IR Exclusive Interview: Ben Wheatley Talks Free Fire, Bad Boston Accents and What Could Come After Freakshift!

by: Jay Carlson – Editor-in-Chief

I had the pleasure of speaking with High Rise director Ben Wheatley the morning after he brought his newest film, Free Fire, to Boston. We had a great chat and I even managed to pry some details about some of the other films he’s got in the works PAST his next film, Freakshift starring Armie Hammer and (maybe) Alicia Vikander and a possible Wages of Fear remake.

The following interview has been edited for content and clarity.

Jay: I heard the screening went well last night?

Ben Wheatley: Yeah, man.

JAY: Were you worried bringing the film to Boston since the film is set here?

BW: Abso-fucking-lutely. I can’t say I wasn’t nervous about it. As they rightly said, it was actually screening in Cambridge, so it’s not the same.

JAY: Good point.

BW: And also, the film never mentions Boston so that was always my get out. I was always very cautious.

JAY: I never even noticed.

BW: Yeah, it’s all over the press and all over the press releases and bullshit, but from the beginning we went, “You know what? Movies are made in Boston by people from Boston and the accents get complained about. What chance have we got?”

JAY: The one thing I have to say, is some of the worst Boston accents come from actors who are from Boston. The ones in your film were better than what we get from a lot of actors who are from Boston.

BW: Well that’s good, fuck. The way I always thought about it was if an American came to the UK and made a film in Manchester and they brought a lot of Americans in to do the accents, we’d all be like “Fuck me.” But it’s a weird one, isn’t it? I knew that there was a history of people making crime films about Boston and it’s just like- I bet everyone was tired of that. So that’s why we specifically never mentioned it.

JAY: How did Free Fire come about?

BW: It had been bubbling around for a long time for me. It started for me in the 90’s where I’d read this report, this FBI field report, of a shootout they’d had in Miami between FBI agents and potential bank robbers. They were on their way to rob a bank and these cars all screamed in and they were caught up in this thing. The report just goes on forever and it’s very forensic and very detailed because they have to account for every bullet they fired when they do the report and it’s just a mess and horrible and terrifying and not like the movies at all. It just reads like this really grim short story of death, you know? I was like, “Damn, there’s something in this somewhere.” And I wanted to make something and then over time I kept thinking about it and there’s something in it in a procedural kind of gun battle that we haven’t really seen.

You get a little bit of stuff like the shootout at the O.K. Corral gets looked at quite a lot, and there’s some interesting versions of that. When you actually read about the history of the shootout at the O.K Corral, which is basically a massacre, they just get in their corner and shoot at each other. (Laughing) It’s not pretty at all.

Then I started reading all sorts of other stuff, like that combat shooting is a perishable skill and if you don’t do it all day long you go back to not being able to do it at all. And if you’re not like a Navy Seal in combat situations it becomes very hard to shoot straight. That bad rap that Stormtroopers get in Star Wars is not necessarily too far from the truth. It’s only kind of keyboard warriors and people who only ever fire at paper targets who are the ones that tell you, “Why can’t people shoot straight in movies?” It’s because people are mortally terrified and want to hide.

JAY: Add to that the adrenaline pumping as you’re trying to aim. You can’t keep your hand straight, let alone with a gun in it.

BW: Exactly. Certainly with a pistol, which as soon as you move slightly it’s like going all over the place. Like the .38’s they use in the film are police weapons for firing in close quarters, not long range. So, in movies when they do all that crazy shit, it’s totally unrealistic. Not that this film is a documentary, to be fair.

Then I was doing a lot of research on the troubles in Northern Ireland and I’d read this story about the movement of guns from the states back to Belfast, which was really interesting. They’d smuggle them on the QE2 and then the QE2 would take them to Belfast and they’d smuggle them off again and I was like, “Fuck, there’s something there.” I was talking to Cillian Murphy and we got along pretty well and he was going, “If you ever think of a role for me, don’t hesitate to ask.” It all kind of came into focus and I went, “Fuck, I’ll do a thing about Irish guys going to America to buy guns.”

It kind of felt right, it was my first American film and it’s a genre film and I’m coming, metaphorically and mentally to do it and it’s important to have a load of Europeans and Africans turning up in this movie and negotiating with American characters. It feels like kind of a halfway house to start making American movies.

JAY: Did the film change tonally from writing the script to making the film? They say you make three different films when you make a movie: the one you write, the one you shoot and the one that comes out of the editing room.

BW: There’s four movies really. The one you write and the one your wife re-writes. (Laughs) Then the one that you shoot and the one that your wife re-edits. I’d written a very grim version that was much more rolling around on the ground screaming and being horrible to each other. Then Amy (Jump) read it and was like, “Fuck, nobody’s going to want to watch this. It’s too much.”

JAY: My reason for asking is because when the film was announced there was this promo/teaser post that looks like something for a really dark Paul Schrader film from the 70’s.

BW: Yeah, that’s a different movie. Having seen Sharlto playing Kruger in Elysium he probably could have done the dark version and it was on the table at the beginning. But Luke (Evans) went off to do some random art film about talking candlesticks. I don’t know what happened to that. I don’t think it was ever released. (Laughing)

JAY: It doesn’t sound like anything that anyone would pay to see.

BW: And Olivia Wilde went off to do Vinyl. So that was that. Nothing Machiavelli about it. That is the finance/teaser poster that got out. It’s a great poster, it’s a Jay Shaw poster. He did the current one with the finger in the gun. Jay Shaw is great.

So there was a darker version of it. Then Amy wrote this much funnier version of it. She put all the really filthy stuff in it, like the Stevo thing where he tells Harry that he came so hard in his cousin’s mouth. I’m reading it and I’m like, “Oh, Fuck.”

JAY: Do you ever just look at her and wonder where that all comes from?

BW: Yeah, (laughing) well everyone does.

With low budget films you don’t really get much time to rehearse, or any. We had one day’s rehearsal just to make sure the guns shot and the gunfight would work where we walked it through.

And with Sharlto it kind of changed a little bit as we were doing it. There was a point where he said, ” I can do the really hard, nasty South African character or I can be a bit shitter.” I was like, “Oh there’s something really funny about you not being able to shoot straight.” And he was like, “Ok.” It’s really down to when he fires and shoots the mirror off of the van, that was the beginning of the end for that character. And Amy was there every day as well, because we shot near our house, so we did a thing that we’ll never do again because it was too stressful, but she was re-writing on set. We’d have a day shoot and she’d be a day ahead. So she’d be writing the next day but we’d be looking at the rushes and incorporating stuff into it. It’s not like it was like Apocalypse Now where it was all over the place. It was enough where you could kind of tweak stuff. The problem with improv bits is as good as they are on set, they don’t usually fit within the film and they just get cut. Everyone’s sitting there like, “Oh this is amazing!” and then you get into the editing room and it ends up coming out.

