Articles on this Page
- 12/21/17--07:09: _'Not my Luke Skywal...
- 12/21/17--07:57: _Matt Damon on the s...
- 12/21/17--08:10: _23 'Star Wars' refe...
- 12/21/17--08:13: _The reviews for Net...
- 12/21/17--10:25: _Rian Johnson explai...
- 12/21/17--10:51: _'I'm always the bad...
- 12/21/17--12:40: _RANKED: The 15 best...
- 12/21/17--13:53: _REVIEW: Jessica Cha...
- 12/22/17--06:28: _The best characters...
- 12/22/17--06:29: _8 unreal landscapes...
- 12/22/17--07:22: _There are 10 major ...
- 12/22/17--08:24: _Conservatives are c...
- 12/22/17--08:46: _Louis C.K.'s unrele...
- 12/22/17--08:49: _RANKED: The 11 best...
- 12/22/17--10:44: _In a career filled ...
- 12/22/17--11:24: _Why 'The Last Jedi'...
- 12/22/17--11:48: _REVIEW: Will Smith'...
- 12/23/17--05:37: _Shrinking humans li...
- 12/23/17--11:43: _The 10 highest-gros...
- 12/24/17--08:49: _'The Last Jedi' wil...
- Matt Damon explained why his new movie, "Downsizing," is such a rarity to be made in the Hollywood system.
- The actor defended the other movie he was in this year, George Clooney's "Suburbicon," and why he believes the critics were too harsh on Clooney.
- Damon also said that in this watershed moment of sexual misconduct allegations coming to light, we're not talking enough about the men in Hollywood who don't abuse their position.
- 12/21/17--08:10: 23 'Star Wars' references you may have missed in 'The Last Jedi'
- Reviews for "Bright," a big-budget Netflix fantasy movie starring Will Smith, are out.
- It's a buddy-cop movie with orcs and fairies.
- Critics say the movie, directed by David Ayer of "Suicide Squad," is eye-roll-worthy
- "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson explained why Captain Phasma doesn't get a lot of screen time.
- The fan favorite also had a small amount of scenes in "The Force Awakens," so she may be headed to the Boba Fett-level of "Star Wars" fan obsession.
- Tonya Harding talked to ABC's "Good Morning America" about the attack on her Olympic figure skating rival Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.
- The attack was orchestrated by Harding's ex-husband, but some people still think she was behind it.
- She says the media had already convicted her: "I'm always the bad person."
- Harding says she still cares about people who wrongly think she was behind the attack.
- "Is it a challenge from the Lord to see how far I can be pushed until I break and become nothing?" Harding said. "You can't push me that far anymore. Because I've been nothing."
- "It's my faith in myself and in my father that comes back to me — and makes me get back off my butt and be something worth being proud of," Harding continued.
- Harding's life is dramatized in the movie "I, Tonya" and covered in the new ABC documentary "Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story."
- Watch part of Harding's interview below.
- 12/21/17--12:40: RANKED: The 15 best movies of the year, according to critics
- Yes, the Porgs in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" are adorable, but we need to talk about the space nuns on the island of Ahch-To.
- They're called Caretakers.
- They're all female characters.
- They're animated with actors inside. Daisy Ridley's friend played one.
- There are more than 10 limited and wide releases coming to theaters Christmas week.
- INSIDER rounded up the big releases you should see and skip.
- If you're looking to skip the blockbusters, maybe see "Post,""Molly's Game,""Phantom Thread," and "Lady Bird."
- The "Jumanji" reboot/sequel also isn't a bad family choice.
- Skip "The Greatest Showman" and potentially "Pitch Perfect 3." The third time isn't always a charm.
- Some conservative commentators are calling out Tom Hanks for saying he wouldn't screen his latest film, the newspaper drama "The Post," at the White House.
- Hanks said in a recent interview that he takes issue with what he sees as the Trump administration's attempts to "denigrate" the freedom of the press.
- Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Fox News host Laura Ingraham, along with a number of social media users, were quick to voice negative reactions in response to Hanks.
- 12/22/17--08:46: Louis C.K.'s unreleased new movie is leaked onto torrent sites
- Louis C.K.'s movie "I Love You, Daddy" has hit torrent sites.
- This is following the movie's distributor being in final talks to sell the movie back to the comic.
- The movie was never released after sexual misconduct allegations against C.K. were reported by The New York Times. C.K. later said the allegations were true.
- 12/22/17--08:49: RANKED: The 11 best movies of 2017
- Ben Mendelsohn plays King George VI in "Darkest Hour," one of the rare times he hasn't played a bad guy in a movie.
- Don't worry though, he's got some major bad guy roles coming, like Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robin Hood" and the villain in "Ready Player One."
- But he's quiet about a possible return of his "Rogue One" character Director Krennic in any future "Star Wars" movies.
- The movie "Downsizing" imagines a world where a small percentage of the population elects to shrink themselves to 5 inches tall.
- In the downsized world, people are richer, and their environmental footprint is smaller.
- Scientists say it's not really possible to shrink people "at the cellular level" like this, but there are real ways to make humans smaller that could help offset carbon emissions.
- 12/23/17--11:43: The 10 highest-grossing movies of 2017 that ruled the box office
- "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" continues to dominate at the box office.
- It will be the third-best domestic box office earner of 2017 by Christmas day.
- "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" has an impressive start to its theatrical run.
Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."
Add some fuel to the fire for fans who are upset with "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."
It turns out not even Luke Skywalker himself was happy with some of the directions the latest "Star Wars" saga took. In press interviews for the film, Mark Hamill has been very vocal about his displeasure with director Rian Johnson's choices for his beloved character.
But it's one interview in particular where Hamill gets visibly upset with Skywalker being a grumpy, old Jedi in exile in "Episode VIII" that has started to get fans to talk.
"I said to Rian, I said, Jedis don't give up. I mean even if he [Luke] had a problem he would maybe take a year to try and regroup," said Hamill. "If he made a mistake, he would try and right that wrong. So, right there we had a fundamental difference. But, it's not my story anymore. It's somebody else's story [Rey's], and Rian needed me to be a certain way to make the ending effective."
Hamill didn't stop there.
"Luke would never say that. I'm sorry," Hamill continued. "I'm talking about the George Lucas 'Star Wars.' This is the next generation of 'Star Wars.' I almost had to think of Luke as another character. Maybe he's Jake Skywalker. He's not my Luke Skywalker. But I had to do what Rian wanted me to do because it serves the story well. Listen, I still haven't accepted it completely, but it's only a movie. I hope people like it. I hope they don't get upset."
It's the "not my Luke Skywalker" line from Hamill which prompted a lot of commenters on the video to start replying with #NotMyLuke.
In "The Last Jedi" shows Skywalker as a curmudgeon who considered killing his nephew when he learned he had the same darkness in him that his father had. Fans thought that betrayed everything Skywalker believed in since he ultimately saved his father, Lord Vader, in the original trilogy from his dark demons.
