2016 – A Year In Review

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2016 is a year that most people probably want to forget. But, I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about the ultimate escape – going to the movies. And this year, like most, had its fair share of great works, as well as a few duds as well. And while in my personal opinion I thought this was an overall weak year for films, the one’s that I’d consider my favorites are ones that will stick with me for a while. So, without further ado, let’s recap the best and worst the year had to offer in film.

(Note: I still haven’t seen all the films I wanted to see before making this list (A Monster CallsSilence and Live By Night, to name a few), so this will be updated accordingly. For a list of all the films I saw from this year, check out the entire list here.

Best Films 0f 2016

  1. La La Landla-la-land

    Damien Chazelle’s modern throwback to classic cinema in the 50’s is what a Hollywood love letter should feel like. Harkening back to a simpler time while grounding itself with enough modern sensibilities so that it doesn’t get lost copying rather than homaging, La La Land is a cheerful, if somewhat cynical musical that will not only have you tapping your feet, but also leaving with something to chew on afterwards.

  2. Nocturnal AnimalsScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 1.52.11 AM.png

    Tom Ford’s cold, calculated tale about revenge feels like it was made for me. Like a cross between a classic Hitchcock thriller and the surrealism from a David Lynch film, Nocturnal Animals seamlessly jumps back and forth between the two intertwined tales, creating an intense and thought-provoking film. It helps that the entire ensemble shows up with outstanding performances, the standout being Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Overall, a trippy, nerve-wracking film noir with a hint of trashy pulp that does the job and then some. Extra points for having the most bizarre opening credits sequence I’ve seen in quite some time.

  3. MoonlightScreen Shot 2016-12-22 at 2.03.35 AM.png

    What a beautiful story. Filmed in Miami, this three-part story is expertly crafted by Barry Jenkins and throws us right into the story of Chiron (played by three different actors who, interestingly, weren’t told how each other approached the same character), and boy, is it a marvel. The last section alone is worth the price of admission. Moonlight is a heartbreaking look into the life of a young man trying to find himself and discovering his sexuality in a drug-filled environment.

  4. Swiss Army ManScreen Shot 2016-12-22 at 2.04.53 AM.png

    Possibly the most overlooked film of the year, simply because most took one look at this crazy beast of a film and just saw it as “that farting corpse movie”. While there is a farting corpse here, the film from Daniels is so much more than that – a portrait of loneliness, friendship and accepting the absurdities of life. Even though you might find yourself muttering “What the fuck?” to yourself multiple times during Swiss Army Man, you’ll be glad you gave it a chance (hopefully).

  5. ArrivalScreen Shot 2016-12-22 at 2.07.11 AM.png

    A film about language and learning to communicate with others is a film we were in desperate need of today, we just didn’t know it. After films like Prisoners, Incendies, and now this, I think it’s safe to say that Denis Villenuve is one of my favorite filmmakers working today. It should also be noted that there isn’t a single “action scene” in this alien invasion film, which is mind-blowing to me.

  6. Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeBVS-FP-0237-HR.jpg

    A film that a lot of people didn’t like, but one that I absolutely loved and will defend for the foreseeable future. Zack Snyder’s grand, epic take on these two titans meeting for this first time is fresh, exciting and something new in a superhero genre that’s starting to get a bit stale in my opinion. I understand some of the critiques this film has gotten (if you’ve only seen the Theatrical Cut of this film, do yourself a favor and give the Ultimate Edition a chance), but it’s visually stunning, daring and uses today’s bleak world as the backdrop for these characters, creating a universe that feels realistic while also feeling fantastical as well. A film, just like Snyder’s Watchmen, that I think is just too ahead of it’s time.

  7. ZootopiaZootopia-trailer-1200x545_c.jpg

    In a year where there was not only a Finding Nemo sequel but also a new Laika film as well, Disney Animation stepped up their game and actually outdid both with this fun, but surprisingly deep animated comedy. Half the time, it’s a fun ride for the whole family, while the other half plays like a dense noir mystery. It also isn’t afraid to dive right into topics such as racial inequality and misrepresentation. Like I said, some heavy stuff, but it pays off for the newly-revived studio in what might be their best film yet (sorry, Wreck-It Ralph).