JAY: Gunfights are logistically already tough to shoot and since your film is one huge gunfight does that make improvisation tougher than if it was in the course of a regular scene? Or is it possible for that spontaneity to work in that kind atmosphere?

BW: It’s a little of both. There’s all types of improvisation. You can’t just get up and walk around, making shit up and firing wherever you want. You can’t do any of that. But certainly just the asides can be done. At the beginning of the film it was much looser with how the blocking was and a bit more loosey goosey. Certainly around the van when they were all arguing, you can’t tell them precisely what to do anyway since there’s eleven of them and they’re all moving around really quick. But as soon as they’re all shot they can’t move around anyway, so that becomes more manageable.

JAY: Obviously with all the weapons the cast had to be prepared and trained with all the guns they’d be using?

BW: Barely. Because they’re not meant to be any good at it. You don’t want to send them off for any kind of special forces training.

JAY: It’s better if they don’t know how to hold it properly.

BW: Yeah. Brie was saying she’d never held a gun before the film. And I’d imagined that her character had probably done target shooting, but had obviously never been in a shootout. Why would she have been? That’s crazy unless she was Gloria or something. So that was fine. They all just got safety training, going over it for literally five minutes with the armorer. He was like, “Here’s the guns, this is how you load them, this is how you fire them. OK, good.” Armie already knew that stuff inside and out from doing all the action stuff and so did Sharlto, so that kind of made sense for their characters, as well. Even Cillian and Michael Smiley’s characters, it’s not like the IRA did much training, they did a bit and there was some Libyan training and stuff, but it wasn’t like they were trained soldiers. It’s a different thing, you know? It’s a different skill set.

JAY: Which one of them surprised you the most?

BW: Armie was surprising, I’d just had a completely different idea of who he’d be as a person. He was not that person. He was really fucking cool and lovely and funny. Sam Riley. Again it was like, I’d liked his films but he wasn’t in the front of my mind for that character. I talked to him for about three minutes on Skype and I was like, “Fuck this guy’s great.” He’s like a young John Hurt. He’s fantastic. And that character, taking that character and making him so… Because on the page I was so worried about that character, that there wasn’t enough there. but he’s just like, “BANG.” This is the power of a great performance.

JAY: Which character changed the most compared to what you’d envisioned based on the actor coming in? Obviously, you had a different idea for Sharlto’s character originally.

BW: Yeah, that was really written for him to be South African. That really helped. And also the Babou Ceesay character, we didn’t write any ethnic stuff in there, so when he came in it was like, “OK, that makes a certain type of dynamic now that we’re going to have to address and work out.” Yeah, I mean I think I’d learned a bit off of High Rise where I’d cast Sienna Guillory and her part in that. I was a bit embarrassed, she’s a great actress and she’s done loads of stuff, but she had like four lines in High Rise and I was like, “Fuck, really? She’s so good.” But when the film was finished she feels really massive because her performance is so intense.

I was really happy with all the characters and that there was a balance in the movie and you feel sad about when characters die. Even someone like Noah Taylor’s character, which… it should be an extra, that character, in the other version of this movie and yet he gets a full life, even down to his love of art.

JAY: Which one of them would you most want on your side if a gunfight was to break out?

BW: Armie Hammer, probably. If we’re talking about the characters, he’s the only one with any training. I like that he just hides straight away because he knows what’s about to go down. There’s no showboating or running around and Rambo’ing about. It’s you hide and you back away if you want to survive something like that.

JAY: A common complaint for directors indie directors is that they can’t get the funding to make the films they want to make, yet you’re making movies at a Woody Allen-like pace these last six years. What do you attribute that to?

BW: Budget.

JAY: Keeping it low?

BW: Totally. The seven-hundred grand to a million, that’s ok. It’s obvious that you’re gonna get the money back. This? This is like the alright area… I guess this is like a… because the British pound has become so weak it’s kind of hard to calculate … like eight million dollars or something like that. The seven or eight-million-dollar level is good because it makes sense in the indie world. But if you’re at the top end of it, my god I don’t know how anything gets made. I suppose the indie world tops out at twenty million and that’s really hard to get that financing together. That’s when it becomes start/stop, start/stop over years. Or you do studio stuff and the studio stuff again is an investment of time, two or three years for it about to go and they have ten projects and they decide which one is gonna go. I used to be like, “Oh, I’m making loads of films, why do people take seven years.” Now I know, so I don’t feel so clever about that anymore.

JAY: How tempting is getting involved in a big studio film? Do you take those meetings?

BW: I always have taken those meetings, but it’s more the investment of time that’s the thing. I’ve always got something I’m going on to, so it really means turning over that film to take a studio thing that may or may not happen. It’s such an amount of time, it’s a real gamble if you’re currently making stuff.

We haven’t made a film last year, so we’re slowing down, Amy and I, a little bit. Because Free Fire and High Rise were back to back and that was a bit much. So we just spent the last two years writing and prepping for the next couple of movies. So, I don’t know, I think it’s something I’d like to do but it’s not necessarily in my hands as much as you might imagine.

JAY: What would it take to get Ben Wheatley on the set of a hundred-million-dollar movie?

BW: (Deep exhale)

JAY: Is that even something you’d want?

BW: I’m writing the Hard Boiled adaptation for Warner Brothers so that’s what that would be. Well, I don’t think it would be a hundred, it would probably seventy to eighty or something like that. The money’s not important… The actual budget size is a different thing from how much money you make, so that doesn’t make any difference. And then it’s just grief. It doesn’t get easier, the more money there is. It just becomes more pressure. So the sweet spot is probably, I don’t know, three million or four million, where there’s less people worried about it. Then if it breaks out, people are like, “Wow!” If it doesn’t then it probably made the money back.

Jay: What would be your dream project if money wasn’t an issue and you could take anything you’ve ever wanted to make and just make it?

BW: I dunno. I mean… it’s tricky. Because that’s kind of… you mean like a property and turning that into a film?

Jay: Could be a property or a script that you’ve had sitting in a drawer somewhere that you’ve thought you’d never be able to get made.

BW: Alright, I do know. I wrote a Gauntlet adaptation for Warner’s that’s pretty good.

Jay: Gauntlet, like the game?

