows, is a noir set in modern Los Angeles. When I hear that, I instantly think something in the same style as Drive or even more so, Nightcrawler, but then I see Andrew Garfield attached and I become that much more intrigued. Garfield had a terrific 2016 with Hacksaw Ridge and Martin Scorsese’s Silence on the backend, now he’ll work with an up and coming premiere filmmaker who is getting to work with premiere talent. Not much else is known but Topher Grace, Riley Keough, Girls’ Zosia Mamet and Westworld breakout, Jimmi Simpson are all on board for the cast and A24 will distribute the movie and they’ve had very little failure since becoming a production company. 


20. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (October 6th)
The highly-anticipated sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service cracks my top 20 due to Matthew Vaughn returning to direct as well as incredible additions to the cast like Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry and Pedro Pascal. They join the returning talents of Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Taron Egerton, who broke out into Hollywood with the previous film based on the graphic novels. In this movie, Eggsy will have to team with an American Statesman to save the world (I’m assuming that Statesman is Tatum), which sounds like tons of fun. It will truly be hard to up the ante on the action sequences though as the “Freebird” sequence might be one of the best action scenes in recent memory. As such a big fan of the first movie, it’s hard not to get excited about the sequel. 


19. Untitled Dick Cheney Biopic (December)
A movie that truly no one knows much about other than the subject matter and director. Adam McKay directs after coming off his Oscar-winning dramatic showcase, The Big Short that was one of my absolute favorite films of 2015. That film brought together a remarkable and talented cast that included Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell. This was a huge feat for a former SNL writer turned legendary comedy director (Anchorman, Step Brothers) to start to dip his feet into dramatic territory. McKay won the Academy Award for his Adapted Screenplay and now he’s moving to the former VP of the United States. He’ll reteam with Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B that has had massive success in the recent years and now the question is, who will play Cheney himself? 


18. Untitled Woody Allen Project (Late Summer/Early Fall)
At 81 years old, Woody Allen continues to make content on a yearly basis which is unbelievable. Not only that, but he also released an Amazon series, while also releasing his 47th film, Café Society last year, which made my top 10 of the year list. His 48th movie is currently filming and stars Kate Winslet and Justin Timberlake in the summer of the 1950s in Coney Island. Timberlake plays a lifeguard that the older Winslet meets and forms a relationship with, much like many of the other romantic relationships we’ve seen in other Allen movies. With the talent attached though and coming off Café Society, it makes me very excited for his next feature that is in my top 20 anticipated for the year. 


17. The Glass Castle (Fall)
Hot on the heels of their massive success on the magnificent indie film, Short Term 12, Brie Larson and director Destin Daniel Cretton reunite for an adaptation of a best-selling novel. The Glass Castle tells the true story of Jeanette Walls and her poor upbringing with her mentally troubled parents. Their first film was one of my favorite indies of all-time, filled with realism and detail, this film that also stars Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as Larson’s parents, looks to be one of the best films for awards season with a late release date most likely.


16. Battle of the Sexes (Summer)
From the directors of Little Miss Sunshine, this film follows a true story of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, the sexist former tennis player. The legendary match was also a huge publicity stunt back in the 70s when Riggs claimed that even at age 55, he could defeat the best female player in the sport because “women were inferior to men” before King gave him the whooping he deserved. The film is also produced by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionare, Steve Jobs) who originally was in line to direct and written by Oscar-winning screenwriter, Simon Beaufoy. One of the most relevant films of this year could also be one of the best and funniest. Emma Stone and Steve Carell play King and Riggs, respectively.


15. Justice League (November 17th)
The first team-up film of the DCEU brings together the biggest and best of DC’s comic book heroes on screen. Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg work together after Superman’s death to take on a bigger enemy that they can’t take down unless they act in a cohesive way. Directed by Zack Snyder in his third straight DC movie, he’s looking to build more of Man of Steel feel, rather than the more recent Batman v. Superman that was a huge disappointment. With a terrific cast that also gives us our first look at new DC characters Commissioner Gordon, Iris West and Nuidis Vulko along with the beloved super team, all fans are hoping is that the movie is great.


14. Logan (March 3rd)
One of two films in the top 15 that will be released in the next two months, the last film to feature Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (so he says), is inspired on the Old Man Logan comic to where the title character is now grizzled, beaten and old. Possibly on his last legs, he along with a 90-year old Professor X and a very young girl, who we now know is X-23 are trying to preserve and protect the young mutant from Boyd Holbrook’s villainous Donald Pierce. The R-rated comic book fare looks to be ultra-violent but also seems to have depth and real stakes to it. Based on the first trailer alone featuring Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”, the movie catapulted into a prestigious spot on my list and makes it one of the most impressive feats for Jackman who is set to play Wolverine for the 9th time in 17 years.


