Category Archives: Movies

First Look | Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as BLACK ADAM

Lightning strikes from the heavens and after much anticipation, the first images of action star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson reveal how he will look like the DC anti-hero BLACK ADAM!

Thunder rumbles in the distant heavens. The DC cinematic universe has been teasing the introduction of this particular character from their pantheon for some time, and now the first illustrated image of what action-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will look like as the anti-hero Black Adam a feature film of which is set to premiere in theaters December 2021. It’ll be paving the way for what is certain to be an inevitable showdown between two of DC Comics’ most powerful beings!

After the success of the recent action-comedy Shazam! which brought the publishing giant’s Most Powerful Mortal to the big screen, rumors had started to circulate that Johnson would be brought into the franchise as the hero’s greatest adversary. It is now being reported that Black Adam starring Johnson will go begin production summer of 2020, and the production has released the first images of Johnson as the title character in artwork from BossLogic and DC legend Jim Lee. Johnson excitedly shared the image across social networking.

Johnson has been expressing his interest in bringing this titan to the bog screen for some time, and especially not shying away from his enthusiasm about joining the DC Cinematic Universe. The film’s producer Hiram Garcia has also revealed the depths of which they intend to dive into, by realizing Black Adam’s origins in an entirely new and textured fashion. The character was introduced as a villainous foil to Shazam!, but has become entirely something else in contemporary publications.

Dwayne Johnson as he might appear as the titular anti-hero starring in “Black Adam” set for release 2021.

How the character will evolve into a film will be very carefully watched, given the critical reception most DC properties (outside of Batman) experience in the cinematic market. Successes are few and far between for Warner Bros the studio that owns the properties, unlike the competitor’s record, which is, well, marvelous! Recent releases beginning with Wonder Woman, followed by Aquaman and the recent critical and lucrative success of Todd Phillips Joker means that perhaps lightning may strike again — for Black Adam.

Black Adam starring Dwayne Johnson is scheduled for theatrical release December 2021

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ICYMI | “Twilight Saga” Star is Confirmed as Dark Knight

Robert Pattison has been cast to assume the long coveted role of the Caped Crusader in Matt Reeves upcoming The Batman which has also been confirmed as a new trilogy!

After much speculation and commentary from the peanut gallery, it has been officially revealed that actor Robert Pattison best known for his roles in the Harry Potter movies and his lead turn in “The Twilight Saga” will be assuming the cape and cowl of Gotham City’s defender in director Matt Reeves upcoming The Batman which is also confirmed will be a trilogy of films. The director was originally set to work on this feature with Ben Affleck who had been the most recent actor to step into the famous kevlar armor.

Photo by Rob Latour/Deadline/REX/Shutterstock (9188809n)
Matt Reeves
20th Century Fox ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ panel, THE CONTENDERS 2017, Los Angeles, USA – 04 Nov 2017

Reeves has been tooling away on the script for his interpretation of the Dark Knight’s mythology which he has promised will focus more on the character’s skills as a detective and an emerging vigilante, fighting crime in Gotham City. Affleck had expressed an interest in working with Reeves on this project, but the actor and the studio keep coming to odds with one another on creative and scheduling of the feature. Affleck has since let his contract lapse with the studio, and Warner Bros. decided that perhaps the tone for Reeves’ story would benefit from a fresher look.

The decision came down to casting the perfect new Bruce Wayne. The film will follow the earlier career of The Batman, with all the bruises, mistakes and mishaps that will undoubtedly come from become the Dark Knight. Pattison’s name had been on a short list of actors considered for the part, and now it can be confirmed that the young leading man will indeed be moving into the manor and inhabiting the Batcave. Pattison had been screen testing for the part, and one would assume that would have included the actor stepping into the suit and cape.

He must have impressed the lot of executives at Warner Bros. which also announced that Reeves’ films would be a trilogy and Pattison would be its star. Another actor that had been batted around to assume the role was Nicolas Hoult who will soon be appearing in X-Men: Dark Phoenix reprising his role as Henry McCoy, The Beast. Now any assumptions that Pattison’s Batman will be connected to Affleck’s hero who moved on to join the Justice League, can be put to rest. The studio confirmed this is a fresh new take, not restrained to previously established continuity.

Affleck portrayed billionaire Bruce Wayne aka Batman for the recent series of “extended cinematic universe” feature films which culminated in the team movie Justice League. Although the film had a modest box office take-home, the reception among fans was less than stellar. Most agreed that the actor had done a wonderful job inheriting the role for director Zack Snyder’s darker and moodier take on the character, but Warner Bros. perhaps after losing Henry Cavill who has starred opposite Affleck as Superman, decided it was time for a “reboot”.