  8. Sing Street26271629670_37820854c7_c.jpg

    This Irish film is yet another coming-of-age story, but where this one strives is in it’s characters, the core of this film. As someone who isn’t a huge fan of musicals, the ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ scene is easily one of my favorites from the year. It’s cute, fun, and has a ton of heart. And somehow, we got a phenomenal performance out of Jack Reynor, who was…eh…not so great in his “debut” in Transformers: Age of Extinction. So that’s another positive, right? (P.S., this is now on Netflix, so you really should check it out).

  9. Kubo and the Two StringsScreen Shot 2016-12-22 at 2.13.26 AM.png

    Kubo and the Two Strings is not only a great animated film, but it’s a great film in general. Dark, engaging, but most importantly heartfelt, this stop-motion film from Laika is one of their best films to date, with badass character designs, action and a story that both kids and adults can admire.

  10. The Edge of Seventeenhero_Edge-of-Seventeen-2016.jpg

    This film came out of absolutely nowhere. Produced by Simpsons creator James L. Brooks, this high-school drama succeeds where similar films failed – it actually portrays the life of a high-schooler in a realistic way. Despite some generic coming-of-age trappings it finds itself in, you won’t find a more relatable film about teenagers this year. Shame this one didn’t break out as much as it could have, because Hailee Steinfeld really killed it here.

Honorable Mentions: Don’t Breathe, Hacksaw Ridge, The Nice Guys, Star Trek Beyond, Popstar

Worst Films of 2016

  1. Sausage PartySausageParty5.jpg

    This is what burning money looks like. As a huge fan of Seth Rogen and his previous work, I couldn’t have been more disappointed.

  2. Dirty Grandpa960.jpg

    If you wanna watch a movie where you see Robert De Niro masturbating and watching porn, a close-up of De Niro’s penis, gay people getting made fun of, Zac Efron passed out on a beach with a bottle of vodka up his ass, a minor grabbing and sticking his head in Efron’s crouch, De Niro saying “nigga”, have Efron constantly get poked in the ass by his grandfather, a cop taking a picture of her bush and showing it to the audience and a horrendously uncomfortable sex scene to finish off the film, then Dirty Grandpa is for you. (I hope Dirty Grandpa isn’t for you.)

  3. Search PartyU6eYOmH.jpg

    So forgettable I forgot I saw this earlier in the year until I sat down to make this list.

  4. Fifty Shades of Blackscreen-shot-2016-12-28-at-2-29-22-am

    (See above)

  5. The Purge: Election YearScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.31.51 AM.png

    I get it, these films are meant to be dumb B-movies, but when a film wants to make a political statement as badly as this one does, it’s hard to take it seriously when a character tries murdering someone over a candy bar. Don’t get me wrong, I went it wanting to like this installment (I really dug The Purge: Anarchy), but this one is just a disaster.

  6. Zoolander 2Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.33.06 AM.png

    Even though we all saw it coming, I was really hoping that Zoolander wasn’t going to suck. I absolutely adore the first film, but just like Dumb & Dumber Too, this comedy sequel takes everything funny about the film film and overdoes it to the point where the filmmakers become the butt of their own jokes. Even with Stiller behind the camera, this film ended up being much worse than it should have been.

  7. Independence Day: ResurgenceScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.34.05 AM.png

    You won’t find a more soulless film this year. All the awesome special effects couldn’t save this hotly anticipated sequel from feeling so…uneventful. Roland Emmerich made an awesome film with the first Independence Day, but he should have never made this one.

  8. Huntsman: Winter’s WarScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.35.14 AM.png

    Speaking of sequels that shouldn’t have been made, this quasi-sequel/prequel/reboot was so confused about it was supposed to be that it failed at being any of those things. Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron kick ass per usual, but this truly generic and boring film lives and breathes by their performances, not much else.

  9. Alice Through The Looking GlassScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.36.52 AM.png

    The only reason this isn’t lower on this list is because I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. That being said, it’s still atrocious.

  10. HushScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.38.09 AM.png

    This one hurts. Mike Flanagan is a capable filmmaker (as evident by his work on Oculus and this year’s underrated Ouija: Origin of Evil), so it’s a shame that this home invasion thriller just falls flat on its ass. Granted, I seem to be in the minority on this opinion (somehow the film has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score), but believe me when I say this is no different from the other mindless horror films that we always complain about.