13. Logan Lucky (October 13th)
Steven Soderbergh’s return to directing feature films is being described as the “redneck Ocean’s Eleven” which he also directed back in 2001. The premise is that two brothers plan a heist against the backdrop of a NASCAR race. Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Hilary Swank and Katherine Waterston are just some of the stars among this movie that is quickly becoming an “event” after being away from directing features since Side Effects in 2013. Also, Katie Holmes, Sebastian Stan, Seth MacFarlane, Katherine Heigl and Riley Keough, who stars in the Soderbergh-produced Starz series, The Girlfriend Experience, all come along for the ensemble crime film. Other than that not much is known but it seems to be an exciting prospect to see Soderbergh possibly having a return to form with Logan Lucky.


12. Beauty and the Beast (March 17th)
The live-action telling of the animated Disney classic of a young woman falling in love with a monstrous looking prince has assembled one of the greatest casts in the history of movies. Emma Watson stars as Belle while rising star Dan Stevens (soon to be seen in FX’s Legion) stars as the Beast. Not only that, but the kitchen appliances in live-action look great with Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson and Gugu Mbatha-Raw voicing some of them, it looks to be a great reincarnation of the original movie. The clip of Emma Watson singing also sounds spectacular so 
now the only question that remains is how much money can this film actually make come March?


11. Thor: Ragnarok (November 3rd)
While the first two Thor films are some of my least favorites from the MCU, the third in the trilogy could be far and beyond the best with the potential it already has behind it. Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) will direct and has already shown that with his comedic flare, the Thor character can thrive in his short film, Team Thor released last year showcasing what the Asgaardian was doing while the events of Civil War were happening. He’s joined by two more heroes in this film that weren’t featured in the latter in Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange that just debuted at the end of last year. The buddy-cop esque tone that has been teased for this movie should work incredibly well but will be brought back down to dramatic moments with the legendary, Cate Blanchett as the villain Hela. Also, roles for Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban and Jeff Goldblum, the movie is stacked with talent and could result in one of the finer offerings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


10. Annihilation (Fall)
The sophomore effort from Alex Garland who had one of the best directorial debuts ever with the ambitious sci-fi film that won an Oscar for visual effects and got a nomination for Best Original Screenplay, Ex Machina. His second film titled Annihilation will stay in the genre with a bigger scope, budget and cast, as he adapts the book by Jeff VanderMeer. Oscar Isaac returns to team-up again with Garland but he’s joined this time by Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez. The source material is great and gives Garland a lot to play with but it’s going to be hard to outdo his last movie. Here’s hoping he can get the job done with Annihilation


9. Suburbicon (Fall/Winter)
George Clooney’s latest directorial effort following the massive disappointment, Monuments Men, is a 1950s drama/thriller called Suburbicon that will be written by The Coen Brothers. Interested yet? Well think that this is Clooney’s sixth film as a director and with great films already on his resume like Good Night and Good Luck as well as The Ides of March, it’s easy to see why the film could be great. Want more support? The cast includes Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin and Woody Harrelson, all whom are astounding talents. I can’t wait for this movie, the only thing that worries me is the release date, it sounds to me like an Oscar type of film so the later the release date the better.


8. Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri (Late Spring/Early Summer)
A Missouri woman goes to war with the authorities after her daughter is murdered and local police want to cover it up, that woman is played by Frances McDormand who is quietly becoming one of the most consistent actresses in Hollywood. Directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths), the movie will be only his third feature to which his last two were startlingly good. Another black comedy/drama that will also bring back two of his regulars, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell along with Peter Dinklage and the Oscar-winner, McDormand, the movie promises to be well-acted and even better directed. Hopefully this is the movie that gets McDonagh some recognition from the Academy on a grander scale since his win for Best Short Film, Live Action in 2006. 


7. Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson 1950s Fashion Drama (Late Fall/Early Winter)
The only reason this isn’t higher is because of all the mystery behind it. The latest film from Paul Thomas Anderson who directed such incredible movies as Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood will reunite with the star of the latter, 3-time Oscar winner, Daniel Day-Lewis for his first movie in five years. Anderson will explore the London fashion industry of the 1950s for this project, which may or may not be based on the life of Charles James. No other details or cast is known and with that little known it’s hard to put it within my top 5 most anticipated but it garners a spot in the top 10 nonetheless.