This isn't the first time Hamill has spoken up about his role in "Episode VIII."
In Vanity Fair's May issue, Hamill first voiced signs he wasn't satisfied with the direction of Luke's character.
"I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character," said Hamill. "Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision."
Since the film's release, he has given several other press interviews where his dissatisfaction shines through. Fans have started compiling them together on YouTube out of context from the larger interviews.
It's understandable that Hamill's a bit upset.
He understands Luke perhaps better than almost anyone other than creator George Lucas after playing him in the original trilogy. The actor was also aware in the '80s that Lucas had a plan for more "Star Wars" movies.
According to a Time magazine article from March 1978, Lucas originally had plans for up to 12 "Star Wars" films. Before Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, Lucas convinced Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford to sign on for "Episode VII." He had written treatment scripts for the new trilogy that Disney did away with.
It's possible Hamill probably has some vague idea of where Lucas originally wanted to take the story.
And that could be another reason he's visibly upset about "The Last Jedi."
You can watch the clip from the press interview below:
If you haven’t noticed recently, Matt Damon has a lot of opinions.
The actor and Oscar-winning screenwriter is never shy about giving his thoughts on a range of topics, and when Business Insider met with him in New York City in mid-December, it was no different.
Damon was there to talk about his new movie, “Downsizing,” his first time working with acclaimed Oscar-winning writer-director Alexander Payne (“Election,” “Sideways,” “The Descendants”). Damon plays a man who undergoes a shrinking experiment that a growing number of others in the world are choosing. By shrinking to five inches in size, the procedure is billed as being a better way to protect the environment, with the added perk of micro-sized surroundings and possessions that allow the middle class to live like millionaires. The satire explores issues of class, economics, and the things we convince ourselves make up the American Dream. It’s the sort of movie a Hollywood studio never makes anymore.
Below, Damon explained why that’s the case. He also defended the other movie he was in this year, George Clooney’s “Suburbicon,” which he felt the critics were too harsh on. Damon also gave his thoughts on the countless sexual misconduct allegations in Hollywood, which we published earlier this week.
Jason Guerrasio: Did you know about the "Downsizing" script? Because Alexander and his cowriter Jim Taylor had written it a while ago.
Matt Damon: I hadn't heard about it. I guess they started it after “Sideways” and originally Alexander wanted Paul Giamatti for the part. Thankfully for me, he didn't get it made for ten years so I got the chance. So he called me and asked and I've wanted to work with him for a while. I wasn't sure if he was joking or not because it's such an absurd premise. But he gave me a script.
Guerrasio: The movie on the outside has a save-the-world-vibe, and you've always been big on the environment, like your efforts with the world's water crisis —
Damon: But this isn't a message film.
Guerrasio: Not at all. Is it what was beyond the surface of the movie that grabbed you?
Damon: Yeah. There's so much stuff in there — America today, class conflict. But really I thought it's an optimistic movie, though it focuses on the apocalypse. But in the face of the apocalypse it's these human kindnesses that are in it.
Guerrasio: The big thing for me was that a studio got behind a movie like this.
Damon: Tell me about it.
Guerrasio: They don't do that for these kind of movies anymore.
Damon: Right. And we were supposed to make this a year earlier and didn't because the funding fell apart. So it was really hard to find a way to make it. It's just a challenging movie but also it's just a challenging time. The margins are so narrow now that executives are just risk averse. If you're going to make a movie that doesn't have superheroes or sequel potential it's just very hard to get that made now.
Guerrasio: But I would think your name involved opens some check books.
Damon: Less than you would think. When we did “Behind the Candelabra,” for instance, that had Steven [Soderbergh] directing it and Michael [Douglas] and me, we couldn't get a studio to give us $25 million (HBO ended up buying the movie).
Guerrasio: Because they don't see anything worth their time that's in that $20 million - $30 million range?
Damon: Well, if you look at $25 million, you're going to have to put at least that amount into P&A (prints and advertising) and you're going to split it with the exhibitor, so you're in for $50 million, so it's going to have to make $100 million before you even start seeing any profit. So a movie like “Behind the Candelabra,” these studio chiefs had to go, "Well, is it going to make $100 million? And is it going to make $130 million so I can get something back?" These are very real dollar and cents conversations.
I have a first look deal with Ben [Affleck] for our company at Warner Bros., and there are movies that we bring to them and we like them they are great about it, but when we pitch they go "Okay, we'll run the numbers." It's not personal, they have to look at their slate of titles coming up and their business model and it just becomes really challenging to find way to get these kind of movies made.
Guerrasio: Now that's what makes what you put out this year quite a feat. Both "Downsizing" and "Suburbicon" are very challenging movies, but a big studio, Paramount, released both of them.
Damon: Yeah. And I hope this one does better than "Suburbicon." I mean, I wouldn’t change a frame of "Suburbicon."
Guerrasio: I’ll be 100% honest with you, I wasn't totally into "Suburbicon"—
Damon: Many felt the same way.
Guerrasio: But what I will say is I love it when you do the off-the-rail roles.
Damon: I did back-to-back-to-back "The Martian,""The Great Wall,""Jason Bourne," and George called in the middle of making "Jason Bourne" and it really was a chance to work with George that interested me. But I love the concept of the movie. As you say, it was really something different. I had never been able to do something like that.
Guerrasio: When the movie comes out and isn't the reaction you guys obviously were hoping for, can you just move on? Or are you a person that at 2 AM has to go online and read the reviews?
Damon: In that situation it's easier for me than George. He spent two years on it and it does sting. It was made for a price. It's a calculated miss, but it sucks. And nowadays, when the reviews come out, it's almost like the reviewers are trying to one-up each other to see how creatively they can abuse a movie. And when movies are made in good faith you can tell. You can tell when one is a cash grab and one is not. And you may not like the movie, but you can see when it's crafted at a certain level. I think it deserves a different level of review.
Guerrasio: Well, we do live in a world where the headline rules all.
Damon: Yes! Exactly. And I thought the reviews were oddly personal in terms of how they attacked George. Julianne [Moore] and I, we were kind of let off the hook, but they really went after George.
Guerrasio: And I think some of that is people respect his work as a director, so when they see something like this movie they are kind of in shock how much of a swing and miss it was.
Damon: Yeah, but then say that! I get that. But you also want people to take big swings because sometimes they connect.
Guerrasio: Projects for you coming up: I’ve heard in the past you're developing a Bobby Kennedy movie, is that something that's still hanging out there?
Damon: It's still in the ether. Hopefully we're going to get it made soon, we got to get it set up somewhere. That's one of the ones we went to Warner Bros. with and they ran their numbers and said this isn't a Warner Bros. movie. And I agree, it's not. I mean, we were having this meeting and I'm sitting there with [Warner Bros. head] Toby [Emmerich] and he's got the "Wonder Woman" poster behind him. [Laughs.]