(Dis)honorable Mentions: The Jungle Book, Ride Along 2, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Best TV Shows of 2016

  1. American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ SimpsonScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.42.50 AM.png

    FX’s spinoff of its popular anthology series American Horror Story got off to a fantastic start with what I think is one of the best seasons to a television show that I’ve ever seen. With an all-star ensemble where every single actor exceeded expectations, this controversial tale got the story treatment it deserved and more.

  2. Bojack Horseman (Season 3)Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 5.54.02 PM.png

    I’m so glad I stuck with Bojack Horseman. Not only is this Netflix’s best television show to date, it’s one of the most refreshing and heartbreaking shows you’ll come across. Now, this may sound ridiculous if you haven’t already seen the show, as it just appears to be another animated comedy show. But man, it’s so much more than that, and Season 3 is probably the most heartbreaking of them all.

  3. Westworld (Season 1)westworld-james-evan-rachel-wood-a6c72681-f185-473f-abcb-3ad4ac99a186.jpg

    With one of the best pilot episodes I’ve seen, Westworld certainly got things off on the right foot. Set to be the next “big thing” for HBO after Game of Thrones is over, this new sci-fi series is propelled by it’s intricate world-building and a cast that is totally game (pun intended). It started to get a little too complicated for its own good towards the end, but the final moments put right back in my place, eagerly anticipating the next season.

  4. Stranger Things (Season 1)960-1.jpg

    Thankfully, I got to Stranger Things before it turned into a cultural phenomenon. This mix of Stephen King with Spielberg was the perfect formula for this small-town mystery, even if the later episodes showed that they didn’t quite have the budget to pull off what they wanted to. That being said, the show got surprisingly tense and emotional, essentially turning it into a more accessible Twin Peaks for today’s audiences.

  5. Game of Thrones (Season 6)got609_092415_hs_dsc_84301-h_2016.jpg

    After a somewhat rough (and predictable) start, I was wondering why many had considered the latest season of Game of Thrones to be one of its best. Then I got to “The Battle of the Bastards”. Then I shut up.

And now for some Fun Awards:

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  1. Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea
  2. Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
  3. Ryan Gosling – La La Land
  4. Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool
  5. Paul Dano – Swiss Army Man

Best ActressScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 2.59.49 AM.png

  1. Emma Stone – La La Land
  2. Amy Adams – Arrival
  3. Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen
  4. Emily Blunt – The Girl on The Train
  5. Mary Elizabeth Winstead – 10 Cloverfield Lane

Best Supporting ActorScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 3.03.10 AM.png

  1. Ryan Gosling – The Nice Guys
  2. Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals
  3. John Goodman 10 Cloverfield Lane
  4. Daniel Radcliffe – Swiss Army Man
  5. Aaron Eckhart – Bleed For This

Best Supporting ActressScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 3.04.18 AM.png

  1. Naomie Harris – Moonlight
  2. Imogen Poots – Green Room
  3. Laura Linney – Nocturnal Animals
  4. Angourie Rice – The Nice Guys
  5. Jena Malone – The Neon Demon

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  1. Sing Street
  2. Nerve
  3. Star Trek Beyond
  4. The Edge of Seventeen
  5. 10 Cloverfield Lane

Biggest DisappointmentsScreen Shot 2016-12-26 at 11.57.27 PM.png

  1. Suicide Squad
  2. The Witch
  3. Hail, Caesar!
  4. Triple Nine
  5. American Honey

Best CinematographyScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 3.09.25 AM.jpg

  1. Moonlight
  2. La La Land
  3. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  4. Arrival
  5. High-Rise

Best SceneScreen Shot 2016-12-28 at 3.11.44 AM.png

  1. The Reveal – Arrival
  2. Epilogue – La La Land
  3. Warehouse Fight – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  4. Battle of Okinawa (Doss’ First Day) – Hacksaw Ridge
  5. Opening Number – La La Land

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  1. Holland March – The Nice Guys
  2. Mia – La La Land
  3. Bruce Wayne/Batman – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  4. T’Challa/Black Panther – Captain America: Civil War
  5. Darth Vader – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Most Anticipated Films of 2017Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 3.15.36 AM.png

  1. Baby Driver
  2. Untitled PTA Fashion Movie
  3. Logan
  4. Under the Silver Lake
  5. Blade Runner 2049

2016: A Tribute

‘Gotham City Sirens’, ‘Deadshot’ and the Future of the DC Extended Universe

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Just today, Borys Kit over at the The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment will reunite director David Ayer and star Margot Robbie for the all-female DC villain film, Gotham City Sirens. Robbie will headline the film as well as serve as executive producer, while Ayer is back in the director’s chair. But what does this all mean?

