MY THURSDAY RECOMMEND
A great movie brought to you by the youngest filmmaker to win an Oscar for 'Best Director' at 32 with La La Land.
While 'La La Land' was his second feature, his first in 'Whiplash' went on to garner Best Film Editing and Best Supporting Actor at the 2014 Academy Awards for J. K. Simmons. 😒 Overachiever.
This is one of those semi-obscure pictures that a considerable number of people have seen... And an equally considerable haven't. If you belong to the latter, you want to reverse that fortune right quick.
Movie Title: WHIPLASH
Premise: Andrew Neyman is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory. Plagued by the failed writing career of his father, Andrew hungers day and night to become one of the greats. Terence Fletcher, an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, forever changing the young man's life. Andrew's passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability and his sanity.
Year of Release: 2014
Country of Origin: United States
Written & Directed By: Damien Chazelle
Director of Photography: Sharone Meir
Cast: Miles Teller, J. K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Need help finding it? Hit me in the comments section. Peace.
'THE NUN' TEASER-TRAILER
Vatican officials send a priest and a novitiate to investigate the suicide of a young nun in Romania. They soon find themselves in a fight for their lives when they encounter a demonic force that takes the shape of a nun.
Another attempt at a universe for The Conjuring Franchise. Kevin Feige, see what you have caused. Everyone wants a universe now. Even Jenifah.
If I'm to understand this teaser, 'The Nun' predates even 'Annabelle,' that in turn predated 'The Conjuring,' which singlehandedly spawned both Annabelle and now The Nun. So basically, the child birthed the mother. We might burrow so far down this rabbit hole, we won't know which one came first anymore. The chicken or the egg?
I remember giving The Conjuring a go in broad daylight one time and ended up quaking in my boots afterwards. Akin to that malevolent spirit doll that fed off the energy of the living, I HUNGERED FOR MORE and sought out the prequel's offspring, much to my eventual disappointment and chagrin. The Conjuring 2, I found, was deeply underwhelming. Didn't have the same bite as the first one.
I unwittingly skipped Annabelle but saw Annabelle 2: Creation. Critics complained Annabelle shat the bed. But if that were true, then Creation must have shat the whole house because I was 'none' too impressed to say the least. I hate it when horror stories try so hard to scare that they forget to tell the story. Hopefully, that's not the case with The Nun.
It features, amongst its cast, Taissa Farmiga as lead - the younger sister to erstwhile Conjuring star, Vera Farmiga. Mighty striking resemblance there.
The Nun appears in theaters September 7. May it scare the Bejesus out of us. Amen.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR CROSSES $2 BILLION
Avengers: Infinity War has officially blown past the $2 billion mark in 48 days. This makes it the FOURTH PICTURE in movie history to join that exclusive club behind 'Avatar' ($2.788BN,) 'Titanic' ($2.187BN,) and 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' ($2.068BN.) Infinity War has raked in precisely $2,002.1BN and still holds the record of biggest domestic debut ever with $257.7 million.
It is argued that perhaps Infinity War wouldn't have achieved the milestone if its appointed competitors in 'Deadpool 2' and 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' hadn't underperformed at the Box Office, both stateside and internationally. The only other feature released in the orbit of the Marvel Behemoth that exceeded expectations was 'A Quiet Place,' which has hauled $324.5M globally, against a production budget of $20M
While Infinity War may be playing second fiddle to the $2 billion trinity, it opened to a record-shattering-$199M in China, considering the Middle Kingdom makes it a duty to protect its local features from Hollywood Releases.
On the international stage, Infinity War has gobbled up $366.2M in China, $94M in the UK, $92M in South Korea, $64M in Brazil and $59M in Mexico. Other territories include Australia ($46.3M), France ($45.3M), India ($43.6M), Germany ($43.4M), Russia ($34.4M), and $33.6M in Japan.
Should it topple The Force Awakens for third place, it will stand face-to-face with Avatar and Titanic, both of which are James Cameron movies. I'm not holding my breath that it will surpass those two. Avengers 4, I however strongly believe, will avenge it in that regard come 2019.
To those of us that LOVED THE HECK out of this movie, congratulations are in order lol. I might go celebrate with a fourth viewing of the film.
Guess Thanos doesn't only make it rain moon debris but chunks of change too.