BW: Yeah, the video game. And I have some other fancy stuff which I wouldn’t mind doing. Which you can’t do… you’d have to do massive. Because I wanted to do something that was like… I really like those… the thing I really like about those movies is when they go on a mission and they go into tunnels and they have traps and they have to deal with traps and shit and they steal stuff. That’s the best bit of the movie and you have to deal with a whole load of fucking riding on horses over mountains or something and you know, some other bullshit at the end of it. But the bit in the middle where they’re doing that is the best bit. I wanted to make a movie like that. So yeah, there’s something there. I wrote another one called Upon a Time Once which is about a magical kingdom turned upside down. That would be… I don’t know… a few movies down the line.

Jay: Freakshift is next?

BW: Yeah. In August hopefully.

Jay: And you have Armie Hammer coming back?

BW: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jay: And Alicia-

BW: Vikander. According to the internet.

Jay: Not according to you though?

BW: You know…

Jay: Attached, but not signed?

BW: Yeah or something… I don’t want to say she’s definitely doing it and then get my fingers snapped by angry agents. Yeah, no, it all looks good. That will be action… it will be a similar vibe to Free Fire in a way, but more monster-y.

Jay: I like that. Then after that?

BW: I don’t know, it’s Wages of Fear, which is on the bricks or its Criminal Behavior which is another one. It’s about an FBI for criminals. So if you’re a drug dealer and you get a load of shit stolen, you can’t go to the police so you’d go to these guys who investigate and track down guys and punish them with extreme prejudice to get your money back. I basically wanted to do a Big Sleep-style detective thing but from a really harsh perspective.

Jay: That sounds great. We’re getting the signal to end.

BW: They’re pulling the plug.

Jay: Thank you for the time and best of luck with the film!

BW: Cheers. Thank you.

 

Unfortunately, that is it. I had a great time talking with Ben Wheatley, I feel like we could have continued that conversation for days. I think we were just getting to some really good stuff.

Make sure you get out and see Free Fire this weekend. It’s a blast.

 

Advertisements

The New ‘Thor Ragnarok’ Trailer is a Contender

 

In Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Ragnarok,” Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok—the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger—the Incredible Hulk!

“Thor: Ragnarok” is directed by Taika Waititi and returns Chris Hemsworth starring as Thor and Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as Loki. They are joined by Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson and Karl Urban, with Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins.

Kevin Feige is producing with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, Thomas M. Hammel and Stan Lee serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost and Stephany Folsom and Eric Pearson.  Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Ragnarok” thunders into U.S. theaters on November 3, 2017.

The Final Defender Arrives in the New Trailer for Marvel’s Iron Fist

ironfistheader

Fifteen years after being presumed dead in a plane crash, Danny Rand (Finn Jones) mysteriously returns to New York City determined to reclaim his birthright and family company. However, when a long-destined enemy rises in New York, this living weapon is forced to choose between his family’s legacy and his duties as the Iron Fist. Marvel’s Iron Fist premieres March 17, 2017 exclusively on Netflix.

Star Wars: Episode VIII is Now Star Wars: The Last Jedi!

last-jedi

by: Jay Carlson – Editor-in-Chief

We’ve all been waiting for some official news to drop by way of a trailer or title reveal for some time now and today we have the official title for Rian Johnson’s upcoming middle chapter to the Sequel Trilogy: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Johnson’s production shot under the title of Space Bear and the crew even sported some pretty rad caps adorned with the Space Bear and the Roman Numeral VIII on the back. (Hit me up if you have one to sell, because I NEED one :))

I have to say, the title certainly effective, my gears immediately got cranking over the implications of such a title. Is this in reference to Luke Skywalker being the last? Does this mean the Jedi are done and a new order will rise from the Jedi Order? Will Rey be the first of something new, or is she The Last Jedi? Something else to consider is that the title doesn’t necessarily have to be in reference to a single Jedi, as Jedi can also be used as a plural.

Aside from the actual title, we also have the official logo to consider. The logo has abandoned the usual yellow outline of Star Wars for a red one, which is quite foreboding when paired with the official title. We can expect that we’ll see the First Order rebounding  from where we last saw them in The Force Awakens since The Last Jedi is our middle chapter in the sequel trilogy. Within a typical trilogy structure, the middle film leaves the protagonist in a dark place, setting up the resolution for the culminating film. The Empire Strikes Back saw Luke losing a hand, finding out Vader was his father and Han Solo frozen in carbonite and taken away by Boba Fett.

We’ll have to debate the implications of the title and logo until we know more. I can’t wait to see what Johnson has up his sleeve!

Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi will hit theaters December 15, 2017.

Let’s Help Raise Money For War-Torn Syrian Refugees, Donate For A Chance To Win A Signed Rogue One Poster!

riz-ahmed-bodhi-rook-rogue-one

by: Joshua Outred

As many of you are aware, the conflict in Syria has become one of the worst humanitarian crisis’ of our time. With hundreds of thousands killed, and many left homeless with nowhere to go, children and families have become displaced and are desperately trying to find some peace in their lives again.

As temperatures in Syria reach desperately cold levels, refugees who have escaped the brutal conflict now face another struggle for survival. Clambering around fires thrown together in old barrels, children clasp to any warmth they can get, with only the clothes on their backs to help keep them warm, a truly heartbreaking image and one that is more real than we like to imagine.

Many celebrities have banded together with humanitarian organizations and charities to help raise money for workers on the ground to continue their selfless support of the thousands of displaced families. One celebrity, Riz Ahmed, who played the brave and courageous Bodhi Rook in Rogue One has been one of these celebrities supporting this humanitarian crisis. Today, Riz Ahmed announced another way fans of Star Wars and his can help; by donating a minimum of $10 to Crowdrise.com you would not only help in providing much needed medical aid, and food for refugees, you could also be in with a chance to win fantastic prizes. By donating $30, you will be entered into win a Rogue One poster signed by the cast!

It warms my heart to see people from all over the world come together to help those in the most unimaginable situations, Star Wars and pop culture has always been an incredible platform to do this from, and it’s amazing to see what Riz Ahmed is doing! So help us help those in need, and donate for a chance to win a signed Rogue One poster and other great prizes. Follow the link below to donate, and thank you so much for helping those in need!

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT A GREAT CAUSE!

If you’d like to help further, there are a number of incredible organizations that do amazing work every day to bring aid to displaced refugees, whose lives have been torn apart by the horrendous civil war in Syria. I’ve added a few links below, so if you would like to continue supporting, please do! And again, thank you!

The Trailer For The Belko Experiment Looks FUCKING BANANAS!

belko-experiment

On March 17, it’s kill or be killed.

In a twisted social experiment, a group of 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogata, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.

The Belko Experiment stars John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, John C. McGinley and Michael Rooker.