For starters, this could be good thing that Ayer is back. Warner Bros. definitely heard the outcry from critics and fans for giving up his version of Suicide Squad for one created by a trailer company. And while they could have very easily dumped him and looked for someone else to helm this spinoff of a spinoff, Suicide Squad made the studio a ton of cash. Enough so that it’s one of the biggest superhero films of all time, almost surpassing Batman v Superman earlier this year. That, along with the fact that Warner Bros. likes to think of themselves as a “filmmaker-driven studio”, might show that Warner Bros. feels obligated to give Ayer another chance, given the success he gave them (and because they basically took his film from him).

But what does this mean for the DC Extended Universe, which is looking less and less like a coherent universe, but rather one based off reactionary choices? Again, WB isn’t in the wrong for reacting to the response for BvS (if you know me, I think the response that film got was severely underserved, but I digress). However, the way they are trying to “correct” themselves afterwards hasn’t done them any favors either. Suicide Squad was direct result of said “course-correcting”, and that ending up backfiring on them critically. Not only that, but Justice League and The Flash have both been affected as well, the latter even losing it’s second director as a result.

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Now, we have Patty Jenkins‘s Wonder Woman and James Wan‘s Aquaman which seem to be doing fine, but the future of the DCEU beyond those two is a bit cloudy. Like I said earlier, The Flash is having the most BTS issues (funny enough, given he’s appeared in more DC films than any of the other Justice League members at this point), which will most likely move from it’s 2018 date (DC has an untitled release set for July 27, 2018, which many assumed was for the film). And with the news of Warner Bros. trying to fast-track Gotham City Sirens, it seems like they’re eyeing a 2018 for this film, possibly even that July slot.

Personally, I don’t think (and hope) that Ayer and company will get placed in that July date. The last thing we need is to see Ayer get rushed for a deadline again (as he was for Suicide Squad). However, if they do want this spinoff out sooner than later, I think Warner Bros. will move Aquaman, which is looking to start production early this next year.

Let’s say The Flash vacates from it’s March slot. That leaves Aquaman as it’s only release that year, which will certainly not be the case. That also leaves Ben Affleck‘s The Batman, which could possibly take that March slot if Warner Bros. gets things going as fast as some cast members have been hinting at. However, Affleck doesn’t sound too sure about the film being ready to just yet, so WB might hold it off until he’s ready. It could be ready for that October slot if Aquaman moves, but I don’t see a film as high-profile as a Batman film landing in the middle of the fall school year. It has been said that Zack Snyder‘s Justice League has been pushed back in favor of getting The Batman released beforehand, but I think the former won’t be ready until 2020 (at least).

As I see it, The Flash and The Batman will be 2019 releases, while this fast-tracked Gotham City Sirens will be taking the October release that Aquaman has used as a placeholder. If that is the case, it was a smart move to reserve that early October slot in an age where conventional summer releases for big-blockbusters is fading away. WB will make Aquaman it’s summer film alone with Ocean’s 8 (another female ensemble), while reserving the empty month of October with it’s “risky” superhero film. It’d be a similar tactic to the one Disney used when releasing Guardians of the Galaxy at the tail-end of the summer season and being the main money-maker for the whole month.

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Again, this is all speculation at this point, but these “villain” films are clearly more of a priority (and easier to make) than their heavy-hitter DC characters. This is also cemented by the fact that WB also said a Deadshot film with Will Smith is currently in the works. It’s a more interesting sell (villains as leads) while also being bankable enough to work (Batman will most certainly be involved these films). It’s a smart business move, but for the collective “universe” their inclusions feel odd. On one hand, it helps DC feel different from Disney and Fox’s shared universes, but like many have said post BvS, it all feels very reactionary. At least this Gotham City Sirens film will have a great cast and (hopefully) more of Ayer’s vision.

