Category Archives: Entertainment

Headline | JOKER Wins the Golden Lion in Venice

The psychological thriller taking a deep dive into the backstory of the most dangerous DC Comics villain makes them all laugh with glee winning the most prestigious award at the Venice Film Festival

It would appear that Warner Bros. has found its golden goose, or rather a Golden Lion as Joker the Todd Phillips helmed feature based on the DC character receives the highest honor at the Venice Film Festival. The film has been getting a lot of attention since it was green lit by the studio, and drew such big name talent as Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role. The film examines the life of “failed comedian” Arthur Fleck who after experiencing a series of unfortunate incidents begins a dissent into madness.

The character has become a fan favorite ever since Jack Nicholson first portrayed him on the big screen for Tim Burton’s signature blockbuster Batman and then again when Heath Ledger embodied the villain so brilliantly in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. The Joker has become something of a fascinating exploration by writers and artists, and the villain’s origins have been suspect. Phillips showed interest in Joker and co-wrote the script for the film with Scott Silver. The prestige project is expected to sit outside of “standard” film canon.

Meaning fans that are anticipating Joaquin Phoenix’s Clown Prince might eventually go toe-to-toe against Robert Pattinson the latest Hollywood A-lister to inherit the cape and cowl of the Dark Knight Detective, may not be in the cards, but perhaps after the reception the film is getting that might change. The early word is that the film is living up to expectations, and that Phoenix may well be on his way to winning himself another coveted award. Similarly perhaps when the film is released in October the studio will be the last one laughing — all the way to the bank.

Here is the final trailer for film:

Joker directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix will be released nationwide on October 4, 2019.

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iFeature | MARVEL STUDIOS 10 Years… Not Just a Phase (Part 1)

In the beginning, 10 years ago, it would have hardly been imaginable that a cinematic universe was in the making, now Marvel Studios has redefined the “blockbuster” and it all began something invincible, incredible and mighty!

The summer movie landscape was always the playground for Hollywood’s big-budget bonanzas! The studios figured it was the most operative and lucrative of opportunities to roll-out the popcorn fair, and it gave them the funds to drop big money into their prestigious Fall Movie releases, which were often star-power draws and dramas ready for awards season. It all started to drastically change when the studios started to see big box office returns from genre-faves like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and Bryan Singer’s X-Men.

Warner Bros. always had itself a cash cow with the Batman franchise, but when the studio decided to reboot the franchise and handed it over to visionary filmmaker Christopher Nolan Batman Begins jumpstarted a whole new way to envision the superhero film. Marvel was starting to pick up on this as well, and although it saw an interesting swing handing Ang Lee Hulk in 2003, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films were really the path of least resistance for Marvel to take, especially if its plans to control how their properties got adapted to screen was to materialize.

When Kevin Feige the president of Marvel Studios inherited the reigns, Feige imagined something not unlike the popular pulp series books that Marvel Comics introduced and had been publishing for 80 years. He saw a universe of interconnected stories, stand-alone film franchise with characters that inhabited the same linear narrative and would potentially interact with one another, and when the time was right — the people, their stories and worlds would intersect into one — just like the superheroes that Stan Lee brought to life in the Marvel Universe of comics.

Marvel Studios IRON MAN

In 2008 Marvel Studios took its biggest gamble, and it paid off when it handed the reigns of Iron Man to director Jon Favreau. The largely untested filmmaker had certainly carved a niche for himself in comedies and starred in several of his own features, but Favreau had a very deep understanding of the technological wonder that is the character and was a natural fit to bring The Invincible Iron Man to the big screen. The story goes that Favreau called in several favors, including reaching out to Academy Award Winner Gwyneth Paltrow to appear in the film.

The director’s greatest advantage came from landing Robert Downey, Jr. to star as billionaire weapons manufacturer Tony Stark, who after getting kidnapped by terrorists who want him to build them super weapons instead constructs for himself a life-saving armor. Stark becomes the Iron Man and heralds in a new hit at the box office. Iron Man took in a gross of 585.2 million and inspires a new movement with the post-credits “stinger”. At the conclusion of his epic battle with Iron-Monger (Jeff Bridges), Stark is approached by a mysterious secret agent with a proposal.

Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury suggests to Stark that it’s the beginning of a New Age and that he’s recruiting a team to tackle the threats that will require some “avenging”. This stinger sent a seismic shift through Hollywood introducing the idea of “The Avengers Initiative” — and the Marvel Studio cinematic universe was born! Favreau and Feige had a plan, a bigger picture in mind, a narrative that would run a thread through several big-screen franchises, but lead to a larger scale adventure the realm of which audiences couldn’t imagine would ever make it to the big screen.

Marvel Studios THE INCREDIBLE HULK

Perhaps the unlikeliest follow-up to the success of Iron Man was the release of The Incredible Hulk especially given how recently the big Green Goliath had been adapted for the big screen. Ang Lee took a stab at the monster’s story five-years earlier with his near art house adaptation starring Eric Bana. Credits were not amused and that movies ending left a lot to be desired, but Marvel Studios plowed forward with a “reboot” with Louis Leterrier in the director’s chair and Edward Norton now filling the role of the gamma radiated Dr. Bruce Banner.

The film almost feels like a sequel to its predecessor, although it recasts all the major roles including Liv Tyler as Betty Ross and William Hurt as General Ross, who has made it his mission to hunt down the fugitive Banner who has proven most elusive. Banner has taken to moving all over the world in an endless and tireless quest to contain the beast within him; that proves precarious when Banner gets wind of a possible cure and resurfaces. Ross has also recruited the bloodthirsty Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) — who becomes an Abomination!

The film was received with mixed reviews, but still made a dent with a take of 263.4 million in box-office; not Iron Man numbers but still proving lucrative by studio expectations. The film, in fact, did exactly perform as anticipated and served to set the ball rolling. The inclusion of a particularly important moment, at the end of the flick established Tony Stark (Downey, Jr.) in this world with an interest in Banner’s extra angry alter ego. This may not have set well with the movie’s star. It had been reported that Edward Norton clashed often with the film’s director and producers.

Norton had his own ideas about how the story should have progressed and was very vocal about his dissatisfaction with the final edit. The actor had been approached about continuing with the role, and it was also rumored that Robert Downey, Jr. was brought in to persuade the actor to stay on with the studio. It appeared that Marvel Studios would have other plans and the next time that the Hulk would appear on screen he would be embodied by a new actor that would make his mark and a smashing addition to the ensemble.

Marvel Studios Iron Man (2008) directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey, Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital Download.

Marvel Studios The Incredible Hulk (2008) directed by Louis Letterrier and starring Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth and William hurt is available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital Download.

ICYMI | SONY Pulls SPIDER-MAN Out of the MCU

Sony and Disney can’t come to an agreement! Keeping Spider-Man far from home and out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at least for the immediate future! 

Oh what a tangled web indeed! After years of back and forth, Sony and Disney had finally come to an agreement that allowed the studio to share custody of one of Marvel Studios biggest brands Spider-Man. After a series of very successful box office hits in the early 2000s starring Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst directed by Sam Raimi, Sony sat comfortably with its winning piece of the Marvel Comic icon grabbing big-ticket sales and breaking records — before the summer movie landscape would appear littered with the competition.

It wasn’t long before the franchise would suffer from fatigue and with an underwhelming performance with its third installment, Sony found itself in the peculiar predicament as Marvel Studios started spinning out its “Expanded Cinematic Universe” with hit after hit starting with 2008’s Iron Man and followed by Thor and Captain America. Marvel waited patiently for the ownership rights of its titular web-slinger to drop our of Sony’s hands, especially after the critically panned Spider-Man 3. In an effort to stay on top Sony went to work on a “reboot”!

The 2012 effort The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield didn’t hit the mark as had been anticipated, and with it running counter to the eventual blockbuster Avengers fans began to speculate whether Peter Parker’s friendly neighbor superhero would ever find himself in the same league as his Marvel Studio headliners. The answer to that question would have to wait, and in 2016 Disney which had since purchased the Marvel brand and all of its properties (including the film projects) introduced Spider-Man into the MCU in Captain America: Civil War.

SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME

Homecoming

By the 2017 release of Spider-Man: Homecoming which spotlighted Tom Holland the latest actor to wear the fancy red and blue suit, the latest reboot joyfully indoctrinated Peter Parker into the MCU with none other than Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) as the aspiring hero’s benefactor. The film was also released as a studio cooperative between Sony and Disney, granting Sony co-partnership in the distribution of the feature film, while giving Disney ownership over the placement of the character throughout its franchises. Spider-Man would play a pivotal role in Avengers: Infinity War.

And although it appeared that the web-slingers fate was sealed at the conclusion of that epic battle, the follow-up feature Avengers: Endgame reconstituted Spider-Man just in time for the hero to headline his next big theatrical outing. Spider-Man: Far From Home the fourth film to feature Holland as Spider-Man also proved box office gold for Sony giving it the largest opening for the franchise, with a worldwide hovering over 1 billion, making it the studio’s biggest grossing release ever. With that record set, it’s curious that the studios would through a kink into the works.

This week Sony and Disney announced that effective immediately, Spider-Man would be exiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe! That doesn’t mean the future of the character is hanging from a thin web strand, it means that Spider-Man will not be part of the shared expanded cinematic universe that Disney reigns over, and going forward Spidey can’t Marvel Team-Up with any captain or doctor he may have saddled up to recently, and as for that special relationship between Peter and Tony Stark — yeah, that’s gone too!

Spider-Man (Tom Holland) takes MJ (Zendaya) out for a spin in New York City at the conclusion of “Spider-Man: Far From Home”.

A Multiverse of Possibilities

[Warning: SPOILER ALERT] Could the filmmakers have foreseen this descent into disillusion? Given the subplot context of the Marvel Multiplex in Spider-Man: Far From Home with the villainous Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) duping Peter and SHIELD into thinking he was the last survivor from an alternate-earth in the multiverse and the success of the animated full-length feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse could Sony had suspected that its partnership with Disney would become tarnished so quickly?

Inevitably this opens the way for Tom Holland (who apparently is locked in for 2 more pictures as is the franchise’s current director Jon Watts) to interact with Venom and expand on the much talked about inhabitants of the Spider-Verse. A film focused on the femme fatale Black Cat and one-time love interest of the web-slinger has been brandished about, so has another feature meant to capitalize on the hero’s rogues gallery. For a hot minute Sony had everyone waiting with bated breath on the arrival of The Sinister Six — it never happened.

With so many ideas to mine, perhaps it isn’t such a bad idea after all. With out the distraction of having to find a way to place mild-mannered high school student, turned Avenger, Peter Parker into a more elaborate storyline to service a grander theme, the future of the Spider-Man features could be far more incapsulated and center on the hero’s own trials and tribulations. With more than 6 decades of comic book stories to draw inspiration from, it could turn out far more profitable for Sony to hold onto the character.

Fans biggest fear though may be that away from the creative lead of Marvel’s chief creative mind Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal, the Spider-Man brand will suffer without the proper amount of coddling and support from the bigger cast of characters. Certainly the upcoming slate of films on Marvel’s slate may not have to worry about it; without a “next” Avengers on the horizon, it may not even matter. In the meantime we’ll have to accept that Spidey may inevitably remain far from home and has reached his own endgame.

Spider-Man: Far From Home has gone on to become the top-grossing film in Sony Pictures entire history, taking its predecessor Skyfall down a notch with a worldwide gross of $1.1 billion.

InPrimetime | The Countdown to “CRISIS” has Begun!

The most anticipated primetime event of the season gets an airdate! The countdown to The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” 5-part crossover is imminent!

Some worlds will live and some worlds will die, but one thing is certain… The CW’s primetime landscape may never be the same after this season’s widely anticipated crossover event “Crisis on Infinite Earths” hits the DC television universe. Teased at the end of last season’s “Elseworlds” 3-part event, which set-up an impending threat to the extended DC primetime universe will continue with an endgame that will shake the foundation of the multiverse. The result will undoubtedly be felt across all The CW’s superhero shows.

The 5-part epic was the cornerstone of the network’s introduction at this year’s Upfront, the annual media gathering where the competing network’s reveal to advertisers what they have on the slate for the coming season. “Crisis on Infinite Earths” does not aim to disappoint and will straddle the winter hiatus with five interconnecting episodes across the primetime series, not excluding Black Lightning starring Cress Williams which has been reported will play a role in the crossover event as well.