This year also marks the Marvel Cinematic Universe's tenth anniversary and by summer's end, the franchise would have made $17 billion overall for Disney.
1. JARED LETO to reprise his role as The Joker as Warner Bros. officially greenlights the as-of-yet-untitled standalone feature for the DC villain. This will be the second Joker project Warner Bros is currently producing as it also has an origin story in the works with actor Joaquin Phoenix, to be excluded from the DCEU.
2. PENGUIN rumoured to be the villain of choice for the next Batman Movie to be helmed by Matt Reeves. Variety Reporter Justin Kroll who broke the news advised to take the information with a grain of salt as the DCEU is volatile with decision-making. Not to mention, one of the scripts for Birds of Prey which is heavily under development, features Penguin as its prime baddie as well.
3. JAMIE FOXX will star as Spawn in the coming reboot. “We are thrilled Jamie Foxx will be playing the title role in our movie adaptation of Spawn. He is an incredible actor and a huge fan of the Spawn Universe that Todd McFarlane created. With the depth of talent Jamie can commit to the role and Todd at the helm bringing the world of Spawn to life, we could not be more excited for this film.” Producer, Jason Blum of Blumhouse Pictures confirms in a statement.
Creator, Todd McFarlane who is also writing and directing, expressly mentions that the eponymous superhero will not speak in the entire film. Neither will his backstory be explored. “If you want to see something creepy and powerful where you go, just what the hell was that? I’m not going to explain how Spawn does what he does; he is just going to do it. We’ll eventually do some of the background if we make a trilogy, but that’s not this first movie. The first movie is just saying, do you believe? And if you believe then that’s good because I’m hoping to take you for a long ride with this franchise.” Do y'all believe?
This is Foxx's second foray into the comic-book movie world. The first was as Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Andrew Garfield.
MY TOP 10 MCU FILMS (IN ASCENDING ORDER) - Part 2
5. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
Well-crafted action sequences as the Russo Brothers won't to do. Charged with political messaging of systemic infiltration. Lacked about as much heart as its bland colour grading.
4. IRON MAN
Arguably the best superhero origin story to date. Documents Tony Stark's journey of building the Iron-Man suit with the most heart-filled, believable, and engaging panache; all the while evolving the character from a charming, selfish arms-dealer to a charming, noble superhero. That perhaps took a toll on it as it felt rushed toward the end with a forgettable villain in Obadiah Stane.
3. THE AVENGERS
I'll never forget what section of the theater I was sitting in as we, a horde of strangers, laughed and cheered together. A case in point for the communal experience the movie-going culture is. A groundbreaker of an ensemble piece and the first time I experienced how truly enjoyable going to the movies could be. While it wanted for substance, it also cleverly countered the villain problem by making Loki a parody of the generic alien invader that wants to rule Earth.
2. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
A remarkable improvement from The Winter Soldier by The Russo's. Not only tackles themes of grief, accountability and integrity, but forces you to take a side. Team Cap or Team Stark? Again, well-crafted action sequences that endear to us the newly-introduced Black Panther and Spider-Man. Drenched in heart as we witness in real-time Tony and Steve's friendship end when Tony realizes Steve's best mate, Bucky, murdered his parents in cold blood. Only flaw - Ineffectual villain. No way Baron Zemo could have orchestrated everything that led to the breakup of The Avengers, unless he was God.
1. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
A perfect marriage of 'the blockbuster' and a work of art. A few inconsistencies with Thanos but overall, taps into a wide gamut of human emotion from humour to sadness, excitement, anger (Star-Lord 😠) inner conflict, et al. An Oscar-worthy CBM alongside The Dark Knight and Logan. Cements Russo Brothers as geniuses IMO.
See comments for results on those who guessed my Top 5ive :)
'A GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB' TRAILER
Hacker Lisbeth Salander continues her cause of meting out brutal vengeance as she encounters a web of spies, cybercriminals and government corruption. Only this time, she is revisited by a figure from her past. A figure whom she failed.
Fede Alvarez directs this threequel to 'A Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' and as expected, the visuals are striking. Redolent of David Fincher who helmed the installment previous with Rooney Mara as lead. The original however saw Noomi Rapace embody the vengeful protagonist and now, we have Claire Foy of the Netflix hit series 'The Crown,' stepping into those leather digs.
This is all well and good except I just have one nagging question eating away at my brain like maggots.