Check Out Zoey Deutch in the New Sundance Trailer For ‘Before I Fall’…Check Out Zoey Deutch in the New Sundance Trailer For ‘Before I Fall’…Check Out Zoey Deutch in the New Sundance Trailer For ‘Before I Fall’…

zoey-deutch

What if you had only one day to change absolutely everything?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the perfect friends, the perfect guy, and a seemingly perfect future. Then, everything changes. After one fateful night, Sam wakes up with no future at all. Trapped reliving the same day over and over she begins to question just how perfect her life really was. And as she begins to untangle the mystery of a life suddenly derailed, she must also unwind the secrets of the people closest to her, and discover the power of a single day to make a difference, not just in her own life, but in the lives of those around her – before she runs out of time for good.

It’s Morphin Time! Check Out the Shiny New Power Rangers Trailer!

power-rangers

SABAN’S POWER RANGERS follows five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove — and the world — is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.

Jerry Seinfeld Driving His Cars and More Over to Netlfix

shandling-seinfeld

by: Jay Carlson – Editor-in-Chief

Jerry Seinfeld is moving his comedy series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee to Netflix in late 2017. The show, which sees Seinfeld selecting a car and comedian guest to go grab a cup of joe with has been on Crackle since its inception in 2012 and is frankly the only reason I’ve ever even gone to Crackle. It’s a great show and Seinfeld has pulled some amazing guests over the last five years such as Garry Shandling, Lorne Michaels, Larry David, Judd Apatow, David Letterman, Louis C.K. Tina Fey, Howard Stern, Jon Stewart, Amy Schumer, Jim Carrey, Kristen Wiig and even President Barack Obama.

Besides new episodes of Comedians, Netflix will add the original 59 Episodes of the Crackle run to its robust streaming comedy library that it’s been investing in pretty heavily lately. The deal also includes two exclusive stand-up specials (one to air in 2017) as well as scripted and unscripted programming. There are currently no details on what that might entail.

Netflix has cornered the stand-up market lately and has no problem throwing money around. The streaming giant recently shelled out $40M to Chris Rock for two upcoming exclusive specials and signed Adam Sandler to a huge four film deal back in 2015. THR says that Industry watchdogs estimate that Seinfeld may have netted $100M for this new deal.

Official Press Release:

Creator, producer, writer and performer Jerry Seinfeld is making Netflix the exclusive home for his new comedic endeavors. Netflix has signed the comedian to a multi-faceted production deal, starting in 2017.

As part of the exclusive pact, new episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee will arrive exclusively on Netflix in late 2017, as will previous episodes of the Emmy-nominated series. Seinfeld will also film two, all-new stand-up shows exclusively for Netflix members globally, the first arriving on the world’s leading Internet TV network later this year. Seinfeld will help develop scripted and non-scripted comedy programming for Netflix, with additional elements of the deal will be announced later.

“Jerry is known the world over as both a great TV innovator and beloved comic voice,”   said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix. “We are incredibly proud to welcome him to the Netflix comedy family.”

“When I first started thinking about Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, the entire Netflix business model consisted of mailing out DVDs in envelopes. I love that we are now joining together, both at very different points,” said Seinfeld, who produces, directs and hosts the show. “I am also very excited to be working with Ted Sarandos at Netflix, a guy and a place that not only have the same enthusiasm for the art of stand up comedy as I do, but the most amazing technology platform to deliver it in a way that has never existed before. I am really quite charged up to be moving there.”

Twenty four brand new episodes of the comedy series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee by Jerry Seinfeld, that feature Seinfeld joining friends for a cup of coffee and a drive in a classic car, sharing stories along the way, will premiere in installments globally on Netflix starting in 2017, with subsequent installments following in 2018 and beyond. Prior seasons of the series (fifty-nine existing episodes) will also become available exclusively on Netflix at the same time.

SUPERNERD RETURNS!! AND HE BROUGHT HIS YEAR END LIST ALONG WITH HIM!

little-prince

by: S. Scott Stanikmas – Senior Staff Writer

Here we are once again at the end of another year. And even though I haven’t been as active as I’d like in the past, the IndieRevolver Supernerd is back with his look at the top films of 2016!

Last year I had a  list of 89 films over the course of a calendar year to pick from. For a guy with a regular Monday-through-Friday “banker’s hours” job (who also tried to fit in family and the occasional trip to the gym) I thought that was pretty good. But there were so many other films that I missed and in that my list felt…inadequate. So I made a promise to see even more films to give my list a more well-rounded feel.

That task has been accomplished. From January 1 up to December 31, 2016 I managed to eke in 212 films. How? I pretty much ignored my family, skipped the gym and spent every weekend watching something. Sleep? I’ll sleep when I’m dead!

If you’d like to see my complete breakdown of films and grades, drop an email to IndieRevolver or tweet at him or me (@IR_Supernerd) and we might just put it up for you to see how I spent my 2016.

As always I’m writing this from the common fan’s perspective. What does that mean? It means that I paid for each and every movie on my list in some way. Whether it was buying a ticket at my local theater (or some that I had to drive over an hour to get to), buying a Blu-Ray or ordering something on VOD, every movie was paid for out of my own wallet. So if I don’t like something you’re damn right I’m going to give it the grade it deserves. On the other hand there were quite a few films that I saw multiple times in theater AND bought the physical home media for. Why? They were that damn good (and quite a few of those are on this year’s best of list).

And let’s get to that list shall we, instead of me rambling on. We’ll begin with my award for the biggest turkey of the year…

 

WORST FILM OF THE YEAR

knight-of-cups

It’s easy to write a Worst Of list. People love to read them (I’m guilty as charged on that). But social media recently has made me rethink my stance on the Worst Of list. I won’t waste my time running down a bunch of films that we all know were bad. And if you liked what I didn’t now you feel alienated. So I’ll just stick with one film. The only film this year that I gave a F / 0-star rating to:

KNIGHT OF CUPSI’ve had the argument with people that it’s beautifully shot and the cinematography is gorgeous. But it takes more than just pretty pictures to keep me engaged. This film, with it’s scattershot story and barely comprehensible plot, was the only film that made me wish I’d done something else with my two hours. Terrence Malick might get away with stuff like this these days because of his name, but I’m probably going to skip his next cinematic offering when it comes out.

Enough negativity. Time for…

 

BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR

Let’s start with some Honorable Mentions (really good films that just didn’t make the top cut and in no particular order):

 

MOANA Beautifully animated. Catchy songs. Stellar performances. You really can’t ask for more from Disney.

 

THE HOLLARSFrom director John Krasinski (who also starred) will have you laughing and crying – sometimes at the same time.

 

THE JUNGLE BOOK This was my top film for about two months (my how things change). Great adaptation of the animated classic and the best CGI I’ve seen all year.

