Star Wars Episode IX Title And Teaser Revealed

After a nice long gap, we are getting a new Star Wars film, the final part in the saga and the last one for quite a while. Episode IX, which is due to be released on December 20th, 2019, now has a name. JJ Abrams has returned to direct after Colin Trevorrow was given the boot for that classic reason: creative differences. The name of the new Star Wars film is The Rise of Skywalker

The third part in the latest trilogy is said to be a fitting end to the Saga with Mark Hamill returning (from the dead? ZOMBIE LUKE!) as well as Billy Dee Williams reprising his role as Lando Calrissian and Carrie Fisher making an appearance using archive footage. Walt Disney CEO, Bob Iger has said that after Episode IX, Star Wars will take a break. He says, “We have not announced any specific plans for movies thereafter. There are movies in development, but we have not announced them.” During the Star Wars Celebration event in Chicago, Stephen Colbert presented the Episode IX panel which included JJ Abrams, Anthony Daniels, Kathleen Kennedy, Billy Dee Williams R2D2, Oscar Issac, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Naomi Ackie, Joonas, Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran and BB8. During the discussion, they spoke of their previous experience in and outside of Star Wars as well as the current film, whilst new images of the characters appeared on the screen behind them. Some we know well, some we will get to know. We also received the first teaser trailer which shows how the previous Jedis have passed on all that they know to the current generation. We see Rey, Finn, Poe, C3PO, BB8 as they all do battle with Kylo and the dark side. Lando comes back to fly his Millennium Falcon, as we are told no one is ever really gone. Besides Luke, who else will return?

John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o and Domhnall Gleeson all return for the final go in the Skywalker Saga. The Rise of Skywalker has been written by Abrams and Chris Terrio, with Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly getting co-writing credits. After this film, we know that there is The Mandalorian TV series by Jon Favreau, with episodes being directed by Deborah Chow, Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi but that’s about it for now. A break makes sense after Star Wars fatigue did seem to settle in after the release of Solo just a few months after The Last Jedi. We’ll see how long this break is but I’m extremely excited for the final chapter on this 42 year old Saga.

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James Gunn Reinstated For Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3

It was the job that no director would want to take over and the film that looked as if it would never be made but it’s been said today that James Gunn is back. Months after being fired for offiensive jokes shared on Twitter a few years ago, Gunn has returned to Marvel to complete his trilogy with Guardians of the Galaxy vol 3.

According to Deadline he was re-hired a few months ago after a lot of talks being held within Disney. Walt Disney Studio president Alan Horn met with Gunn on multiple occasions to discuss his firing and reversed the decision after he made an apology. Gunn was fired after alt-right journalists dug up tweets from his past which joked about subjects including rape and paedophilia. Shortly after, the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy released a joint statement in support of Gunn, with Dave Bautista threatening to walk several times if they didn’t at least use his script. Fans were mostly on his side but some did not agree with his jokes and were glad to see him go.

On a personal note, I’m glad he’s back. Whilst the second GOTG film wasn’t as good as the first, it’s a trilogy a lot of people want to see completed by Gunn, especially after surprising movie goers which the superb first Guardians film. In case you’re interested I wrote an opinion piece about his unfair sacking here.

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The Lion King Receives A First Trailer

First of all Disney, how dare you remake my favourite Disney film! I’ve loved this film for as long as I can remember and I’ve seen it on stage, so frankly it’s insulting. Second, it only looks okay! If this is a shot for shot remake, which it so far certainly looks like then I will not be happy. Third, Beyoncé?? Really?! Urgh! Okay rant mostly over but I will be watching you Disney! 

Here is the first look at the live-action remake of The Lion King which has been directed by Jon Favreau who previously worked on live version of The Jungle Book which to be fair was good! He’s brought back the circle of life as we see the ceremony for Simba on Pride Rock along with a couple of other familiar characters. Check out the trailer here:

Starring Donald Glover (Simba), James Earl Jones (reprising his role as Mufasa), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), John Oliver (Zazu), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) and Beyoncé (Nala), this is the latest live action film from Disney who have announced several others including Mulan, Lilo & Stich and Lady and the Tramp. These along with Aladdin and Dumbo, both of which have trailers and are out next year in the summer.