Why that fly chick in all-red keep asking questions? Go back to the trailer to see what I mean. Is she like, The Riddler or something?
After they probably kill her, she'll still be asking, "Am I dead?" Then when the closing credits appear, she be like, "Is this the end?" I'm nitpicking but, it's kinda grinding my gears lol.
This adaptation is based off of David Langercrantz's authorial continuation of the late Steig Larsson's trilogy that birthed the property. It also stars Sverrirson Gudnassan, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant, Vicky Krieps, Mindhunter's Cameron Britton and MY BOY, Lakeith Stanfield! He's been appearing in the most peculiar movies lately. More power to him.
Girl in the Spider's Web drops 9th November. Got pleather?
Swipe through for full trailer.
'A STAR IS BORN' TRAILER
An older musician, Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper,) crosses paths with a struggling young artist named Ally (Lady Gaga) and decides to take her under his wing. It so happens, Jackson's instincts are right on the money. Alley's career begins to soar under his tutelage and their romance starts to suffer as Jackson grapples with his personal demons, especially making peace with the fact that his time in the limelight may be nearing its end.
Brief personal story here. One time during our Tinsel writing conference, a colleague of mine was watching the preview to 'La La Land' and suddenly began shedding tears. We heard his sniffling and asked, "Ahn ahn! You are crying because of La La Land?!" He sniffled again and replied, "... It's just so beautiful." 😅 That memory is what this trailer evokes for me. Every line delivery here damn near makes my HEART MELT 😭. Tissue please!
Clint Eastwood originally had his eye on the project as far back as 2011 and had lined up Beyonce as the female lead but it got stuck in development limbo until Bradley Cooper took the reins. Not only does Cooper star in this third iteration of the 1973 original, he directs for the first time and co-writes with Oscar winner Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Munich) and Will Fetters (The Best of Me.) The songs were also co-written by him and Gaga.
I'm so seeing this. Outside of Gaga being the main draw, I've seldom wondered what waning celebrity must be like for superstars. For years and years, you're heralded as a demi-god and then all the sudden, you're free-falling from grace and there's nothing you can do about it. A grim thought.
Happy for Lady Gaga by the way. I know she found immense success with music but, she says this is what she's always really wanted.
A Star is Born premiered to rave reviews at CinemaCon in April and releases during awards-friendly season in October. Hope Gaga brings Oscar Gold home from it.
Swipe through for full trailer.
MY FLASHBACK FRIDAY
I DON'T CARE!
Anyone comes at you with any threat at all, you come to me! I don't give a shit, if it's the Queen of England. You come to me. You tell ME! YOU TELL ME EVERYTHING!
That's what goddamn loyalty is! - Harvey Specter.
Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty! I can't get enough of it. That's what I look for the most in my friends.
If someone makes a joke at my expense and you laugh, you are suspect.
If I wear some dope ass kicks and you act like you ain't see it, you are suspect.
If I have a breakthrough and you can't congratulate, you are SO suspect.
There. For anyone who wants to be friends, those are my specs lol. It's the little things, man. It's the little things.
SUITS (S. 2, E. 8)
What I wouldn't give to be Harvey Specter for a day. The only man to ever make me consider using my law degrees and one of the coolest characters ever created.
The writing for the series eventually got sloppy and I would have kept suffering it for Gabriel Macht but then, my crush, Gina Torres bowed out. That was the last straw for me. Harvey is a powerhouse all his own but there is no 'Suits' without a Jessica Pearson.
And now Meghan Markle has also jumped ship to go be a duchess. It's poetic how this clip ends as Mike was probably watching her hurry off outside into Prince Harry's royal horse carriage.
It was fun while the great writing lasted though. Taught me you can get away with blocks of dialogue provided they're charged with wit and conflict, Aaron-Sorkin-style.
MY THURSDAY RECOMMEND
Watching this, I was reminded of that Drake song that goes, "I better find your lovin', I better find your heart. I better find your lovin', I better find your heart. I bet if I give all my love, then nothing's gonna tear us apart." Yes. That one.
This is Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah's second feature film and a couple of the flaws the narrative is mired in can be attributable to the Belgian Directing Duo's learning curve. Midway through, the movie tends to lull and feel somewhat unfocused but despite that, you care for the main characters as their fates culminate toward an explosive climax.