Guerrasio: My last question. How much does the sexual misconduct allegations that are constantly coming out in Hollywood affect how you choose a project going forward? Do you really have to think now if you want to be on a project if an actor, producer, or director has allegations against them? Because as we saw with Kevin Spacey, Netflix won’t release the Gore Vidal movie they made with Spacey starring because of the allegations against him.
Damon: That always went into my thinking. I mean, I wouldn't want to work with somebody who — life's too short for that. But the question of if somebody had allegations against them, you know, it would be a case-by-case basis. You go, “What's the story here?”
But, we're in this watershed moment, and it's great, but I think one thing that's not being talked about is there are a whole s---load of guys — the preponderance of men I've worked with — who don't do this kind of thing and whose lives aren't going to be affected. If I have to sign a sexual-harassment thing, I don't care, I'll sign it. I would have signed it before. I don't do that, and most of the people I know don't do that. So I think it's important that powerful people aren't abusing their stations and they are held to account. To whatever degree they do.
But besides that, I always think about who I'm going to work with and if it's going to be a good experience, if it's going to be a positive experience. We're making movies, nobody should be getting hurt.
Warning: There are spoilers ahead for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is in theaters and while you may be searching your feelings on the sequel, the eighth installment in the Skywalker saga contains many references to films in the franchise that came before it.
You may have noticed lines of dialogue that are symmetrical to old ones, little Easter eggs for diehard fans, and familiar scenes mirrored from older movies.
Keep reading to see what you may have missed the first time around watching "The Last Jedi."
An X-wing ship is briefly seen submerged under the water on Ahch-To.
Rey briefly spies it while wandering the island.
That's Luke's old X-wing he took to get to the island.
You may have spotted part of the X-wing elsewhere on the island.
Luke's door on his small hut is made out of one of the ship's movable wing panels. Chewie destroys it when he busts into Luke's hut.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
If Netflix has its way, "Bright" will be the start of a new major franchise that will rock Hollywood. It's the first major fantasy action movie from the franchise, with a reported $90 million budget and starring one of the biggest names in the world: Will Smith. The movie doesn't come out on the streaming service until Friday, and Netflix is already planning a sequel.
"Bright" takes place in a world where humans, elves, orcs, and other magical creatures all coexist. Smith plays an LAPD officer who teams up with an Orc (played by Joel Edgerton) and finds a magical artifact that threatens the world as they know it.
Critics hate it. Here's what they're saying.
The story is unbelievably stupid.
"You’d struggle to find something in 'Bright' — there’s like, maybe, one sequence of banter between Smith’s Ward and Edgerton’s Nick that didn’t make you want to scoff. But it’s right at the end and you’d have to make it through 110 minutes of epic eye-rolls to get there, and the thing with streaming is there is no obligation to sit through it all — it’s not like you paid $22 to walk through the cinema door."
The movie develops potentially interesting racial metaphors.
"Hulking orcs are discriminated against (though they still play in the N.F.L.), while sleek elves live in luxury and 'run everything.' There are also bird-size fairies that sometimes fly around; perhaps they are sentient as well. But when our hero, L.A. cop Daryl Ward (Smith) swats and kills one, he announces, 'Fairy lives don’t matter today' —a typical example of the film’s attempts at humor."
...but then turns them into sour jokes.
"It’s rare to see a movie so toxic that it manages to raise multiple red flags before the very first shot, but 'Bright' is a special piece of work. As if the goofy crackle of blue magic that runs through the Netflix logo isn’t enough of a warning sign, that gag is followed by a card for a production company called 'Trigger Warning Entertainment.' Just gonna go out on a limb and suggest that these might not be the best people to make a thinly veiled metaphor for America’s racial violence that starts with Will Smith swatting a rodent-like garden sprite and declaring that 'Fairy lives don’t matter!' Lock and load, snowflakes!"
The mythology is underbaked.
"The elevator pitch is easy enough to understand, even if it requires some further explanation: 'Bright' is essentially “Training Day” meets “The Lord of the Rings,” but much dumber than that sounds. Imagine, if you will, that the war for Middle Earth was a seismic event on our timeline, and that all of the various fantasy creatures who participated in the fight simply went their separate ways once it was over."
"Suicide Squad" director David Ayer made another flop.
"As for Ayer’s direction, 'Bright' has a lot more in common with his thudding, at-times-incomprehensible 'Suicide Squad' than his respectably lean tough-guy movies 'Fury' and 'End of Watch.' The film’s look and tone is so aggressively grim that the title almost seems like a joke."
Netflix should rein him in.
"'Bright' feels like a testament to the Hollywood development process. Fair or not, the kinks that undo Bright feel like the kind of issues that would have been ironed out along the way in a conventional movie studio scenario, with script polishing and script doctoring potentially making for a better movie from the same promising core concept."
The script, by "Victor Frankenstein's" Max Landis, clumsily makes a mess of racial issues.
"Astoundingly bad in virtually every way ... Max Landis’ script — supposedly rewritten heavily by Ayer — turns the whole mess into a parable of discrimination, clumsily evoking troubling moments in race relations both new ('Faerie lives don’t matter today') and old (the Rodney King beating) to preach tolerance while somehow doubling down on stereotypes of Latinos and other people of color."
At least they put some thought into the movie's design.
"There are some legitimately fun touches in all of this. I appreciate that most of the elves look like they’ve had work done, a kind of IRL Facetune glow. The Illuminati hideout is inside a believably drab L.A. apartment complex, because of course that is where you would hide an altar to the Dark Lord."
Will Smith made a huge mistake.
"Things go seriously off the rails as the film lurches to its conclusion. Smith seems to know how bad the film is so he agrees to have his face hit repeatedly, leaving it puffy and bloody. Perhaps he hopes no one can recognize him anymore. But there's no escaping the truth. This film makes his misfire 'Wild Wild West' looks like 'The Godfather.' Plus, he knows he just buried the buddy cop film genre. You'll never see two cops swapping snide comments in the front seat of a cruiser again — and not laugh."
Some critics appreciate that there's an action fantasy for grown-ups.
"'Bright' transposes fantasy elements commonly found in kids’ entertainment to the world of heavy-duty adult action (for instance, its Fairies are nothing like Tinkerbell, but foul-mouthed pests with razor-sharp teeth). In the tradition of Dennis Hopper’s 'Colors,' Ayer has delivered another bloody, street-level cop movie, where even the most beloved characters can be shot, and the law is just a loose suggestion that folks on either side freely ignore.
If Netflix is the future of movies, it needs to do better.
"If this gambit pays off — if Netflix fortifies their assault on the theatrical experience by internally developing blockbuster-sized movies that are even semi-consciously optimized for disinterested audiences — then it’s hard to imagine how dark the future of feature-length filmmaking might be."
"Bright" is out Friday.