Here’s the poster which Favreau also shared along with this teaser. Look, I know I’m super negative with these films but it’s only because Disney can do better. This is all a very cynical attwmpt to make a load of money rather than being creative. Anyway, the film is expected to be out in July 2019. 

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Captain Marvel Trailer Swoops In

It’s the next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s the first ever female-lead Marvel movie in the current iteration of this set of comicbook movies. Captain Marvel comes in hot with it’s first trailer and it’s pretty good. Check it out below.

As with other MCU trailers, we’ve not been given that much, essentially this is an extension on the images we’ve already seen here but with a bit more context. Starring Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, she’s joined by Gemma Chan, Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson, Lee Pace, Ben Mendlesohn and Clark Gregg, the plot revolves around the origins of Carol Danvers. Keeping with the comicbook character, she begins as a pilot before she’s granted with superpowers as Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. One of the alien races includes the Skrulls, a shape-shifting group who can look like anyone so therefore could actually be part of the current universe. Oooooooooooooo!

This is the 21st film in the MCU, which means it’s taken 20 movies and now 11 years for their first ever female-lead movie. It’s about fucking time Marvel! COME ON! We want more of this, especially when they are as awesome as Brie Larson and EVERY WOMAN in Black Panther. Here’s hoping we get to see more of this in the future. Captain Marvel is due for release in March 2019.

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Mary Poppins Returns…With A New Trailer

Coming 54 years after the original (and they say The Incredibles 2 was long-awaited) Mary Poppins Returns has a brand new trailer, showing it’s cast in full along with nostalgic inducing 2D animation and fantasy sequences. Check out the trailer below.

The trailer shows Emily Blunt taking over the lead role from Julie Andrews as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda as the Guy With An Awful English Accent aka Jack, plus Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Julie Walters and of course the original man with the terrible English accent, Dick Van Dyke. The story takes place in depression-era London with the now grown up Jane and Michael Banks (Whishow and Mortimer) who are visited by Mary Poppins following a personal loss as she shows the family how to rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Directed by Rob Marshall, the sequel is in safe hands with his previous work including Chicago and Into the Woods. His musical experience as well as obvious love for the original movie comes through clearly in the trailer. Marshall takes a writing credit along with his collaborators David Magee (Finding Neverland, Life of Pi) and John DeLuca who previously produced Into the Woods, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Chicago. The film is due for release on 19th December 2018.

What are your thoughts regarding the film, casting, trailer, the music? Do you like it? Do you think it’s another pointless sequel or are you excited by it? 

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Firing James Gunn Is Ridiculous And Hypocritical

Over the weekend James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3, the third film in the soon to be trilogy of this team of criminal misfits. He was currently in the process of writing the script with the aim of shooting it next year. His sacking was due to tweets from 2008 – 2012 which were dug up thanks to a right-wing website Daily Caller. His tweets were jokes which included subjects such as pedophilia and rape. Yes I can see why you’d find these offensive but this is not a sackable offence.

I realise that some of you will not agree with me but firing James Gunn is an utterly ludicrous decision. Back in 2012, the year he was hired to write and direct the first Guardians film, he apologised for these jokes and we moved on. Disney continued to employ him and he received a large amount of praise for his MCU work. So why is it exactly that he is having to apologise for a second time and has now been fired by Disney? It’s because we now live in an incredible overly-sensitive society where people are offended by the slightest provocation. Despite saying sorry it was brought up and people were not happy with him. It’s been six years since he apologised the first time and now he’s been hung out to dry because Disney bowed to public pressure. This is like paying your debt to society and then getting flung back into prison years after being released. 