6. The Current War (Late Fall/Early Winter)
The second feature from breakout director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon who directed one of my favorite films of all-time, Me & Earl & the Dying Girl, has an ambitious movie that has way more star power than his last had. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon as Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse competing to try and build a sustainable and safe electricity system to sell to the public. Two acting juggernauts lead with support from Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland and Katherine Waterston, along with a committed director to create something that reeks of being a contender at the Oscars come next year.


5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5th)
The sequel to one of the best, and definitely the most surprising film of the MCU yet, Guardians of the Galaxy. The follow-up returns James Gunn and his favorite cast of misfit heroes led by Chris Pratt. Groot is now a baby and possibly the most adorable thing we’ll see all year but this movie is expected to be even better, funnier and on a grander scale compared to the last. Kurt Russell is set as the villain Ego and even an appearance from Sylvester Stallone is in the cards. With a soundtrack blaring all 80s favorites mixed with comedy and action in another galaxy, the first Marvel release of the year could very well be their best movie to date.


4. Untitled Detroit Riots Movie (August 4th)
Zero Dark Thirty, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated movies of the decade. Bolstered by a career making performance for Jessica Chastain, an impeccable script by Mark Boal and phenomenal direction from Kathryn Bigelow, it was robbed at the Academy Awards. Their next film will be sure to be the most timely of any on the list while the 50th anniversary of the Detroit Riots is upcoming, this summer will see Bigelow’s film providing a look at the terror and impact that the police raid of 1967 had on the United States and racial America. With police brutality and racism coming to the forefront of America in 2016, Bigelow will bring realism and a powerful film to screens in the summer. The superb cast includes John Boyega, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, John Krasinski, Jacob Lattimore and Jason Mitchell just to name a few. Annapurna just announced it will be their first film that they will distribute and it’s sure to be heard at the Oscars next year, no matter its summer release date.


3. Molly’s Game (Late Fall/Early Winter)
The directorial debut of quite possibly the best screenwriter of all-time, Aaron Sorkin will finally come to fruition with Molly’s Game. After his Oscar-winning screenplay for The Social Network turned the heads of thousands, it led to him exploring a project that he wanted to direct, in this case it’s going to be his adaptation of the best-selling memoir from Molly Bloom. She went from being a former Olympic hopeful skier to one of the most successful entrepreneurs after running high stakes poker games for celebrities all around the world. Jessica Chastain will play the lead with support from Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera and Chris O’Dowd, hopefully they’ll be able to get the “song and dance” style of writing that Sorkin has and this group could be looking at an awards season for the ages with Sorkin getting behind the camera.


2. Dunkirk (July 21st)
Christopher Nolan has already solidified himself as one of the best filmmakers of all-time though he only has had one of his films nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards (Inception). His upcoming WWII drama will be the first time that he steps away from sci-fi, fantasy or comic book fare since Insomnia and looks to be one of the best upcoming films of 2017. Starring Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Jack Lowden, Cillian Murphy, last year’s Best Supporting Actor Mark Rylance and even One Direction’s Harry Styles, the war film will tell the story of the evacuation of British soldiers in 1940 when civilian ships helped evacuate 300,000 men from France as the Germans bombed them on the beach. The first trailer just gives a glimpse of how gorgeous and substantial this movie will be. Hopefully, it will earn Nolan all the praise he deserves and is as good as everyone is hoping for it to be.


1. Star Wars: Episode VIII (December 15th)
What else would it be? Everyone needs to find out all the answers to the questions following 2015’s The Force Awakens. Directed by Rian Johnson (Looper), this film is being described as the new Empire Strikes Back already without seeing any footage but the movie has the return of Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, General Hux, Kylo Ren, BB-8 and even the legendary characters Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in the late, great Carrie Fisher’s last performance as the character. Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern are also set to join the Star Wars universe and that’s all we know at this point but don’t you want to know what Luke says to Rey at the top of that mountain? Hmm.. I wonder.

That’s it for my most anticipated list of 2017 but of course, there are honorable mentions and TONS of them listed below. Thanks for reading! Comment below on your thoughts and list some of your most anticipated films of the year.

The Space Between Us, The Lego Batman Movie, T2: Trainspotting, Wilson, Free Fire, Life, Ghost in the Shell, Going in Style, Gifted, The Fate of the Furious, The Lost City of Z, Alien: Covenant, Baywatch, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Book of Henry, Cars 3, War for the Planet of the Apes, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, The Dark Tower, American Made, The Mountain Between Us, God Particle, Paddington 2, Jumanji, The Greatest Showman, The Mercy, The Dinner, Mute, The Discovery, Get Out, Wonderstruck, Hostiles, Felt, HHHH, Bright and The Death and Life of John F. Donovan