 

SING STREETTry to see this and not smile. Impossible. A story that’s relatable on the most basic of levels (trying to find yourself and where you fit in) combined with a soundtrack of earworm songs that you’ll be signing for days make this a must see.

 

Now, the final countdown…
arrival

  1. ARRIVALAn impressive piece of science fiction. The ending will haunt you for days and make you wonder how you’d play things out if you were in the same boat. Director Denis Villeneuve has proven he can handle any genre thrown at him. Stellar performances from Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner make this an easy rewatch for years to come.

Doctor Strange 2

  1. DOCTOR STRANGEMy second favorite Marvel solo origin (behind Captain America: The First Avenger), Doctor Strange introduced us to the mystic side of the MCU and has now opened the doors for many different possibilities. With characters who were neither fully good or wholly bad, the shades-of-grey characterization will do well for the (hopefully) many future installments of the Master of the Mystic Arts.

Little Prince 07

  1. THE LITTLE PRINCEIf there was one movie that got the shaft this year it was Mark Osborne’s The Little Prince. Dropped by distributing studio Paramount weeks before it’s U.S. debut in March, the gorgeously animated tale was picked up by Netflix and made available in August. Adapting the the original tale into a framing device and using it as a parable for teaching children about death and being able to let go, this may be my favorite animated film not just of this year, but of all time. When you can get my Mom and me crying over the same movie, you’ve got something special.

hell-or-high-water

  1. HELL OR HIGH WATERA pulpy western of the best kind, Hell Or High Water starts off with it’s foot pushing the pedal all the way down and never letting up. Violent and stylish, Ben Foster, Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges all put in Academy Award worthy performances.

MBTS_3869.CR2

  1. MANCHESTER BY THE SEABrutal and heartbreaking, Kenneth Lonergan’s latest offering is one of the realest films about grief that you’re likely to find. Anchored by a heartbreaking performance by Casey Affleck (with one of the best Massachusetts accents since he was in Gone Baby Gone), this is one of the saddest and most genuine films of the last year.

sw-r1

  1. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORYNot just a great Star Wars movie but a great movie in general, Rogue One lived up to the hype. Much like it’s team of rebels, this film needed every actor working in sync to achieve its ultimate success – and that happened in spades. Proof that you don’t need the “Skywalker Saga” to have a successful Star Wars film.

la-la-land

  1. LA LA LANDDirector Damien Chazelle’s love letter to the old-school musical, La La Land is chock full of great music and snazzy dance numbers. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone shine as Sebastian and Mia, singing and dancing their way through a tumultuous year together that sees as many downs as there are ups. With a bittersweet ending that just feels right, you’ll be singing and dancing your way back to your car after the credits roll.

handmaiden

  1. THE HANDMAIDENThe South Korean crime drama from director Park Chan-wook has more twists and turns than I expected. What starts out as a regular hustle of a wealthy heiress turns out to be much more layered and complex than most crime capers out there. As the double-cross turns into a triple-cross turns into a free-for-all, you’ll want to watch it all over again just to see if you can catch all the little nuances and clues left behind.

moonlight

  1. MOONLIGHTOne of this year’s most rewarding films, director Barry Jenkins has crafted a beautiful love story in the unlikeliest of places. Focusing on Chiron – and to an extent Kevin – over three pivotal moments of his life, Moonlight is more than just a story about a person discovering who he is and what love can be. It transcends the regular definitions of masculinity and gives you hope for finding the person that completes you.
Marvel's Captain America: Civil War Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland) Photo Credit: Film Frame © Marvel 2016

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland)
Photo Credit: Film Frame
© Marvel 2016

  1. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WARAs a standalone film Civil War is pretty spectacular. Taken into context with everything that’s come before it and it becomes a monumental achievement. Tying together storylines going all the way back to 2008 and the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: Civil War manages to not only weave together various dangling plot threads from previous films and juggle an already established cast of almost a dozen superheroes but introduce a couple new players to the board and give you an effective villain that makes sense in his motivation (even if his plot was overly complicated in the long run). I just rewatched this before finalizing my list and feel that yes, Captain America: Civil War was the top film of 2016.

 

So there you have it folks. After 212 films I’m a little tired. But was it worth it worth it? I wouldn’t change a thing.

Agree? Disagree? Did I leave a film off that you loved or rank something too high or too low? Sound off in our comments or drop me a line on Twitter. I’m always up for an educated debate.
Until next year, this has been Supernerd. See you at the movies!!

John Wick GOES OFF in the Newest Trailer For ‘John Wick Chapter 2’

john-wick

He’s back. Check out the new trailer for JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 – in UK cinemas February 17, 2017, starring Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane and directed by Chad Stahelski.

In this next chapter following the 2014 hit, legendary hitman John Wick [Keanu Reeves] is forced back out of retirement by a former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome where he squares off against some of the world’s deadliest killers.

 

Check out the First Footage From Blade Runner 2049!

deckard-br2

by: Jay Carlson – Editor-in-chief

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

 

When news broke that after many years of conversation Blade Runner 2049 was officially a go I was against it. Blade Runner ranks among my favorite films of all time. Part of what makes that film so special for me was the ambiguity of its ending. My kneejerk reaction was to shut down the prospect of a sequel, because it would undo everything I love about the original film. Harrison Ford was going to be back so it would have to demystify everything I loved about the world of Blade Runner. Blade Runner 2049 would have to definitively tell you if Deckard was a replicant, right?

What if it didn’t?

I started thinking about how you bring Harrison Ford back to futuristic Los Angeles without messing up what made Ridley Scott’s film a flawed masterpiece. Then it occurred to me. The best way to approach Harrison Ford’s character in Blade Runner 2049 is to make him a replicant.

“But Jay, I thought you just said you liked the ambiguity of the original film.”

I did. But follow along…

The best way to handle the character of Rick Deckard in Blade Runner is to leave that character in the first film. His story ends when those elevator doors shut. What happened after that? Who knows? Was he a replicant? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s whatever you want it to be.

The character Harrison Ford plays in BR 2049 should be a replicant. It preserves the character established in the first film. If you thought he was a replicant and Gaff knew his dreams, he can be a replicant. If you believe he was a human who ran off with an android that he fell in love with, he did. Our Harrison Ford in BR 2049 can be a whole different character. He can be a replicant based on the human Blade Runner we met in the original film. Or maybe he’s another replicant in a long line of Deckard replicants. Pretty cool, right? The important part is this film doesn’t need to answer the questions that the first film asked viewers to answer for themselves.

Deckard the replicant could also open up a very cool plot for BR 2049. Imagine a world where Harrison Ford is the “skin job” on the run, with Ryan Gosling tasked to retire him? That idea makes me positively giddy. Maybe Deckard 2.0 is a replicant who has a human’s lifespan. This is the future, after all.