In 2012, the fact that Gunn apologised most likely meant that Disney and Marvel knew what he had said and continued to employ him anyway. What has changed then? He still tweeted what he did back then and, until he deleted them they were still up this year. By the way this is the company who still employs (and therefore enables) Johnny Depp and who was somehow allowed to appear in Hall H at the recent San Diego Comic Con.

At the moment Disney is trying to buy Fox, a company who owns the Deadpool character whose films consist of risque jokes and innuendos. There seems to be a blind spot floating around and not everyone is being held to this standard. Would they change Deadpool to make him bend towards their values? Something tells me they wouldn’t thanks to how much money this characters earns at the box office. It’s all about the money after all, am I right?? Speaking of values, here is what Walt Disney Studio Chairman Alan Horn said in his statement, “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.” So these tweets are “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values” but when Depp has video footage of him being violent and abusive towards his now ex-wife this is completely inline with your “values” is it Disney? And whilst he’s cleaned up his act now Robert Downey Jr doesn’t have the best history for behaving within these values. His imprisonment and past with drugs should go conpletely against Disney. Yes it’s in the past but so is what James Gunn said. 

The most awful thing about this is we cannot let things go as a society, as soon as someone unearths old comments and behaviour there is almost no saving them from the scrutiny they will be under. They may have paid their debt, apologised and put it behind them but there will always be someone looking to oust them once more. These are not things that he did, they are jokes he told. People move on from their previous views and change, it’s what we all do. 

It’s been wonderful to see the amount of people supporting Gunn in the days since his firing including cast members of Guardians, people he knows, others he’s worked with as well as his own brother. But when are studios going to stop listening to what others have to say and actually make these decisions themselves. That’s not what happened here, it got out of hand thanks to the unfortunate power of Twitter trolls and the decision was made before they even told Gunn. It’s inexcusable and it’s time for a change. 

We are with you James. We support you. We admire you. We are Groot. 

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Incredibles 2, review

Starting where we left them 14 years ago, The Incredibles return with Helen at centre stage. After the events of the previous film, an attempt is made to make superheroes legal with Elastigirl as the family’s primary hero whilst Bob is left at home to take care of the kids. 

Brad Bird has returned to write and direct the follow up to the best version of the Fanstasic Four we will ever get. It may not reach the heights of its predecessor, however it’s a worthy sequel thanks to its inventive action sequences whilst keeping it about family.

When we left our favourite superhero family at the end of the first film, they were facing the Underminer, a villain who comes from the underground to launch his attack. Their proceeding efforts to thwart him get the family arrested under the breach that they are no longer supposed to be active. A lot of property damage later and the Parr family are living in a motel with no backup plan after the superhero programme is shut down. It doesn’t take long for a new opportunity to arise in the form of philanthropist Winston Deavour and his tech genius sister Evelyn, who want to see the heroes of their childhood back in the limelight. A plan is presented which involves putting Helen at the centre with Bob side lined to take on a challenge of his own: staying at home to look after the kids.

With a 14 year break between the two films you’d be forgiven for assuming that there would be a time jump however Brad Bird stated that he wanted to have some time in between the two films if he were ever to do a sequel. Continuing in this way has allowed the dynamic to switch between Helen aka Elastigirl and Bob as Mr Incredible naturally expects to be the at the centre of this new scheme. Elastigirl truly takes the reigns of this film and steers it in her direction, calling back to her old interview where she doesn’t want to leave it to the men to save the world. She takes on a new villain known as Screenslaver who preys on those who rely on technology and can enslave anyone using any sort of screen or monitor. Her chase scenes and fight sequences are proof of Pixar’s technology improving due to their slickness.

Whilst Bob may feel he’s been sidelined, some of the best moments comes from his struggles at home as he attempts to remain as grounded as possible. His issues in dealing with Dash’s homework (“Why would they change math?!”) as well as Violet whose adolescence kicks into full gear are aspects which many parents can relate to. However without question it’s Jack-Jack who becomes the biggest challenge as he steals every scene with his adorable innocence, especially when he becomes part of an unlikely double act. He comes into his own with the multiple and unpredictable powers he possesses during a scene which has to be one of the finest Pixar moments as he faces down a raccoon. It’s a sequence which matches that of any classic silent comedy.