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Warning: Spoilers below if you haven’t seen “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
One of the major knocks about “The Force Awakens” was that stormtrooper leader Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) had very little screen time. Well, we're sad to break it to you, but she has even less in “The Last Jedi.”
She’s a character that instantly became a fan favorite when unveiled — chrome stormtrooper armor and all — leading up to the release of “The Force Awakens.” But so far we haven't been able to learn much about her in the two movies other than she doesn’t like First Order deserter, Finn (John Boyega).
At the end of “The Force Awakens,” she was thrown into Starkiller Base’s trash compactor, and in “The Last Jedi,” she literally shows up for just one scene to fight Finn. Things don’t turn out well for Phasma again; she loses the fight and falls into the fire that’s consuming the massive First Order ship,“Supremacy.”
“The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson wasn't coy about it when Business Insider brought up the lack of Phasma in the movie.
“There wasn't a ton of Phasma that we shot for this,” he said. “The God's honest truth is, if you take a look at the movie, it's so full already. There are so many characters to serve already, and it's tough because Phasma really enters the movie when she needs to, and she does exactly what she needs to do in it. She's someone at the tail end of Finn's journey that represents his past for him to have this cathartic moment of being on the side of good and fighting her. The notion of having a side plot of Phasma throughout the course of the film — look, I love Gwen [Christie]. I love Phasma. It would have been fun. But it just wasn't the story we were telling. There just wasn't a place for it. We already had quite a full plate to deal with in terms of all the other characters.”
Johnson has a point. The movie already has a final running time of two-and-a-half hours — the longest “Star Wars” movie ever — and it’s because there are a handful of new characters in the movie that have to be explored. But many fans are disappointed that Phasma didn’t get much of a story arc in either movie.
“Look, I'm bummed about it too,” Johnson said. “I wish we could have more Phasma. Just the truth of it is there wasn't room for her in this movie. She's so badass, I wish it was her story. But it isn't. Maybe there will be one eventually at some point.”
It’s hard to tell if that’s wishful thinking or if Johnson is dropping a hint. But at the very least, it would be nice to learn in “Episode IX” that Phasma survived the fire and is involved in more of the plot in the trilogy's finale.
If not, Captain Phasma will stand alongside Boba Fett as the most underused (and fan-obsessed) “Star Wars” characters of all time.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is currently playing in theaters.
We've taken a look at the most disappointing movies of the year, now let's look back on the best.
INSIDER compiled together the top-reviewed movies by critics across Rotten Tomatoes for 2017. The list doesn't simply include the movies with the highest scores. It's sorted by an adjusted score which accounts for the number of reviews available per movie.
If you're looking for something good to watch before starting the new year with a clean slate, add these to your holiday watch list.
15. "The Shape of Water"
What it's about: Guillermo del Toro's movie set in the 1960s is about a mute janitor who forms a bond with an amphibian who just so happens to be a classified experiment. The movie won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year.
Review consensus:"'The Shape of Water' finds Guillermo del Toro at his visually distinctive best — and matched by an emotionally absorbing story brought to life by a stellar Sally Hawkins performance."
You can read our sister site Business Insider's review here.
14. "The Florida Project"
What it's about: You may see the area around the Disney parks differently after watching this indie movie about the hard-working, struggling-to-survive community that lives in a motel outside of the theme park's walls. The film follows the life of a mother and her six-year-old daughter trying to get by week to week.
Review consensus: "The Florida Project offers a colorfully empathetic look at an underrepresented part of the population that proves absorbing even as it raises sobering questions about modern America." It also found a fan in Drake.
You can read more about the movie here.
13. "I Am Not Your Negro"
What it's about: Director Raoul Peck imagines the book James Baldwin started but never finished before his death in 1987. It was about the lives and assassinations of his friends Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Medgar Evers. The movie makes parallels between the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements.
This technically came out December 2016 for one week for Oscar consideration, but it wasn't released nationwide until February 3, 2017.
Review consensus: "'I Am Not Your Negro' offers an incendiary snapshot of James Baldwin's crucial observations on American race relations -- and a sobering reminder of how far we've yet to go."
You can read more on the movie here.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Few screenwriters have writing as recognizable as Aaron Sorkin's.
Known for his snappy dialogue and abrasive male characters, he's responsible for some of the most acclaimed dramas of the past 25 years, like "A Few Good Men,""The West Wing," and "The Social Network."
With "Molly's Game," he takes up directing duties for the first time, too. The movie is based on the life of Molly Bloom, who grabbed headlines in 2013 when, in her 20s, she was charged with running high-stakes poker games that drew celebrities like Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ben Affleck, sports stars like Alex Rodriguez, finance titans, and a network of mobsters. Tabloids named her the "poker princess."
Bloom wrote a memoir about her experience, and Sorkin's movie — starring Jessica Chastain — draws from the book as well as the court cases that followed. Sorkin can never resist a good courtroom scene.
Why should you care: Aaron Sorkin moves up the Hollywood ladder — and he gives Jessica Chastain a great role.
Every movie Aaron Sorkin writes is worth looking at, so it's exciting that he brought his talents to directing as well.
For the movie, he assembled an excellent cast, with Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, and Michael Cera as the main characters.
Fun fact: "Molly's Game" is also the second movie of the year to have a mini-speech about how it's terrible to place fourth in the Olympics, after "I, Tonya."
What's hot: It's a fun, rollicking story.
Simply put, it's fun to watch Bloom go from wide-eyed college graduate to running secret high-stakes poker games for the 1%, crash back down, and then try to redeem herself. It's a compelling, gossipy story, and Sorkin has fun with it.
The casting is great. Chastain breathes life into Sorkin's witty dialogue instead of spitting it out like an angry robot. She's the perfect person to play Molly Bloom, an ethically-conflicted woman who takes the world by storm and cracks down on men. Cera's Tobey Maguire (referred to as "Player X" in the movie) is funny, but he also manages to depict him as a sneaky operator, like he comes across in Bloom's memoir. And Elba, always welcome in a movie, is a solid presence as Bloom's lawyer.
One of Sorkin's favorite subjects is the justice system, and it's interesting to see Bloom grapple with hard questions. She has a respect for the law — she planned to go to law school before getting involved in gambling — and she struggles to balance that with her own ethical decisions.
What's not: Sorkin's weakness as a director highlights his script's flaws.
Sorkin isn't much of a visual stylist. "Molly's Game" looks like it could have been directed by anyone, and especially suffers in comparison to movies like "The Social Network," which director David Fincher deepened with visual parallels to movies like "Citizen Kane."
The sluggish style also lays bare some flaws. Sorkin thinks he can get away with his shaky understanding of technology with fast dialogue, but it doesn't work — a few lines about hard drives and texting records, for example, don't quite make sense.