With the exception of Gal Gadot and Jason Mamoa, who will both reprise their roles in upcoming sequels of Wonder Woman and Aquaman the remaining members of the Justice League have also allowed their contracts to lax which frees the studio to recast the roles of Cyborg and The Flash for any future big screen films. Certainly the announcement of Pattison’s casting and Reeves’ new trilogy will take center stage at this year’s upcoming San Diego Comic-Con event. Fans will be anxiously awaiting the formal introduction of the pair at the infamous venue stages.

The Batman starring Robert Pattison and directed by Matt Reeves will be the first in a new trilogy of films based on the DC character and is set to hit theaters on June 25, 2021.

iReview | GODZILLA: King of the Monsters

The monster movie is alive and well and takes a bite out of the Summer Blockbuster season as the latest installment in the Godzilla franchise proves it’s a heavy weight!

It’s apparent that Hollywood is taking baby steps to keep audiences engaged when it comes to its slate of summer movies. This is the time of year when all the studios steadily pursue their most viable franchises to perpetuate big-ticket sales, bring folks in from the maddening heat and fill air-conditioned multiplexes. With home theater system and the wide-screen 4K revolution becoming more and more common, it’s becoming difficult to keep pace with the comfort of one’s own living room. If you’re going to sub the couch for a concession stand, that movie better be big, and I mean really really big!

You can’t get much bigger than Godzilla! Since the classic Japanese movie monster’s reintroduction in the 2014 “reboot” that established the atomically charged giant lizard as a bonafide franchise cash cow. Warner Bros. immediately went to work to craft a cinematic universe that would also encompass another movie monster legend: King Kong. That was achieved with 2017s Kong: Skull Island which firmly puts the two creatures in the crosshairs of the scientific organization called Monarch. The group’s purpose is to protect the rising “Titans” and find a means in which to establish a balance between man and beast.

In Godzilla: King of the Monsters the arrival of the creatures, especially the coming of Godzilla is perceived as the means by which the planet seeks to replenish itself again the scourge of man who has devastated Earth’s resources through centuries of abuse, and war and overpopulation. Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) has developed a means to communicate with the monsters. When the device proves a success, first tested on a giant caterpillar-like creature, it draws the attention of an ecoterrorist group that are intent on releasing all the “Titans”, and one in particular — a three-headed dragon that’s been trapped in ice!

King of the Monsters

The team at Monarch become concerned when Emma along with her daughter Madison (Stranger Things Millie Bobby Brown) are abducted by the terrorist group. Their use of the device that speaks to the monsters has made them restless, particular Godzilla, and when they awaken Ghidorah, freeing the dragon from the ice — all hell breaks loose! Director Michael Dougherty has his work cut out for him, attempting to maintain a level amount of narrative amidst a canvas that is only interested in watching big monsters go at one another, all the while decimating major cities one after another.

As far as blockbusters go, this illustrates in spades what audiences have come to expect about the summer theatrical experience. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is loud, bombastic and visually spectacular. It’s exactly what the title suggests: a disaster movie of titanic proportions. Farmiga isn’t the only big star floating within the devastation. Kyle Chandler plays her husband and Bradley Whitford is another agent of Monarch. Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins reprise their roles from Godzilla confirming the context that this is a proper sequel and headed into “extended cinematic universe” territory.

Purest will appreciate how much the monsters resemble their original incarnations, but through the magic of CGI the technology has moved so quickly and steadily, that these behemoths are far more threatening than any of their previous big screens looks. Be warned that the film is loud — it won’t win any awards for sound design, especially because everything feels like it was EQ’d to shock and awe the audience to the core, and that may be the only way to indulge in a feature of these seismic proportions. The king has arrived and the summer movie blockbuster has just gone nuclear. Godzilla is leaving a mark and taking a bite out of the box office bank!

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is now playing in theaters, directed by Michael Dougherty and starring Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, and Millie Bobby Brown | Rated PG-13 | Warner Bros. Pictures

iReview | ALIEN 40th Anniversary in 4K Ultra HD

Ridley Scott’s original masterpiece gets a 4K overhaul in this special 40th Anniversary edition that is certain to please fans of the sci-fi franchise that proved in space…no one can hear you scream.

While the world’s fandom reeled from the advent success of George Lucas’ Star Wars space opera, director Ridley Scott was far more focused on taking us from a galaxy far, far away into the deeper and darker realms of the unexplored regions of the galaxy. In the newly minted Alien 40the Anniversary reissue, the sci-fi horror classic gets a proper redux now presented in 4K Ultra HD. With 4K resolution Alien appears more vibrant, sharper and more lifelike — which is as terrifying as you can imagine!