After coming to the realization that Blade Runner 2 doesn’t  have to ruin what I loved about Blade Runner I am REALLY excited to see what story Villeneuve plans to tell in BR 2049.

Granted this trailer doesn’t tell us much, but I fear they may have gone a little two dimensional with the approach, especially based off of the synopsis released above. It frankly sounds like the plot of The Force Awakens with mixed with the plot to Total Recall (another film based on a Philip K. Dick story). I have ridiculous expectations for this film, my love of Blade Runner rivals my love of Star Wars. I’m really hoping Villeneuve is able to make something really special that stands up proudly next to Ridley Scott’s original film. He’s been knocking everything out of the park for the past few years. If anyone can make worthy sequel it’s him. (If you haven’t already seen it, get out there and see Arrival)

Blade Runner 2049 is set to open 10.6.17

Review – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

star-wars-rogue-one-cast

by: Jay Carlson – Editor-in-Chief

They didn’t lie. Rogue One was certainly a Star Wars Story and a pretty damn good one at that. Equal parts thrilling, dark and hopeful.

The concept is brilliant, focusing an entire film on the theft of the plans to the Death Star which served as the impetus of A New Hope, the very first Star Wars film. It’s such an important detail, but one that most probably never gave a second thought to. Credit to John Knoll for spotting that seed and Gary Whitta for developing a story and creating a whole crew of characters that are new but feel quite right in the Star Wars universe.

First off, fans can breathe a sigh of relief.  The widely reported reshoots do not impact the viewing experience. Rogue One is not a damaged, incoherent film in any way. Is it a perfect film? No. But that doesn’t mean that anything is broken. My complaints after one viewing are all fairly small.

From the get-go we know that this is not our typical Star Wars film. Sure, it begins with the usual “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” but missing is the subsequent text crawl that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in every other Star Wars film previously. This was an inspired decision, one that subconsciously disorients the viewer and puts them in a position they’ve never been in with a Star Wars film before. We have zero idea of where we’re being dropped in the Star Wars universe. We’re not entering with the big picture having just been spoon fed to us. Anything is possible. This is followed by a VERY Star Wars moment, a ship in outer space. But this familiar opening is subverted since we find ourselves in a flashback, a first in Star Wars cinematic history (Rey’s force vision in The Force Awakens is not a flashback). It’s like they’re kinda, sorta playing by the rules, but not. Until I was sitting there watching it unfold, I hadn’t realized how much I’d gotten used to the way a Star Wars film is presented. It was exciting to be in that universe and have things be just a little bit different and not knowing what to expect.

The plot of Rogue One focuses on Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones. Jyn is tough as nails as a result of what she’s seen and how she was raised. She is stoic, even when over her head but there’s a vulnerability that Jones brings to the character that adds an important dimension. But make no mistake, as much as the film hinges on Jyn’s story, this film is an ensemble piece and they’ve assembled a very deep bench of talented and diverse actors and actresses unseen thus far in any Star Wars film, which is great news. There is representation for nearly everyone in the film and it never feels gimmicky or forced.

Most intriguing among them is Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor.  Andor is man of mystery, a character who operates in the gray area, doing bad things for a good cause. He is a means to an end and a character we haven’t seen the likes of before in any Star Wars film, a dark character in a world without much hope. Andor is another example of the way that Rogue One separates itself apart from past Star Wars films. A good guy has never been this bad before. In the other films the characters are either white hats or black hats. (This is where some will bring up Anakin. It’s very different because Anakin was never doing bad things for altrusitic reasons) That is not the case in Rogue One. People who had reservations about Han shooting first are likely to take umbrage with Andor and his actions early in the film. I’ve heard people refer to Cassian Andor as the Han Solo of Rogue One. He’s not. People have a tendency to put characters in a bucket with one of the others that have come before. It’s a mistake and a disservice to well written characters to do this. Han Solo is a fast talking, charming smuggler, which is the polar opposite of Andor, who is a (seemingly) cold and calculating soldier doing whatever it takes for the rebellion.

Also of note is Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Îmwe, stealing nearly every scene he’s in with his daredevil-like fighting prowess and zen-like optimism. Chirrut is the closest thing we have to a Jedi in Rogue One. I wouldn’t want to spoil his backstory but suffice to say this is with good reason. Also noteworthy is Ben Medelsohn as Orson Crennic who delivers a chilling performance, making me wish we’d gotten this same intensity from Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux in The Force Awakens.

Star Wars fans have come to expect that we’ll have multiple films to explore new characters and that is Rogue One’s real problem. I wanted more time with characters like Cassian Andor, Jyn Erso, Saw Gerrera and Chirrut Îmwe. I wanted to see these characters journey prior to Rogue One. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the plot of Rogue One is utilitarian and has to operate at breakneck speed from the very beginning. The plot is literally life or death and there is precious little time to stop and smell the roses, which I appreciated. But the result is that the time we have with these characters feels truncated and left me wanting more. I’m sure that we’ll be getting a lot more of these characters via novels and comics and all the other avenues that Disney have in their arsenal for fans to get their Star Wars fix, but none of it is a suitable replacement for writers, actors and filmmakers all collaborating to bring a performance to life onscreen.

Going in, I was especially worried with how they were going to use Darth Vader in this film after early rumors indicated that we might see Vader in heavy action. It wouldn’t make sense that the very stiff looking Vader of A New Hope would be running around pulling ships out of the sky in action in Rogue One. I was happy to see how they handled Vader in the film. His last scene had me grinning like a fool.

Beyond Vader, it would have been very easy to fill Rogue One with too many nods to the subsequent Original Trilogy films. There are some great references in there, that will have fans excited, but it didn’t feel like they went over the line. This brings me to one of my main issues. Without revealing too much, there is a character in the film that has been brought back by use of CGI and it just doesn’t look right. I’m never that guy who whines about bad CGI, I’m usually pretty forgiving with that stuff, but this is a Star Wars film. Spend whatever you need to spend and take the time to make it look right. Or just don’t do it. As cool as it was that we were seeing this character, the CGI took me right out of it. I’m sure as a still shot the character it looks spot on, but in motion among real actors, it stuck out like a sore thumb. The rendering looked far too smooth and it felt like the dialogue would fall out of sync at any moment. There is another character brought to life with CGI that also bothered me a little, but at least it was brief. Less could have been more in both of these cases, though.