The David Ayer-directed Gotham City Sirens will star and be executive produced by Margot Robbie and currently does not have release date, but like I said earlier, is being fast-tracked by Warner Bros.

‘Baywatch’ Looks Much Worse Than I Expected

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Seth Gordon‘s hard-R reboot of Baywatch was one that I was expecting to be a guilty pleasure of mine come next summer, due to the awesome cast and Gordon’s previous work (mainly Horrible Bosses). But if this trailer is any indication, that doesn’t look to be the case at all.

Here’s the new trailer from Paramount:

Where do I begin? Besides the fact that I didn’t laugh a single time during the whole trailer (although that last part was a bit humorous) it all just feels very lazy and half-assed. This also feels like the fifth time in three years I’ve seen Zac Efron play the same, douche-y character with a six-pack, and it’s getting stale real quick. And let’s not even talk about the horrid green-screen work on display here.

Granted, it’s Baywatch, so I shouldn’t be expecting much in the first place, but for a big, Memorial Day comedy with Dwayne Johnson headlining it, I should be more excited for it.

Baywatch will drop May 26th, 2017.

‘Doctor Strange’ Review

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Let me just start off by saying unlike all the other heroes who’ve gotten their own films in the MCU, I knew very little about Doctor Strange before going into it. All I knew was that he was way more mythical than the other characters we’ve seen so far and that he was kind of an asshole, and after seeing the film, I really only came out only gathering one of those things.

It’s clear that Marvel is shepherding Doctor Strange to become the next “Iron Man”, given they have similar character traits – or at least that’s what they’d want you to think. In fact, I felt like the film told us he was an asshole more than it actually showed us that. Don’t get me wrong, we see Strange be an ass to Rachel McAdams (in the most useless supporting role I’ve seen in quite some time, by the way), but that’s pretty much it the extent of it. He’s sort of an asshole before, out of the blue, he isn’t anymore.

When we do see Strange’s nasty ego come out, Benedict Cumberbatch nails it. But unlike what Jon Faverau did with the first Iron Man film and take his time to show us Tony progress from being a “bad” person into being a hero, Scott Derrickson is much more fixated on speeding by these small nuances in favor of the trippy action sequences. By trying to “wow” us instead of focusing on the story, we end up getting a (basic) origin story that doesn’t quite have a second act to show this transition in his character, as well as actually showing him train for these kick-ass fights. In fact, many times throughout it feels like learning about the main character was the least important aspect of the film.

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But, the film’s main selling point were the insane visuals – the only thing that saved Marvel’s ass when it came to marketing this film. The good news for Derrickson is that visuals are by far the best that we’ve ever seen in any MCU movie and I love how inventive the action scenes turned out to be, especially with the whole idea of “opening your mind”. This ultimately allowed us as audiences members to not be sure how it all was going to turn out, which was fun in the moment. However, the two issues with that are A.) It’s a Marvel movie, so in the end it can only turn out a few different ways and B.) this lack of “rules” leaves much of the world building unexplained or confusing, forcing viewers just to accept it and move on.

In fact, a lot of the film is just accepting the plot progression and moving on from it, which, as someone who isn’t quite familiar with the character, was quite odd. I always felt like I was on the outside looking in with this film, as if it were “too nerdy” for me to fully understand. Tilda Swinton is a bald, ancient wizard who loves folding buildings on top of each other, a cape has a mind of it’s own and murders a man, and spells are used to access dark universes and to stop/reverse time. It’s all crazy nonsense that never really has any logic (or depth) behind it, but man, if it doesn’t look cool as shit on the big screen. And yet after all these strange elements added in (pun intended), it still felt so familiar in the end, from the generic villain to the goofy resolution to a world-threatening problem.

Doctor Strange is a surface-level blockbuster that many will accept and probably love because, visually, it’s fantastic and it’s a ton of fun. That being said, the film is rushed, void of any depth and lacks any set of rules or guidelines for the character or world it sets itself in, something I fear Marvel will have to work around when Strange is introduced to other characters in this cinematic universe (which seems to be sooner than later). It’s undeniably entertaining, but as an introduction to the character, it really could have been better.