Most comedy sequels amplify the personality of its characters, be they main or supporting, there seems to be some ridiculous shift in how they behave. However The Incredibles 2 keeps its characters on a believable level, with each interaction feeling natural and needed. Especially when Frozone is being yelled at by his wife again and Edna is as Edna as ever. Whilst not as good as the first it is still a worthy sequel, going deeper thanks to the dynamic switch and showing the mounting pressure parents are under their children no matter what. It’s a thrilling film with some incredible sequences better than most modern action films we have whilst keeping it’s heart and family values firmly at the centre.

4 out of 5.

Weekly Round-Up: 24th June, 2018

Well, well, well, it’s that time of the week again! However I must admit I’ve been a bit lazy this week, I’ve not shared as much but to be fair I was ill. Give me a break! Anyway, this week, we see Creed vs. Drago (is it 1985 again??), John Lasseter’s replacements have been announced, Tom Holland “accidentally” reveals the title of the next Spider-Man film and of course much much more!

Trailers and Posters

Creed II

The sequel to Creed is coming, with a fighting chance of being better than the original. Still looking for validation in and outside of the ring, Adonis comes back as history repeats itself. Check out the trailer and poster below.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Yeah, there’s yet another couple of posters for the upcoming 20th MCU film (WHICH WE HAVE TO WAIT AN EXTRA MONTH FOR but I’m not bitter…) *sigh* Anyway, here are the posters, it’s pretty cool but what more can I say now??

The Meg

It’s impossible to tell you how excited I am for this film, it looks beyond stupid! But Jason Statham punching A MASSIVE SHARK in the face?? That’s high quality entertainment right there. Here’s Meg trying to swallow anything ot can…

Welcome to Marwen

Whilst it may not sound as if it’ll work as a film, the premise of Welcome to Marwen is a man uses dolls (or as some are calling an art installation) to get past a traumatic attack in which he loses his memory. Drawing on his real life, Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) bases these characters on those in his real life. Take a look at the trailer below.

News

Rocketman

Jamie Bell has been cast as Elton John’s longtime songwriting collaborator Bernie Taupin in the semi biographical film, Rocketman. Loosely based on his life and his music together, this is being pegged as a musical rather than a straight adaptation of Elton John’s life. Here’s hoping we see some moves from the former Billy Elliot actor 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3

I’m so sorry everyone but a third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film is in the making with Paramount hiring writer Andrew Dodge to create a new script. Just leave it alone! 

Nothing Like a Dame

If you’ve not had a chance to catch it yet, Nothing Like a Dame is on BBC iPlayer now until 2nd July. Do yourself a favour, ignore the football and swap it for something decent to watch. Enjoy!

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Tom Holland has apparently revealed the title for the the next Spider-Man film after holding up this during an Instagram video. It looks like the sequel will be called Far From Home however there has been no confirmation on if this the final name. If it is, I wonder how far they are talking because it’s not like he can get any further away at the moment…

Luther

LUUUUUUFFFFFFAAAAAAAAA is coming back to BBC as it’s been announced Idris Elba is reprising his role for season 5. Four episodes have been confirmed for the new season which should be on our screens this year. Series creator Neil Cross says, “We missed some old friends. And we wanted to make the biggest, scariest, darkest, most thrilling series of Luther there’s ever been. So that’s what we’ve come back to do.” Dermot Crowley, Michael Smiley and Patrick Malahide are all back as DSU Martin Schenk, Benny Silver and George Cornelius, with recent recruit Wunmi Mosaku as DS Catherine Halliday.