The event may also signal the end of the “Arrowverse” as the series enters into its final and Eighth Season with a 10-episode run, as something new is promising will emerge after “Crisis” concludes. The Flash show runner Eric Wallace has suggested that especially for Central City’s Scarlet Speedster, the season will be divided into two-acts with the second half dealing with the post-effects of “Crisis”. Fans are certainly hopeful that in the fallout, series like Supergirl which exists on a parallel earth (Earth-38) will be integrated into a Prime-Earth.

Save the Dates

The television series and “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event will be impacted by the winer hiatus, pitting the second half of the story arc to air five weeks later and concluding in 2020; that is presumably when Arrow will be entering into its final episode and the team show DC’s Legend of Tomorrow returns for its Fifth Season. It’s likely that is also when returning series Black Lightning will be wrapping up its Third Season (making way in its time slot for Legends to move in). Here’s a breakdown of the airdates for The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event:

  • Supergirl “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Pt. 1, Sunday, December 8, 2019 8pm.
  • Batwoman  “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Pt. 2, Monday, December 9, 8pm.
  • The Flash “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Pt. 3, Tuesday, December 10, 8pm.

Then, five weeks later…

  • Arrow ”Crisis on Infinite Earths” Pt. 4′, Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 8pm.
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Pt. 5′, Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 9pm.

Starting Line-Up

Though the guest starring list of actors to appear in “Crisis on Infinite Earths” continues to grow, it was recently announced that Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne in the critically acclaimed series Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond will be appearing as the Bruce Wayne of the Batman Beyond era, leading many to speculate of the costumed appearance of Terry McGinnis’ futuristic Dark Knight. Among other famous faces said to be partaking of the crossover spectacle are Lynda Carter said to be reprising her role as Wonder Woman, and Burt Ward who played Robin in the 60s television iteration of Batman.

Tom Welling who starred as a young Clark Kent in 10 Seasons of Smallville is also suggested will be appearing as his earth’s Superman. In fact there will be at least three Supermen appearing during the crossover. DC’s Legends headliner Brandon Routh who inherited the cape and debuted in Superman Returns famously revealed at SDCC this year that he’ll also reprise his role as the Man of Steel, with Tyler Hoechlin returning as the Superman of Earth-38, Supergirl’s (Melissa Benoist) Kryptonian cousin. Jon Cryer is also on board as Lex Luthor.

LaMonica Garrett will also be pulling double duty! He’ll be playing the man at the center of all the machinations The Monitor and his evil twin The Anti-Monitor. Another CW series favorite that will be returning for the crossover event is John Wesley Shipp; fans are hopeful he’ll be returning as The Flash of Earth-90, the Barry Allen that Shipp played in his 1990 CBS series, which is also soon hitting a milestone. Shipp’s landmark series will be turning 30! It is also speculated that the actor will be appearing this season on The Flash as The Golden Age, Jay Garrick.

Stay tuned as more is revealed of this season’s most climatic television event!

Trailer | The CW’s THE FLASH Season 6 Sizzle Reel

Season 6 of the hit action series will introduce a new villain determined to undo everything Barry Allen and his team of heroes have worked so hard towards to building — and this year, there will be blood!

With all the “greatest hits” coming out of last weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con fiasco, all eyes were tuned into The CW shows and especially what’s in store for everyone’s favorite heroes considering that this season’s annual crossover spectacular will be something of a “crisis” level event. Among the anticipation to glean any new developments on the upcoming season of The Flash it appears the Scarlet Speedster and his fellow adventurers will be once again caught in the crosshairs of a deadly adversary.

Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton) are both still recovering from the loss of their time-displaced daughter, Nora who was much of the focal point of Season 5. Though she’s now gone, Nora (portrayed by Jessica Parker Kennedy) is far from forgotten, in fact Eric Wallace who is now assuming the role of showrunner in Season 6, has suggested that the new season will begin moments after Nora’s departure, and the heartache losing her will bring to Barry and Iris. In the midst of this, a new threat will be taking shape in the form of Sendhl Ramamurthy.