Some of Sorkin's screenwriting cliches and weaknesses are also on full display. It's great that he's written a strong woman as the main character for one of his movies. But he also makes her less complex than she was in her own memoir, where Bloom has a misogynistic streak. At one point in the book, a man remarks that she "should be barefoot and pregnant, doing yoga or shopping," and Bloom writes that "it was the first time in a while that a man had spoken to me like I was a woman." Bloom never coherently makes up her mind over whether she likes chauvinism or not.
Sorkin never gets around to analyzing that. But he does do plenty of psychoanalyzing about Bloom and her father, which was so silly I blushed. In one scene, Bloom's father finds her in Central Park and gives a whole sermon about how she does everything to win her father's approval. It's like the ending of "Psycho" except she ran a series of gambling rings instead of murdering and pretending to be her mom. Freud works in mysterious ways.
The movie also has this whole conceit about Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible," and leads up to Bloom quoting John Proctor's "Because it is my name" monologue. It's kind of weird, and if you want to see a better version of it, watch Daniel Day-Lewis in the 1989 movie adaptation of the play.
The bottom-line: Jessica Chastain leads a great story with the usual Sorkin problems.
"Molly's Game" is fun, satisfying entertainment. It's a good story, a solid script, and has great actors.
I only wish it went a little further. The movie admirably takes the plot further than Bloom's book — and actually turns her decision to write the book into a whole plot point — but also doesn't analyze her character beyond the obvious points.
The movie also has problems you'll often find in Sorkin's scripts. He's always trying to tell the viewer that he's really smart, but he says a lot of dumb things in the process.
"Molly's Game" will be released Monday.
In the run-up to the release of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," Disney has trumpeted the film’s introduction of Porgs, who look like diabolically cute combinations of pugs and puffins designed in a lab to sell as many toys as possible.
After seeing The Last Jedi, and without spoiling anything else, we can report that the Porgs are pretty darn cute. We have nothing against the Porgs!
But Rian Johnson’s film contains a whole zoo of new, non-Porg Star Wars creatures that are just as, if not more, compelling than the little big-eyed dog-birds (and thankfully far more compelling than the prequels’ weightless CGI beings). For instance, there's a whole species of fish-nuns. They are called Caretakers. They spend most of their time judging Rey. And I love them.
A few facts about the Caretakers, who spend their lives maintaining the Jedi Temple on Ahch-To where Rey has gone to find Luke:
(a) “They’ve been there for thousands of years,” according to Johnson, and they’re supposed to recall the look of a convent. “They’re all female, and I wanted them to feel like a remote sort of little nunnery,” he added. “Neal Scanlan’s crew designed them, and costume designer Michael Kaplan made these working clothes that also reflected sort of a nunlike, spartan sort of existence.”
(b) They are animated with humans inside — one of Daisy Ridley’s friends played a Caretaker.
(c) They communicate through “a blubbery sort of Scottish fish-talk” (extremely same). In the film, we get to know the Caretakers after Rey accidentally blows a hole through a temple with a blaster, and they gather around to fix it and get mad at her. The Caretakers are not interested in her tortured backstory or her deeply middle-school emo telepathic AIM love-hate relationship with Kylo Ren. They just want things to look nice.
Though the "Star Wars" films tend to hinge on operatic battles between light and dark, "The Last Jedi" finds time to spend with creatures who exist outside that conflict, and seem generally uninterested in it. Aside from the Caretakers, the film introduces the Porgs (whose main priorities are not be eaten and to squawk at things); the Fathiers, a rabbit-horse hybrid subjected to terrible animal cruelty on the one-percenter city Canto Bight; and Vulptices, crystal foxes that are definitely just Pokémon (specifically Alolan Vulpix, *pushes up glasses*).
None of these creatures are in any way essential to the plot, but their presence does wonders to fill out the film’s universe. Where "The Force Awakens" and "Rogue One" were streamlined to the point of breathlessness, "The Last Jedi" expands past the good guys and bad guys to hang out with the cute, the gooey, and the ugly. It makes the universe feel more expansive, and makes me excited for the possibilities of Johnson’s own "Star Wars" trilogy.
For that reason, one of the great joys of the space nuns is that their existence brings up so many questions. Why have the Caretakers agreed to spend their lives doing unpaid labor and cleaning up after the Jedi? How do they reproduce if they are really all female? Is this a Jurassic Park thing? Are the Caretakers radical queer separatists? I do assume they are massive Space Joni Mitchell fans.
Most pressingly, we know that the Caretakers are natural predators to the Porgs (it’s not discussed in the film, but it has come up in a delightfully disturbing coloring book), which makes you ask what Porgs taste like, and how the Caretakers like to cook them. The little island where Luke lives, Ahch-To, you realize, contains a intricate ecosystem. Imagine the development meetings, where the developers workshopped how fishlike they would make the nuns. Imagine the committee that discussed what color milk would come out of the creatures with udders. (They went with greenish.)
In one of "The Last Jedi"'s best little recurring jokes, Rey keeps accidentally offending the Caretakers, and at one point, while training, she breaks one of the carts some Caretakers are carrying around the island. It’s a minor cutaway, but like most of the business with the space nuns, a reminder that the space nuns don’t really care about you. The Porgs are desperate for your attention. The nuns couldn’t care less; they have their own lives to deal with. Rian Johnson, please make a movie about the space nuns.
"The Last Jedi"— the newest film in the "Star Wars" franchise — has been released, and fans are rushing to the theater to be immersed in a galaxy far, far away.
But true fans will be glad to know there are plenty of places on Earth that can feel just as foreign.
The travel website TripAdvisor has collected destinations from around the world that look like they belong on the big screen. Check out eight landscapes that will transport you to another universe:
The Valley of Fire in the Overton, Nevada, state park allows hiking through the red sand and to Native American rock art in an area that looks ready for a pod race.
The Painted Desert in Petrified Forest National Park near Flagstaff, Arizona, bears such a resemblance to Tatooine that visitors wouldn't be surprised to see two suns.
The Valle de la Luna in Santa Catalina, Chile, has caves prime for exploring in the valley — but the moon-like atmosphere at this dry location is the main attraction.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
While many are at home unwrapping presents, Christmas Day is a popular day to head out to the movies with family and friends.
This year, there are well over 10 movies opening between Friday and Christmas and a bunch of other wide releases that have opened in the past week.
For those heading out to theaters on Christmas, we've rounded up the wider releases that are worth checking out and have also included what you should skip.
1. See if you like The Rock: "Jumanji"
Release date: 12/20
What it's about: The reboot sequel stars The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan as video-game-avatar versions of high school teenagers who get sucked into the Jumanji game.
Why you should see it: You're probably ready to roll your eyes. This can't be good, right? Wrong! My colleague Kim Renfro was surprised this movie wasn't terrible. In her review, she noted The Rock, Hart, and Black look like they're all having the time of their lives in this movie. If you love Jonas, he surprisingly has more than just a cameo. His addition is extremely welcome.
You can read her review here.