 

Industry News

Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee announced as John Lasseter’s replacements

After announcing that he will be leaving at the end of the year, John Lasseter’s replacments have been announced as Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee. The pair have worked at Disney and Pixar for quite some time, both creating some of the studios most famous films. Here’s more on the story which broke earlier this week.

Lucasfilm Deny Spinoffs Are On Hold

After Solo’s “poor” reception at the box office, it was being rumoured that the spin-offs were on hold so that Lucasfilm could focus on Episode IX and other projects. However they were very quick to deny this, which makes sense seeing how previous rumours got out of control. You can read more about the story here.

Diversity Still Needs a lot of Work 

Frankly this will surprise no one, but diversity in movies released in 2017 was pretty poor. The Director’s Guild of America (DGA) released a data analysis this week which shows that only 16% of films from last year were directed by women. Check out more on this report and what DGA President Thomas Schlamme had to say on its findings here.

 

Reviews

Mini review: Ocean’s Eight.

After spending more than 5 years in prison, Debbie Ocean reveals a plot to steal a $150m necklace from the Met gala. As she puts her team together you get the impression that this is just taking parts from the 2001 film and recycling them.

The entire plan never feels very as well planned as they were in the George Clooney days, it’s a heist movie without ever feeling like one. Whilst there are a few enjoyable moments, it’s a shame to see such a superb ensemble cast wasted on a weak script with forced links to the original trilogy. And James Corden needs to fuck off.

2 out of 5

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Pete Docter And Jennifer Lee Taking Over At Pixar And Disney Animation 

It’s been announced that Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee are taking over at Pixar and Disney animation after the announcement that John Lasseter is stepping down at the end of 2018. The pair will be reporting to Alan Horn, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios.

Speaking of their appointments Alan says, “Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are two of the most gifted filmmakers and storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Pete, the genius creative force behind Up, Inside Out, and Monsters, Inc., has been an integral part of Pixar almost since the beginning and is a huge part of its industry-leading success. Jenn, in bringing her bold vision to the boundary-breaking Frozen, has helped infuse Disney Animation with a new and exciting perspective. Each of them embodies the unique spirit, culture, and values of these renowned animation studios, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them to lead us into the future.”

Docter who joined Pixar in 1990, has directed Inside Out, Up and Monsters Inc, as well as being an animation supervisor of Toy Story and Executive Producer on Monsters University and Brave. Lee’s credentials include writing Frozen, Zootropolis and Wreck It Ralph. She started at Disney Animation in 2011 and is currently working on Frozen 2, whilst overseeing Ralph Breaks the Internet as Executive Producer. They are taking over from Lasseter after he was accused of inappropriate behaviour by several staff members. Initially put on sabbatical for 6 months, it was announced recently that he will permanently step down at the end of 2018. You can read more about this including his statement here.

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Dumbo Teaser Trailer Takes Flight 

When it was announced that Tim Burton was to create a live action version of Dumbo, it seemed that no-one believed it would happen. At least I didn’t. Now it’s here, it feels as if he is the ideal director to take this on. Here’s the first teaser trailer for Dumbo.

Coming out in 2019, the film looks quintessential Burton with his off beat characters, the costumes, psychedelic visuals (hello pink elephant sequence!) and a flying elephant. Just think of the original Dumbo but even tripier. Expanind on the original story, Disney’s retelling of this classic tale will have messages of including those who are different and family as the circus he becomes apart of raises him despite his oversized ears making him a laughing stock. When Dumbo rejuvenates the struggling circus with his unusual talent of flying, the elephant is recruited for a new attraction called Dreamland which is full of dark secrets.

Starring Colin Farrell as Holt Farrier the keeper who is hired by Danny DeVito’s circus owner Max Medici, as well as Michael Keaton in full on moustache twirling villain mode, Eva Green, Nico Parker, Finely Hobbins and Alan Arkin. Due for release in March 2019, this is the latest Disney film to receive the live action treatment with Lion King and Aladdin on the way, as well as Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast being the most recent remakes.

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