Ultimately, I had a great time with Rogue One. There is something in the film for every Star Wars fan. A credit to the cast and filmmaking team for actually expanding the Star Wars universe in a new and exciting way. I hope that Lucasfilm and Disney take note of what was accomplished with this film and apply what they’ve learned to other upcoming films under the “A Star Wars Story” banner. How cool would it be to have a television arm of Star Wars stories like this? An anthology series with wildly different types of stories that take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away? It’s big galaxy with a big sandbox, let’s get even more talented filmmakers in there and have some fun building things.

I’m sure you have your tickets already, if not get some. I can’t wait to give this one another look, or ten.

What an amazing time it is to be a Star Wars fan!

Josh Weighs the Options on What We Might See for the Third Star Wars Spin-off Film

obi-wan

by: Joshua Outred – Staff Writer

We’re so close to the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that I can taste it; in a matter of days we’ll be settling into our seats at the cinema ready to watch the first non-saga Star Wars film, a very special occasion indeed. The release of this first spin-off film will not only be important for us fans but for the creative minds behind Star Wars too, as Rogue One will stand as a sort of judgment point, where reactions will be analyzed and decisions made about where next to take these standalone movies after the release of ‘Han Solo’ in 2018.

In his recent coverage of Rogue One, Anthony Breznican of Entertainment Weekly reported that January will see the Lucasfilm brain-trust gather together, where they’ll map out the future of Star Wars cinema past Episode IX. Breznican finally confirmed that the third spin-off, set for 2020, was the long rumoured ‘Boba Fett’ film. That film has been temporarily put on hold since Josh Trank’s sudden departure last year. This begs the question of What ‘Star Wars Story’ will we eventually see in 2020? Will the Fett film be reignited, or will a great response to an all new cast of characters with Rogue One see Lucasfilm decide on something completely different and unexpected?

With the future of Star Wars cinema beyond Episode IX being a big question at the moment, I decided to take a little dive into what the third spin-off film could be. What do the fans want, as opposed to what is likely to be greenlit and announced next year.

 

Fan Favorites

Star Wars fans, we’re so demanding.. always wanting for nothing.. Joking aside, I feel like demand is the perfect word to describe certain areas of the fanbases’ hopes and dreams for the third spin-off. Although many of us will be happy with whatever is announced, there is most certainly a fan demand for specific character stories, starting with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes, Kenobi, he’s most certainly a film people want, and according to Anthony Breznican is high on Lucasfilm’s list awaiting the green light. The idea that Obi-Wan spent a many number of years on Tatooine watching over Luke intrigues people, and I can see why they want that story, Ewan McGregor was great as Kenobi in the prequels and seeing him play Obi at an older age where he’s probably learning great truths about the Force is exciting. If the Kenobi film were to be set in the period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, there’s also a chance we’d see a younger Luke Skywalker and other classic characters return at a point in their life we have yet to see, I can see the interest. One thing that puts me off is this, what more about Obi-Wan Kenobi do we need to know? He’s a character with a lot of exposition thus far and unless Lucasfilm has great plans for him, I’m not so invested in a film revolving around him.

kotorfullboxartThe Old Republic and Origins of the Jedi. These two also keep coming up, there’s a huge amount of love out there for the Old Republic games, although I’ve never cared for them or that era. There is a large portion of the Star Wars fanbase who want to see that era reimagined on screen in the new canon. I think it’s an era that will eventually be explored, I feel that the current sequel trilogy is going to set up some form of backstory in which an Old Republic-Jedi Origin film will be able to explain how the Force became more than just that, how it became something beings embraced, using for good and for evil. I feel that a Jedi-Origin story could certainly tie into that era, hence why I’ve included both in this segment. It’s possible that Lucasfilm would want the origin of the Jedi Knights to be set in an era where the Old Republic exists, in doing so we would gain exposition on both stories, ‘killing two birds with one stone’ so to speak. I’ll be completely frank with you here, I have absolutely zero interest in visiting the Old Republic era and/or the complete beginnings of the Jedi, I don’t feel like it’s an era that necessarily needs to be explored, and to be honest, a time set so many thousands of years prior to where The Phantom Menace began may feel too far departed from what Star Wars is, a certain visual language that may have to abandoned when traveling so far into the past. The Jedi Origin story would be better utilized in pieces, being referenced in the films, not demystifying the whole thing with a film laying it all out. Sometimes less is more. (Jay: I’d imagine a lesson was learned by demystifying Vader in the Prequel Trilogy)

One more popular choice, there is.. Now, who could that be? The little green guy himself, Yoda. Although not voiced as often as the previous mentions above, people really would love a Yoda origin story. When it was first announced back in 2012 that Lucasfilm would be producing spin-off films, the popular three that were rumored were, ‘Han Solo’, ‘Boba Fett’ and ‘Yoda’. We now know we’re getting the ‘Han Solo’ film in 2018, and have recently gained more confirmation on the Fett film being one of the other’s, originally set to be the second until the controversy with Josh Trank benched the film. So could the other long rumored ‘Yoda’ film be the third standalone? Unlikely. The reason I say so is because I don’t think it’s a character Lucasfilm wants to necessarily Yoda Frank Oz Star Warstell a personal story about (at least not yet), I have no doubt that it’ll be made eventually, but in the first wave of films, doubtful. Yoda is a wildly popular character, and he’s shrouded in mystery so much so we don’t even know the name of his species (maybe Lucasfilm doesn’t either..?). A Yoda origin story could be incredible, not only would his character be exciting to really open up with, it’d be an incredible chance for the filmmakers to push the boundaries and use
every trick in the book to pull off successfully, embracing the oldest filmmaking tricks all the way down to those yet to be explored. I’d say leave it for now, it may be something better left for the future. (Jay: fingers crossed that it’s a romcom between Yoda and Maz Kanata. Imagine that Meet/Cute)

 

Likely Announcement

lando-fettWith the Lucasfilm brain-trust getting together in January to plot and green light future projects, it’s up in the air as to what will be chosen as the third Anthology film. The answer essentially comes down to the reaction of Rogue One, even though I feel that specific line of thinking is a little safe, that’s
Lucasfilm basically saying that if Rogue One doesn’t receive outstanding reactions they’ll go back to playing it safe, when they should really be going with whatever stories they want to tell, not what we want them to tell. So, what’s likely? Well, we’ve heard that the ‘Boba Fett/Bounty Hunter’ film mentioned previously is still a favorite and they’ve already done quite a bit of work already behind the scenes, but it would certainly undergo some changes with a new director coming on board. The Fett film could also tie into the ‘Han Solo’ film if it’s set around a younger Boba, being a perfect opportunity to tie two origin films together. Although a Fett film isn’t as much a popular choice as say, Obi-Wan, it’s a film I want to see and have always wanted to see. Boba Fett is a badass looking character, his imagery is iconic and yet he’s done nothing but flop on screen, I get that.. his onscreen physical performances ave kinda suck thus far, but it’s time to see the real in-universe reason for his reputation. There’s a story to be told with Fett, whether or not it’s of his younger self and a possible rivalry with young smuggler, Solo, or if they canonized his escape from the Sarlacc pit, there’s story there to be told. Imagine a noir-esque crime-thriller with Fett as the leading man? Yeah, I’d dig it!