What you should be aware of: The Bechdel test is barely passed and there are a lot of jokes centered around male genitalia.
2. Skip: "The Greatest Showman"
Release date: 12/22
What it's about: It's a musical about P.T. Barnum's road to creating the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Why you should pass: The movie is all glitz and glam and reviews say it whitewashes uglier parts of Barnum's life. If you're heading in with expectations of a biopic, look elsewhere.
The only reason to see it: If you love Hugh Jackman and don't mind that the movie is a hollow mindless shell of circus life, it may make for an easy escape.
You can read what critics are saying about the movie here.
3. Skip: "Father Figures"
Release date: 12/22
What it's about: Owen Wilson and Ed Helms play fraternal twins who thought their dad died when they were young. They're surprised to find out that wasn't the case and go on a road trip to find their real dad.
Why you should pass: Early reviews are calling the comedy "unfunny" with a lazy story. Your time can be better spent elsewhere.
4. Maybe wait for it to stream: "Downsizing"
Release date: 12/22
What it's about: After scientists figure out how to shrink humans to combat overpopulation, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wigg) decide to "downsize" and join one of the new small communities.
Why to see it: The National Board of Review named it one of the 10 best movies of the year. Hong Chau received a best supporting actress nod at the Golden Globes.
Why to pass: Despite the talents of Damon, Wigg, and Christoph Waltz, reviews are extremely mixed. Critics praise director Alexander Payne for his dystopian comedy, but many feel it gets lost in dense concepts that frustratingly don't deliver.
5. Go in with low expectations: "Pitch Perfect 3"
Release date: 12/22
What it's about: After graduating college and having a difficult time finding success musically in the real world, the Bellas get back together for a USO tour overseas one last time.
Why to pass: We were really excited for the return of the Bellas, but the first reviews coming in for the Christmas are wildly mixed. If you liked the previous two installments, you'll probably enjoy this one, but this one feels lazily slapped together with some bizarre and over-the-top moments, one of which is provided by a sub-plot involving Fat Amy's (Rebel Wilson) father.
Why to tune in anyway: It's the Bellas and who cares? The movie reunites all of the main stars of the first two movies and that may be all you wanted this holiday season.
6. See it: "The Post"
Release date: 12/22
What it's about: The movie follows how "The Washington Post"— hence the movie's title — covered the Pentagon Papers.
Why to see it: If you love Steven Spielberg, this is the director's latest movie and it's a testament to how great he is at what he does. The movie, announced in March, was finished in November. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks give some of their best performances. As my colleague Jacob Shamsian noted in his review, it's "a timely movie about the past."
Read our review here.
7. Skip: "Bright" (Netflix)
Release date: 12/22
What it's about: Will Smith is a cop who teams up with another cop who happens to be an orc (Joel Edgerton). Still with us? The two have to protect a "thought-to-be-forgotten relic" which could destroy the world if if falls into the wrong hands.
Why you should avoid it: Reviews are calling it the worst movie of the year. An interesting setup for racial metaphors gets bogged down by silly jokes. Indiewire suggests it's "essentially 'Training Day' meets 'The Lord of the Rings,' but much dumber than that sounds."
The only reason to tune in: If you have Netflix, you don't have to head to a theater to see it. It will be on the streaming service.
8. See it: "Molly's Game"
Release date: 12/25
What it's about: Based on the memoir by Molly Bloom, the movie follows the former waitress' underground poker empire for the Russian mob, the Hollywood elite, athletes, and more.
Why to see it: Not only does the film have a stellar cast in Jessica Chastain, Kevin Costner, Idris Elba, and Michael Cera, but it's a fun and compelling movie with a great script. Plus, it's from director Aaron Sorkin ("The Social Network,""The Newsroom").
You can read our review here.
9. See it: "All the Money in the World"
Release date: 12/25
What it's about: The crime thriller follows the kidnapping of J. Paul Getty's grandson in the 1970s and Getty's refusal to agree with ransom demands.
You may have heard a little something about this movie. After allegations of sexual assault, Kevin Spacey was quickly replaced as one of the film's leads with Christopher Plummer, director Ridley Scott's original choice for the role.
Why to see it: Despite the controversy, critics are hailing Plummer's fast turnaround as the oil tycoon. Most critics are surprised the film was able to come together when scenes were shot a month ahead of its release.
10. See it for Daniel Day-Lewis: "Phantom Thread"
Release date: 12/25
What it's about: The Paul Thomas Anderson movie follows dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) in 1950s London as he and his sister dress movie stars, socialites, and even the royal family. It comes to a slight halt when Woodcock finds himself fixated with a young woman.
Why to see it: Daniel Day-Lewis, 60, has said this will be his final movie before retiring from acting. From what critics are saying, he's going out on top. Reviews say it could lead to the Oscar-winner's fourth Academy Award.
Also tune in for a stand-out performance from Vicky Krieps.
You can read Business Insider's review here.
Other movies that are out and worth your time
11. "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
What it's about: "The Last Jedi" continues Rey's journey of self-discovery and Kylo Ren's descent on a dark path while reintroducing Luke Skywalker into the franchise.
Why to see it: If you saw 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," you probably want to know how the story continues. It's also one of the best-reviewed "Star Wars" movies. Even if you don't love it, it's bound to come up as part of the conversation around the holidays with family.
12. "Lady Bird"
What it's about: Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson tries to navigate high school, a nagging mother, new friends, and applying to colleges while attending Catholic high school in Sacramento, California.
Why to see it: It's the best-reviewed movie ever on Rotten Tomatoes and it's not difficult to see why. The movie delivers an honest depiction of life as a high school senior and Saorirse Ronan is perfect as the film's leading lady. We'd be surprised if Ronan or Laurie Metcalf, who plays her mother, don't get Oscar nominations.
You can read Business Insider's review here.
Some conservative commentators and social media users are calling out Tom Hanks after the actor said he wouldn't screen his new film, "The Post," at the White House.
Hanks stars alongside Meryl Streep in "The Post," a Steven Spielberg film which depicts The Washington Post's battle with Richard Nixon's administration to uncover and publish secret government records on the failing U.S. effort in the Vietnam War.
Hanks told The Hollywood Reporter this week that he wouldn't screen "The Post" at the White House if asked, saying, "Right now, without a doubt, there are people in power trying to — if not quash or stop the right to publication, [then at least] denigrate it to the point [where] they are saying there is no truth to it whatsoever."
While the White House has historically screened films in the theater of its East Wing, there is no indication that Trump has asked to screen "The Post."
In response to Hanks' comments, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday that Hanks should "take the lead" in discussing issues with Trump personally, rather than refusing a potential screening.
"I think the idea that it's become cool to say I won't even show up to see the President of the United States is a sad commentary on where we are," Spicer said. "I think that for people like Tom Hanks, who I think is a great film producer and director — he should take the lead maybe say, you know what? I want to go talk to the president about these important issues that were brought up in my movie in 'The Post.'"