Ridley Scott promised that in space “no one can hear you scream” and undoubtedly Alien remains the most terrifying of the franchise. The film released in theaters in 1979 turned Sigourney Weaver into a star and would inspire a series of three follow-ups featuring her heroic character at the center of a dangerous mission to repel the alien xenomorph, whose origins were further explored Ridley’s two prequel chapters Prometheus and the more recent Alien: Covenant also available in 4K Ultra HD.

4K Up-Rez

With 4K presentation becoming the regular means by which home viewing is enjoyed, films like Alien which is four decades old appear to settle in nicely alongside their contemporary counterparts. Ridley Scott has directed two features in the last decade that serve as prequels to his 1979 feature, and even went back and released a 2003 Director’s Cut of the film, but the resolution in home video offerings has never been closer to the theatrical until now. The high-dynamic range offered from 4K Ultra HD takes Alien to an entirely new level.

The detail is astounding which reinforces the idea that Blu-ray HD presentation, although the most mainstream, is still somewhat lacking in capturing the cinematic experience that many home audiences are pushing to bring into their living rooms. The blacks are far more evident and apply a depth that has been lost even in the most recent Blu-ray releases of Alien. The disc includes both the Theatrical release and the 2003 Director’s Cut, both in 4K Ultra HD as well as several bonus features, most of which have been previously released.

Shorts

In celebration of the original theatrical release of Alien 20th Century Fox commissioned aspiring filmmakers to contribute to the mythology and selected to accompany this reissue are six of the best Short Films that take a fresh perspective on the franchise. The shorts were released as a series on IGN and were all set in the Alien universe. 20th Century selected from over 500 submissions and supported what they felt were the “biggest fans” able to deliver stories that best served the fan enthusiasm for the 40th Anniversary.

Alien 40th Anniversary directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver the reissue is available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital HD from all major retailers. 

iFeature | Marvel’s Cinematic Universe on AVENGERS Heading Towards the “ENDGAME”

The final curtain is about to drop on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and after “The Snap” heard around the universe, it’s anyone’s guess how it’ll all play out, but invariably MARVEL STUDIOS redefined the superhero movie!

All it may have taken was a single “Snap!” to tragically undercut the growing legacy of the Marvel Studios heroes, in Avengers: Infinity War the big bad that has loomed in the shadows, puppeteering events across a decade of blockbuster films, the Mad Titan Thanos (played by Josh Brolin) altered the course of the history by annihilating half of the entire galaxy’s population — and taking with him some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest stars including Black Panther, Doctor Strange and the newly integrated Spider-Man.

The third installment in the Avengers franchise, crushed under its heel any anticipated hope fans may have had of a new “phase” elaborating on an ever-expanding universe capturing the spirit of the Marvel Comics that many movie goers had been thrilled to see come to life, since the introduction of Robert Downey, Jr in 2008s Iron Man. Studio chief Kevin Feige envisioned a theatrical experience that replicated the serialized episodic world these characters had inhabited in their 2-D incarnations, fleshing them all out fully to properly transition to the big screen.

By the time all the main players converged onto widescreen for the Avengers team movies, the film just couldn’t get any better, the action more dynamic and the stakes always higher, but at its core the players remained rooted to the core of their origins — their creator Stan Lee had always believed in the premise that as extraordinary as the circumstances that were that made these individuals heroic, they were always as “real” as real could get — especially in the case of sharing hall space with a thunder god and a radioactively rage-filled hulk.

The Avengers (2012)
L to R: Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)

A Marvel Indeed

When the titular heroes including Iron Man, Captain America and Thor (and arguably The Hulk) were corralled under one umbrella to be featured in the team film Avengers the studio blockbuster would immediately be altered forever! Successful franchise films had become regularly expected, especially with genre-inspired material like the X-Men or Spider-Man films, although by the time those features hit their third installments the narrative often felt stale, leading to the inevitable reboot. Kevin Feige imagined a longer, more linear experience and inspired a universal story arc.

Avengers bent that rule by landing all the separate or anticipatory franchise characters inside of a team roster. The first film released in 2012 introduced the “founding members”, its follow-up 2015s Avengers: Age of Ultron expanded upon the roster, and by the time we’d arrived at 2018s Avengers: Infinity War the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was recruited to take on the larger than life adversary. It was also necessary since the team was essentially disbanded.