This is not the greatest love story ever told. Romeo & Juliet which inspires this, probably takes the cake for that. It is however, definitely also not in the same league as the schlocky ilk of ZeeWorld and Telemundo. It is pretty decent cinema steeped in street grit and hard-edged reality.
There's a scene where gang members pull a train on a defenseless girl and the offensiveness of that sort of reawakened me to how horrific such an experience must have been for women who've had to endure that ordeal. In a nutshell, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
That said, this is pretty decent cinema. One deserving of an audience, most especially if you're a sucker for tales of tumultuous romance.
Movie Title: BLACK
Premise: Two worlds collide when Mavela, a gang-affiliated teenage girl, falls for a boy from a rival gang. When their passions prove too powerful to resist, the young star-crossed lovers find themselves having to choose between gang loyalty and their love for one another.
Year of Release: 2015
Country of Origin: Belgium
Written & Directed by: Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah
Director of Photography: Robrecht Heyvaert
Cast: Martha Canga Antonio, Aboubakr Bensaihi
PS: Need help finding it, hit me up in the comments section. Peace.
MY TOP 10 MCU FILMS (IN ASCENDING ORDER)
10. DOCTOR STRANGE
Great introduction to the protagonist and his kick-ass life as a proficient neurosurgeon. Stakes aren't established early enough and as such, barely any fear of a looming threat, which in turn also weakens an already-monotonous villain.
9. BLACK PANTHER
Unfocused first act owing to an unnecessary antagonist in Ulysses Klaue. Since Klaue was Killmonger's ticket into Wakanda, there was no need for the museum, casino and interrogation scenes as Killmonger sould have killed Klaue from the beginning. Boring hero and cookie-cutter action sequences with obvious CGI that add to cartoonish climax. Scores high marks for its effect on the African esteem and portrayal of the culture. Strong villain as well.
8. SPIDERMAN: HOMECOMING
Best cinematic representation of the Spiderman Character, both with Tom Holland and the first act with Peter Parker still growing his confidence as a friendly neighborhood superhero. Spidey suffers no real blowback for his mistakes. His main objective is introduced late in story and the consequences of failure aren't clear or compelling enough.
7. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Brownie points for being out of left field. Iconic hero, infectious music and a satisfying ending. When Star-Lord suddenly began dancing in that opening scene, I knew I was in for a joyride. By that same token, GOTG also hasn't aged well as the humour that set it apart has now lost its luster due to an over-exposure to silliness in today's CBM's. Contains convoluted plotlines as it bears the burden of establishing galaxies whilst setting up Infinity War. Also suffers from villain problem.
A VERY well-executed origin story with likeable characters and unique humour, such as when Luis narrates potential heist jobs to Scott. Has emotional depth in Hank Pym's relationships with daughter (Hope) and a relatable villain who constantly seeks mentor's love and validation. A bit too PG for my taste lol. That Thomas-the-Train climax? Nah ahn.
Can't finish the list yet. No space left. So let's have some fun, guys. 5K for the 1st to guess My Top 5 correctly. Check in for winner and remaining list Sunday Morning.
NEW 'SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE' TRAILER
The animated feature introduces Brooklyn Teen, Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.
After being openly fired eighty-five percent through completion of 'Solo: A Star Wars Story', Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller reemerge as producers and writer of the Miles Morales comic-book adaptation. I'll bet they're sticking their tongues out right now at Kathleen Kennedy (LucasFilm President) over the Box Office fiasco that was the Han Solo spinoff.
The animation is helmed by Bob Persichetti with a stellar voice-over ensemble in Shameik Moore (Dope) as Miles Morales, Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Gwen, Mahershala Ali as Aaron Davis/Prowler, Jake Johnson as Peter Parker, Liev Schreiber as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin, Brian Tyree Henry as Jefferson Davis (Miles' Father,) Luna Lauren Velez as Rio Morales (Miles' Mother) and Lily Tomlin as Aunt May.
The Miles Morales character, while created by Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli and Axel Alonso, was inspired by the 2008 United States election, a few months before Barack Obama clinched the presidency.
For those unfamiliar, the character is a half-African-American, half-Puerto Rican teenager that first appeared in #4 of the 'Ultimate Fallout' comics of 2011 that saw the death of Peter Parker at the hands of the Green Goblin. Young Miles witnesses this and is moved to take on the mantle of Spider-Man.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse drops into theaters December 14. Be sure to swing by.