Fox News host Laura Ingraham also called out the Oscar-winning actor on Thursday, saying that Hanks "kind of flops as a political commentator and pundit," and that the actor was "insulting the president just to sell his movie."
A deluge of ostensibly conservative social media users also took issue with Hanks' comments:
No problem @TomHanks, I don’t plan on EVER screening this movie.— AMERICA❤️HAS💙SPOKEN (@ChooseToBFree) December 21, 2017
Disrespect @POTUS you’ve just flipped off at LEAST
Guessing #ThePost bombs💣at the box office.
Typical cast of America haters.🙄#MerylStreep#StevenSpielberg@20thcenturyfox#MAGA➖STAY HOME pic.twitter.com/mVuE4KnEEU
People in Hollywood are the most egotistical people. Do they think they sit on the right hand of God?— 👑💥 Hanna 💥👑 (@polishprincessh) December 21, 2017
Tom, you make living playing other people. You havent found the cure for cancer, discovered new planet or figured out how to keep peace.
You are an ACTORhttps://t.co/qMgPVtKBCI
Tom Hanks whose entire career is embedded in an industry that covers up sexual assault /perversion and literally blackballs anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the left wing group think is going to take on the White House? Yeah ok, fool. @IngrahamAngle— RockPrincess (@Rockprincess818) December 21, 2017
"The Post" opens nationwide on Friday. It currently sits at an 84% "Fresh" rating on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Following the sexual misconduct allegations against Louis C.K. from five women in November, the theatrical release of the comic’s new movie “I Love You, Daddy” was quickly scrapped by its distributor The Orchard. However, the company had mailed out thousands of award-season screeners to voters before the allegations came out, and that has led to the movie finding a new life on the internet.
On Friday, notorious piracy group "Hive-CM8" released the movie on various torrent sites, according to The Verge.
There’s certainly an interest in the movie. “I Love You, Daddy” screeners have been showing up on eBay since November (one was even priced at $1,075). Hive-CM8 — best known for leaking 40 screeners online in 2015, including “The Revenant” and “The Hateful Eight” — said in a message posted with the release of the movie that it chose “I Love You, Daddy” because “it never made it to the cinema, and nobody knows if it ever will go to retail at all.”
In December, the trades reported that The Orchard was nearing a deal to sell the movie back to Louis C.K. The distributor bought the worldwide rights for the movie following its world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival for $5 million.
Most believe C.K. would one day release the movie through his website, as he’s done in the past with his standup specials. However, C.K. — who confirmed the allegations against him reported by The New York Times — has left the public eye, so it’s unknown what he’ll do with the movie.
Most of us can’t wait to see 2017 end, but before we put a flamethrower on the whole thing let’s look back on something that wasn’t bad: the movies.
From the iconic Wonder Woman finally getting on the big screen to the movie that will mark the supposed final performance of one of our greatest living actors Daniel Day-Lewis, movies on both the studio and independent side found ways to make us forget our daily troubles and escape into stories that have stayed with us long after the closing credits.
Here are 11 movies from this year that did just that for me:
11. “Logan Lucky”
This is the best movie you didn’t see this year. Sadly, Steven Soderbergh’s southern-fried version of “Ocean’s 11” didn’t get a lot of box office love, but if you did catch it (or are getting around to it now as it’s available on streaming/blu-Ray) you know why it made this list. The movie is hilarious and Channing Tatum teamed with Adam Driver is gold. Plus, Daniel Craig is just on another level in this.
The movie is also one of the best written of the year — now if we can only figure out who to thank.
10. “Wonder Woman”
It’s hands-down my favorite superhero movie of the year. Patty Jenkins creates goose bump moments (No Man’s Land scene) while giving us the long-awaited big screen telling of one of comic books’ most iconic characters. In a genre where it’s hard to impress anymore, this movie pulled it off.
This is another crown jewel for Netflix. Dee Rees’ look at life on a Mississippi farm post World War II is powered by its incredible ensemble cast, and striking visuals and score. Rees proves she’s one of the top young directors working today and I still can’t get Jason Mitchell’s performance out of my head.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
After years of being a struggling actor in Australia, Ben Mendelsohn got his breakout in 2010 as the patriarch of a crime family on the run in “Animal Kingdom,” and hasn’t looked back since.
Finding his mark playing complex dark characters in indies like “The Place Beyond the Pines” and “Slow West,” Mendelsohn hit it big when he scored the role of Director Orson Krennic in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” last year. But in his latest role Mendelsohn proves he can do more than just play the bad guy. As King George VI opposite Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour” (in theaters nationwide), Mendelsohn shows off his softer side as he plays a man tasked with keeping the United Kingdom strong during World War II while trying to match wits with Churchill, though suffering a stammer when he speaks. (He plays the same character who earned Colin Firth a best actor Oscar for “The King’s Speech.”)
Mendelsohn talked to Business Insider about preparing for the challenging task as well as his upcoming anticipated roles, which range from the Sheriff of Nottingham in “Robin Hood” to a gaming nerd in “Ready Player One” — yes, he’s a bad guy in both.
Jason Guerrasio: When you had to wrap your head around that you're going to play King George VI, was it exciting or scary?
Ben Mendelsohn: It was both. It was very unexpected. I got why [director] Joe [Wright] thought of me in one respect. If you look at me in profile and look at him it's not a bad match. There are certain, well, I guess, shyness to me and the portrayal of him. But other than that it's a pretty big risk.
Guerrasio: And when you say risk, you mean the weight of the role?
Mendelsohn: Yeah. It's a risk from Joe's perspective. I think there's plenty of people he could have cast that were more, um —
Mendelsohn: Yeah. Exactly. Wouldn't have to worry about the accent stuff. But I'm very thankful that he did ask me to do it. And then it's the company you're in. Gary Oldman playing Winston Churchill, that is a film I would go see.
Guerrasio: What was the research like? Did you want to go really deep in knowing everything about King George?
Mendelsohn: No. I was mostly interested in what I could see and hear. I was less interested in the various interpretations of the man. I knew the rough outlines of his situation. It was really to get a sense of where the stutter was and what feeling you get from him.
Guerrasio: So basically watching "The King's Speech" would have screwed you up.
Mendelsohn: By the time the Jello had nearly set I went back and watched "The King's Speech." I hadn't planned on it and then I just thought, you know what — um, I'm trying to find a way to say this that you won't have to edit me —
Guerrasio: Screw it!
Mendelsohn: Yeah. Thank you. [Laughs.] And I'm glad I did because it is a beautiful portrayal.
Guerrasio: Was it less looking at how Colin did the voice and more how he moved as the King? His swagger?
Mendelsohn: It was less of that. No. I wasn't looking at Colin's performance as to how he interpreted the guy. I wasn't interested to try to take up or ignore, it was more getting the whole sense of the story. The stuff that affected me more was the business with his dad and brother. That's what I took on board a bit more.