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo Captain America: Civil War (2016) the third film in that franchise disassembled our core heroes, but introduced Black Panther, initiated the Ant-Man and gave us an amazing Spider-Man: Homecoming. The Avengers may have come to an impasse but movie audiences knew that the real war was infinitely on the horizon, and that when the stakes were raised to upwards of a cosmic scale, it would take all of our muscle to fight back — unfortunately we hadn’t factored in that the bad guy might win in the end!

The Next Phase

So perhaps now would be a good time to catch our breath before the next, and fourth film in the franchise hits theaters worldwide. Avengers: Endgame is not shying away from admittedly letting its audience know upfront — however this plays out, the title should be taken very seriously. Inevitably some of our favorite characters may live, and others might die, and still some others have to determinately crawl themselves back from where ever they may have found themselves after that fateful “Snap!”

Marvel Studios has proven in its premiere decade its dominance over the superhero film franchise, a formula that others have attempted to emulate with mixed results, but never as effortlessly as Marvel appeared to master the medium. With the theatrical experience marking a steadfast transition to the home, the Marvel catalog is now getting the 4K respect that it widely deserves. In the Ultra HD resolution that 4K offers the Avengers franchise especially has never looked or sounded so epic!

Picture quality is unmatched and this is most evident in the heavily CGI moments that often occur when the screen is inhabited by Hulk and an army of Ultron robots. 4K also enhances the environment that these actors exist in, turning their highly futuristic war rooms and battle sites, whether deep on the edges of the earth or on the streets of New York appear all the more textured and tangible. The cinematically profound depths of the audio bombardment is also something to behold! With all three of the current film’s available on 4K, this is the only way to assemble proper!

Trailer | JOKER

The most diabolical adversary in the Dark Knight’s gallery of rogues is about to headline his own motion picture and the trailer reveals this look into the psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime is no joke!

Brace yourself! Although the internet has been permeated with images of actor Joaquin Phoenix in and out of full clown make-up, the Academy Award® Winner is blisteringly more frightening in the first trailer for the upcoming motion picture Joker. Directed by Todd Phillips this stand alone examination of The Batman’s most dangerous arch-enemy is promising to showcase only the man behind the sinister psychopath and not the caped and cowl crusader. The film is an origin story set years before Bruce Wayne’s crusade on crime.

Darkly haunting, the first trailer is meant to evoke a deeper more unsettling narrative, and not necessary inhabits a cinematic universe that includes recent DC blockbusters headliners like Wonder Woman and Aquaman. The since here is that the man who will become Gotham City’s most vile inhabit is living out “the one bad day” that has often been the common denominator of the leading theories behind The Joker’s incarnation. It’s established in the classic graphic novel The Killing Joke and remains much of the character’s motivation in The Dark Knight Returns.

Already many on the internet are seeing parallels with director Martin Scorsese; the filmmaker is known for his skill at humanizing and navigating even the darkest extremes into relatable situations. With The Joker among the DC Universe’s most complex personas, this deep dive into the makings of this monster is evoking familiarities with Heath Ledger’s interpretation of the character which won him numerous accolades and a posthumous Academy Award® for best Supporting Actor.

Joaquin Phoenix will be the latest actor to take on the iconic role in WB Pictures full-length feature “Joker” coming to theaters in October.

Why So Serious?

With The Joker moving into the spotlight with not just this first full-length feature to premiere in the fall, another one is still in the works intended to center on Jared Leto’s take on the villain as he appeared in Suicide Squad, is Warner Bros. opening the door to similarly “Black Label” prestige looks at their DC comics properties? The less than stellar reception of the Justice League movie which was intended to inspire a cinematic universe in the same style as Marvel Studios own, has all-but jettisoned that idea, forcing the studio to course correct.

Perhaps if WB intends on keeping the DC brand afloat within its studio system, the direction may be to apply a more “adult oriented” approach. Recently the publishing imprint, decided on applying a new top title to some of its releases; with “Black Label” branding the idea is to present stories that have a prestige feel or are more graphic properties that exist outside of the DC Universe established continuity. The recent specialty series “Batman: Damned” is an example of fresh material, while a re-release of the best-selling “Watchmen” series has been “Black Label”.

Whatever fan expectations are for Joker it is certain that the film will undoubtedly raise eyebrows as it heads toward an anticipated R-rating, which may be just what the film’s director and Warner Bros. Pictures are hoping for. If the DC heroes can’t work together in a cinematic world, maybe its villains can emerge as the next marquee favorites, at least until another “crisis” appears on the horizon threatening to reboot the properties, simplifying the theatrical multiverse and gauging greater box-office appeal.

Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips will be coming to theaters on Oct 4.