2.5/5

(-1/2 star for that horrendous Beyonce gag)

New Trailer For Extended Cut of ‘Suicide Squad’ Has Been Released

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A new (and presumably leaked) trailer for the Extended Cut of Suicide Squad has been released and, like every other time a new bit of marketing comes up, it upsets me that some of these scenes didn’t actually make it into the final cut.

Here’s the new trailer below.

I was a fan of the film, it just wasn’t the dark and twisted film we all expected and were promised early on. Many scenes were taken out due to the backlash Warner Bros. received for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice  being “too dark” (bad mistake). Because of this, many of Jared Leto‘s scenes were cut from the theatrical version, some of which showed a more abusive relationship between his character and Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn. This pisses me off.

If there’s anything that bugged me about the story (besides the editing), it was that Harley Quinn, who seemed like the main headliner along with Will Smith, had no real arc for her character. With the studio notes, they ended up turning a traditionally abusive relationship from the comics into an oddly likable one to appease to people who might be offended by it (another bad mistake). So hopefully this new cut, which is said to have about 11 more minutes of footage, puts some of that subplot back in the film, as it’s clear their portion of the film was severely chopped up. I also hope that, like the Ultimate Cut of BvS, some scenes are rearranged to flow better, but that’s for another time. Here’s to hoping this added footage actually works and gives us a better idea of what David Ayer initially wanted the film to be.

Suicide Squad is set to be released on Digital HD November 15th and then on Blu-Ray and DVD December 13th.

‘John Wick’ Co-Director David Leitch is The Frontrunner to Direct ‘Deadpool 2’

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Well, that was quick.

I posted a list of my potential picks for the directing gig just yesterday, but it seems like Ryan Reynolds and Fox already have an idea of who they want to helm Deadpool 2. Jeff Sneider over at Mashable got the news that John Wick co-director David Leitch is the current frontrunner for the job. And while that name might not sound familiar to you, the films he’s worked on before his directorial debut might ring a bell.

Besides currently developing The Coldest City, a spy thriller staring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy, Lietch has done stuntwork for films such as Blade and Fight Club. and recently has moved up to work as a second unit director on recent blockbusters such as The Wolverine and Captain America: Civil War. But he also has a personal relationship with Ryan Reynolds – he was the action coordinator on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where the two met and (clearly) had a good time working together. This previous working experience between the two is good news for everyone involved after the serious behind-the-scenes drama that went on between Reynolds and the first film’s director, Tim Miller. Hopefully this all works out, because this would be a good replacement.

Deadpool 2 doesn’t currently have a release date, but has been rumored to be track for a 2018 release.

Warner Bros. Is Still Trying to Convince Us ‘Sherlock Holmes 3’ is Happening

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Back when Robert Downey Jr. struck gold with the first Iron Man back in 2008, he also headlined another popular film, Sherlock Holmes. The film, along with it’s (superior) sequel were both critical and financial successes, but we never got a third film. Why? Well, Warner Bros. would like you to think it’s because they’re still trying to crack the script.

Per Variety, the studio, along with Downey Jr., have set up a writer’s room for the long-delayed sequel, just like Paramount did for their upcoming Transformers films. However, this case is a bit stranger, given it’s only for one film instead of a string of films like it is for Michael Bay‘s robot franchise. In a way, this is a smart move, because the writers they’ve brought on board are strong ones (Guardians of the Galaxy scribe Nicole Perlman, Baywatch scribe Justin Malen, Rogue One writer Gary Whitta, Tomb Raider screenwriter Geneva Dworet-Robertson and Snowden screenwriter Kieran Fitzgerald. That being said, that’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen.

Who knows, this move may be a smart one, where the collective group come up with a rock-solid script instead of having the film go through multiple rewrites from these writers, but without each others’ input on where they want to take the story. Either way, I’m still in awe that this film is still a thing because, if it does indeed get going beyond pre-production process, it won’t be released until at least 2018, a staggering seven years after the previous installment. I get that this project is has been important to the company for years and they’ve been patiently waiting for Downey Jr. to free his schedule after all the Marvel films he’s had lined up, but will people still be interested (or remember) this reboot series?

Time will tell, but until then, Sherlock Holmes 3 does not currently have a release date.