Rogue’s Gallery Grows

In Season 6 of The Flash the writing team will be introducing a new adversary in the form of Dr. Ramsey Rosso, who is the alter-ego of the very macabre menace known as Bloodwork. The villain plagued the Scarlet Speedster in a recent issue of the comic The Flash #30 and proved a relentless foe. With Ramamurthy stepping into the role, especially after his tenure on the NBC series Heroes the expectation said Wallace is to infuse the series with some “mystery and thriller elements” this season.

In the new season’s Sizzle Reel Trailer unveiled at SDCC, it certainly looks like Ramamurthy’s Dr. Rosso will be raising the stakes, certainly in the first arc of the season. Wallace has also suggested that this year, especially because of the consequences of events leading into (and out of) the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” 5-part midseason crossover, the season will be divided into shorter arcs, giving the show a couple of different directions to explore rather than sticking to the formulaic “big bad” theory that would dominate the entire series arc for the year.

The Flash premieres this fall in Oct on The CW Network

iReview | KYLIE MINOGUE Step Back In Time – The Definitive Collection

Delivering “Pop Precision” since 1987 it’s impossible to imagine a world without the musical contributions of the Pop Goddess of Love KYLIE MINOGUE back with a definitive Greatest Hits collection!

You just can’t get her out of your head. Since gate crashing her way into the popular vernacular with her cover of the 1962 classic “The Loco-Motion” (originally performed by Little Eva) Kylie Minogue profoundly made her claim on the dance music scene and commanded the charts, setting the tone for songs of the summer in 1987. The Melbourne born, soap opera actress established herself a triple threat, as a singer, songwriter and actress that would emerge as an iconic performer and international phenom.

Though her early works outside of “The Loco-Motion” and “I Should Be So Lucky” didn’t made the impact that her music label may have hoped, it was inevitable that Kylie Minogue would eventually set the trend of the Euro-Dance Pop sound, aligning herself with Matt Aitken, Mike Stock and Pete Waterman, Minogue would go on to garner success and international fame, comparatively achieving the status of another “gay icon” Madonna; the two have often been compared to one another and even shown much reverence and affection for one another.

It wasn’t until 2001 that Minogue finally cracked the glass ceiling and crossed the pond, synching her place as a stateside pop-star with her hit single “I Can’t Get You Out of My Head” from her eighth full-length studio album Fever. Since then, Kylie Minogue has enjoyed mainstream success that has teamed her up with Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams and Stuart Price (who co-produced Madonna’s hit Confessions on a Dance Floor) and crossed genres of appeal.

Feeling really nostalgic? The album is also available in vinyl.

Definitive Collection

Minogue is no stranger to the “Greatest Hits” format. Over the course of her three decades in the music industry, she’s released several compilations but her latest Step Back in Time – The Definitive Collection is determined to illustrate just how significant an influence Minogue has made with her music. Each of the 42 singles, including the brand new “New York City” elaborates on the artist’s evolution as a performer and influencer of the myriad dimensions of the dance\pop music genre.

From her most distinct early hits, to career-defining confections like “Shocked” and “Confide in Me” before capitalizing on her newfound popularity, Minogue continued to express herself with a sound all on her own as experienced on the mainstays “Spinning Around” and “Love at First Sight”. Her more contemporary chart toppers including “Timebomb” and “Get Outta My Way” also sit comfortably amid the rock-infused “2 Hearts” and hip-hop/funk of “Red Blooded Woman”. The only obvious omissions are tracks from Minogue’s 2014 album Kiss Me Once.

The album was the only release crafted on her short-lived collaboration with Warner Music Group, a multi-million deal that didn’t live up to the expectations of the label. Minogue was released early from that deal and returned to form on her latest, 2018’s concept piece Golden which featured a contemporary country-inspired smoothness. “Dancing” and “Stop Me From Falling” are more than suitable companions for her latest and newest “New York City”. The valentine to her fans in the thriving metropolis perfectly completes this definitive collection.

The only new single is the dance hit homage to “New York City”.

Kylie Minogue | Step Back in Time – The Definitive Collection available in CD, Digital Download, and various Special Edition formats including Vinyl and Cassette on her website.