 

What do I want?

What do I want to see? Well, I set that one up for you already and most who know me well know I love Boba Fett, I’m also an absolute sucker for crime-thrillers, so combining the two and having the likes of Kim Jee-Woo (I Saw The Devil) direct, I think that speaks for itself. I’m definitely interested in seeing Lucasfilm experiment with genre-style films for the spin-off’s, I’m less interested in seeing these flicks just explore the lore of Star Wars and more interested in the filmmakers bringing their specific styles to the table, where they can really let loose and spin the visual language of Star Wars in beautiful knots with a more personal stylistic language.

Rogue One is a matter of days away, and this is going to stand as a turning point in Star Wars cinema. It’ll set precedent for what comes next, and I truly hope Star Wars cinema pushes its boundaries, continuing diversity in its casting and stylistically speaking in terms of the visual language used by the future filmmakers.

Check This Out! Judd Apatow is Making a Garry Shadling Documentary!

shandling

by: Jay Carlson – Editor-in-chief

To know Garry Shandling was to love Garry Shandling, this seemed especially true for those privileged enough to have known Garry personally, but for many others like myself, we loved Garry through his amazing body of work. In a year that we lost some true icons, his passing struck me harder than most of them. There was just something so genuine and honest about him, that made me feel like he was a friend. Years from now, we’ll look back at 2016 and say, “ Bowie, Prince, Wilder, Shandling, Rickman and then fucking Trump?!…Boy, 2016 really stuck it in and broke it off, didn’t it? “

I can vividly recall spending time with Garry Shandling via The Larry Sanders Show, his revolutionary HBO show back in the 90’s. My town felt like one of the last in the world to get cable. (There was a time, not very long ago where this wasn’t so uncommon.) I spent much of my childhood in the 80’s fighting with a set of rabbit ears on my small color TV. It didn’t pull much in and what it did pull in didn’t come in very well. When we finally got Cable I watched a LOT of HBO, mostly for the movies but then for their original TV shows. The Larry Sanders Show had me hooked from the first Jeffery Tambor “Hey now!” (Honorable mention goes to Brian Benben on Dream On)

One of the men behind the scenes on The Larry Sanders Show was a young Judd Apatow, who would write and produce numerous episodes of that iconic show. Apatow’s connection to Shandling actually began a decade before his work on Shandling’s HBO show, though. As a teenager in the early 80’s Apatow interviewed Shandling as well as many other comedians he idolized for a show he created for his high school radio station (solely as a way to meet his heroes. I can relate).

Shortly after Shandling’s passing, Apatow would tell The Wrap: “I just don’t know how to sum up someone I loved so much who taught me everything I know and was always so kind to me. I am just too sad. Maybe tomorrow I will do better.” Given some time, it seems Apatow has figured out how best he can sum up Shandling, by crafting a  documentary film about the legend. Yesterday Apatow posted a picture of he and Kevin Nealon with the caption: “Shooting started today on a documentary I am making about Garry Shandling. Kevin Nealon was our first interview.”

Shooting started today on a documentary I am making about Garry Shandling. Kevin Nealon was our first interview.

A photo posted by Judd Apatow (@juddapatow) on Nov 30, 2016 at 8:23pm PST

It’s inspirational to see Apatow using his chosen art to transform his grief into a tribute for such an amazing showman. With a career spanning over forty years, he crossed paths and made friends with many. I’m sure Garry’s friends will have no shortage of  stories to share. Apatow is a filmmaker who always manages to mix the heartfelt with the hilarious in the most amazing ways. It feels like his path has been leading right to this film. I’m eager to see what he puts together to honor Shandling.

Emilia Clarke Joins Lord and Miller’s ‘Han Solo’ Film

emilia-clarke

by: Joshua Outred – Staff Writer

StarWars.com have officially revealed that Emilia Clarke has joined the cast of the yet untitled, ‘Han Solo’ spin-off film.

Emilia Clarke, who is best known for her role as Daenerys Targaryen in the hit HBO series, Game of Thrones, has landed the female lead role in Phillip Lord and Chris Miller’s Han Solo origin story. The third cast member to be announced, Clarke joins Alden Ehrenreich as young Han Solo, and Donald Glover, who will portray a younger Lando Calrissian – Chewie of course, is set to return.

This untitled ‘Han Solo’ story is starting to come together, and the casting of the accomplished Emilia Clarke definitely impresses me, though – I do have one issue. Previously, Variety reported that three actresses were in the later stages of testing for the female role in the film, Tessa Thompson (Creed), Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road) and Naomi Scott (The Martian) all reportedly tried out, all actresses of minority – yet the white, brunette actress ended up with the part. Let’s hope that these three actresses were testing for a different role altogether. With the events happening around us right now, the casting of the female lead going to an actress of minority would’ve been a powerful and hopeful message.

It’s curious to note that Clarke, along with Daisy Ridley and Felicity Jones are all British. Interesting that the three female leads all hail from across the pond. 

The ‘Han Solo’ film is set for release in May of 2018. Written by Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan, with Phillip Lord and Chris Miller sharing the director’s chair.

It’s Official ‘Deadpool 2’ to be Directed by John Wick’s, David Leitch!

Deadpool

 

by: Joshua Outred – Staff Writer

Fantastic news! Variety has revealed that John Wick director, David Leitch, has officially signed on to helm the Deadpool sequel.

David Leitch replaces director, Tim Miller, who dropped out of the project last month due to creative differences. Miller’s departure from the sequel came as a shock, disappointing many after the fantastic job he did with Deadpool, which raked in a massive $782.6 million. The news of Leitch’s appointment doesn’t come as a shock, he’s been the frontrunner for the position ever since Miller exited the project.

John Wick was actually David Leitch’s directorial debut, co-directed with Chad Stahelski, both had previously only done second-unit directorial work. Leitch is the perfect choice to helm Deadpool 2, his stylistic choice couldn’t fit better with the outspoken superhero, expect some huge action from the sequel!

Deadpool 2 is yet to be given a release date.

A New Extended Rogue One TV Spot is Here!

sw-r1

 

From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is directed by Gareth Edwards and stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, with Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker. Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel are producing, with John Knoll and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The story is by John Knoll and Gary Whitta, and the screenplay is by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy.  “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016.