Is A $75 Million U.S. Opening Weekend Good Enough For ‘Fantastic Beasts’?

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It might just be me, but I don’t think there’s that much hype surrounding this new cinematic addition to J.K. Rowling‘s wizarding world. And if the early tracking for the prequel/spinoff prove anything, I might not be alone in that assessment. Granted, that’s still a solid opening weekend (it’s similar to the high end of Dr. Strange‘s tracking numbers), but for a film associated with the Harry Potter franchise, it’s definitely on the low end of expectations.

So why do I find these early numbers for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to be disappointing? I think for me it’s the fact that going into the year, this film was easily one of my most anticipated (as it was for many others). But now coming into the homestretch, it seems like no one, myself included, really cares about it. The trailers I’ve seen (full of unfinished CGI) have done nothing for me and are somewhat bland. Not only that, but the fact that David Yates, arguably the strongest filmmaker the franchise has seen, is at helm and I still feel unsure about this installment is quite concerning. As someone who grew up with the Harry Potter movies, I really should be looking forward to this one more than I am.

I’m not sure if it’s just Warner Bros. lack of marketing or just a sub-par product in general, but Fantastic Beasts just doesn’t seem like a movie that will latch onto audiences like the other films in this franchise did. The fact that Warner Bros. had to re-release the Harry Potter films in theaters to generate buzz for this film is also a telling sign that they aren’t so sure about the future prospects of this spinoff series (despite already announcing four more films). That being said, seeing The Goblet of Fire and The Deathly Hallows back on the big screen again was a treat, so there’s that.

But, if you look at it from the standpoint that it really isn’t a Harry Potter film but instead an untested fantasy property with actors that aren’t exactly A-listers, that opening weekend number does look solid. It’s just the fact that many people, including WB, won’t be looking at it that way and truth be told, the marketing for the film hasn’t been working at all. So unless the film turns out great (which I really hope it does), expect this to be the lowest grossing film in the series, very much so if adjusting the others for inflation. Again, not necessarily a bad number to start with, but sometimes expectations can be a bitch.

Also, here’s the new IMAX poster for the film below.normal_fb-imax-poster.jpg

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to be released on November 18th.

‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ Gets A Second Trailer

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Just a few weeks ago, Sony’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk was an Oscar frontrunner, with awards-friendly director Ang Lee (Life of Pi) at helm and the fact that it was filmed at an insane and groundbreaking 120 frames per second. That all changed when it closed out the New York Film Festival with mixed to negative reactions, many of which commented on the film’s look, which they said was far too distracting and fake-looking to actually work cinematically.

However, there were a few that did seem to enjoy it and the technical achievements it makes, and Sony seems to be banking on that to sell the film. The trailer (which really doesn’t tell you what the film is about) is full of positive reactions from what seems like a handful of critics. But if you look closely, you’ll see a lot of the quotes are from the same few critics. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you do have to admire Sony and their team for trying to still push this film as an awards contender to the general public.

Here’s the new trailer below:

Sadly at this point, it seems like this one will end up vying for the technical awards rather than the big ones that they might have been hoping for originally. That being said, I’m still looking forward to it, if only to see what all the fuss is about with filming it at a (much) higher frame rate than usual.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk opens in theaters November 11th.

‘God Particle’ Is Apparently A Part of the ‘Cloverfield’ Universe

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Per The Wrap, the upcoming sci-fi space movie from producer J.J. Abrams God Particle is now said to be a part of the Cloverfield universe, which I guess is now a thing. Many people had assumed this would be the case, but I find this news to be somewhat disappointing. With a cast that includes David OyelowoElizabeth DebickiDaniel Brühl and Chris O’Dowd, I’m sure we’ll be getting an intriguing film, but I’d be lying if I said the Cloverfield connections” in 10 Cloverfield Lane (if you can even call them that) severely harmed the last act in an otherwise great film.

It’s also said that Paramount and Abrams want to release a film in this newly created franchise every year which, again, doesn’t sound all that great to me. I get that these films would otherwise be hard to market and release because they wouldn’t strictly be franchise films (as sad as that sounds), but I just hope the tie-ins to these films, especially God Particle, aren’t as half-assed as they were in 10 Cloverfield Lane.

God Particle is due to be released on February 24th, 2017.