Guerrasio: It sounded like you got in early with Gary, all the actors were given a good chunk of rehearsal time before shooting started.
Mendelsohn: They had a long rehearsal period which I was there for a few days of. And thank God we did. Look, it was a task and it helps a lot to get comfortable with the people you're going to be doing it with. Gary and I had met before, we worked on "The Dark Knight Rises."
Guerrasio: That's right!
Mendelsohn: We don't do anything together, but we are in one scene where Commissioner Gordon gets up and makes a little speech in the back of Wayne Manor. So we were together over a couple of night shoots together.
Guerrasio: While shooting "Darkest Hour," between shooting are you and Gary talking in your character voices? Are you scared you'll lose the stutter?
Mendelsohn: Well, once you know where it is you can pick it up and put it down. You don't need to do all that stuff.
Guerrasio: The connection between you and Gary is you both play bad guys so well. For you, is it hard to find a role like this? Something that just on paper doesn't scream, "evil!"
Mendelsohn: I consider it a real compliment to be offered the bad guy. No complaints on that. But it was a delight to be offered this role in part because he's a good guy.
Guerrasio: Is it more fun to play the dark roles?
Mendelsohn: No. Well, it depends. I think it's more fun to work than not to work.
Mendelsohn: There's a certain malevolent delight that baddies get to express. But that's pretty short lived.
Guerrasio: Coming up you play the Sheriff of Nottingham in the latest “Robin Hood” movie. Will you give him a more playful feel? Like Alan Rickman did in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves?"
Mendelsohn: Ah, no one is ever going to top Alan Rickman.
Guerrasio: He was damn good in that role.
Mendelsohn:No one is ever going to top that, and I'm not trying. But this is an origin story of Hood, it's a very explosive kind of piece. But no, the sheriff is not a good guy at all. But Nolan Sorrento in “Ready Player One” is a fantastic bad guy. He’s a nerd that's got too much power. I guess most bad guys you look at what they do with their flaws. How they've compensated for them in some way and how they try to make everyone else pay for it. That seems to be one of the thematic things about most bad guys.
Guerrasio: I think that's why people gravitate to those kind of roles, they plug their darkness and insecurities into what they see that character doing.
Mendelsohn: Yeah. And that kind of misbehaving, as it were, comes vicariously.
Guerrasio: With “Ready Player One,” was that just another "pinch me" moment in your career?
Mendelsohn: Oh yeah. I remember meeting Spielberg for the first time and I said, "I don't know what your intention is but this is good enough for me, I got to sit in a room with you." He had seen "Bloodline," he was a big "Bloodline" fan.
Guerrasio: Are you bummed there's no more "Bloodline?” Did you feel there was more story to be told?
Mendelsohn: I think from my point of view [my character] Danny Rayburn was always in the early part of that telling. I think that those guys had a lot more in them. But that's the way it is. Few things have been as good to me as "Bloodline."
Guerrasio: With the news that Rian Johnson is going to expand "Star Wars" and is tasked with making more movies — not to mention all the one-off movies — is it possible Director Krennic comes back?
Mendelsohn: I don't know. I really don't know what's happening with any of that.
Guerrasio: Was it a one-and-done contract for you, or did you have an option for multiple films?
Mendelsohn: It would be remiss for me to discuss contractual details.
Guerrasio: Well, I had to try.
Guerrasio: And I guess this is another one you can't really say, but are the rumors true that you'll be in Captain Marvel?
Mendelsohn: That’s another I wish we could talk about, but I can neither confirm or deny the existence of such a project, if there were such a project. [Laughs.]
Guerrasio: Honestly, these kind of questions, are these fun for you? Because you've had to navigate through them a lot for a year-plus now.
Mendelsohn: Look, honestly, I'm a guy who sat around being out of work for a very long time so this is not a problem. [Laughs.] This is a very, very lucky position to be in.
SEE ALSO: The 10 biggest box office bombs of 2017
Warning: Major spoilers ahead for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" moved the narrative of our new heroes Rey, Finn, and Poe forward with several major lessons — all mostly learned through failures. The biggest of these is centered around Rey and her desire to find a place in the story of the rebellion. She turns to Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren for answers, and is handed a brutal reality about her past.
Once Rey's parentage (and therefore place in the world) is revealed, fans can be forgiven for thinking it's not really the final answer. But I believe "The Last Jedi" delivers the truth about Rey's legacy. And not only is it likely the truth, but it's the best possible answer writer and director Rian Johnson could have given us.
How "The Last Jedi" reveals Rey's parentage
After confronting the dark side of the Force in that trippy cave on Ahch-To, and then fighting alongside Kylo Ren in the epic throne room scene, fans were were given an answer to Rey's parentage.
Kylo Ren tells Rey her parents were nobodies. Rey admits this fact herself during their emotional conversation.
"Do you know the truth about your parents?" Kylo asks. "Or have you always known? You've just hidden it away."
When Rey doesn't immediately reply, Kylo gets more aggressive.
"Say it," he demands.
"They were nobody," Rey says while on the verge of tears.
"They were filthy junk traders," Kylo elaborates. "Sold you off for drinking money. They're dead in a pauper's grave in the Jakku desert. You come from nothing. You're nothing. But not to me."
The choice to reveal this truth (and yes I think it's the truth but more on that in a moment) in this precise and cruel way is important to its impact on Rey.
Kylo tells Rey about her parents as part of his attempt to manipulate her into taking a place by his side. He wants her to focus on the despair she may feel about coming from a legacy of nobodies and being cast aside by her parents. Kylo believes they can rule together — but only if Rey thinks she is insignificant to the world first.
Rey is a much more compelling hero if she truly comes from nothing
"Star Wars" has never been apolitical, and "The Last Jedi" didn't premiere in a vacuum. This movie came at the tail of a year marked with a surge of progressive political activity, protesting, and cultural movements.
Again, Johnson was conceptualizing Rey's journey before we knew what kind of year 2017 would be, but it's timing seems serendipitous. "The Last Jedi" is teaching a new generation of "Star Wars" fans about the realities of believing in a fight against a larger power. We come away from the movie understanding how the combined voices of "nobodies" in the world can effect change.
The new trio of heroes — Rey, Finn, and Poe — are on a complex journey of self-discovery and coming into their own as leaders of the rebellion. Finn's subplot in "The Last Jedi" serves to finally bring him to a point where he's acting out of true altruism for the cause (instead of simply wanting to save or help Rey).
Rey, the unwanted child of two drunks from Jakku, is now the biggest hope for the Resistance. She's an independent scavenger who spent her life obsessed with tales of heroic acts against the Empire. She has wound up creating her own important place in the universe instead of having a role she inherited from her family.
The Rey we met at the start of "The Force Awakens" eating a meager dinner while wearing an old rebel pilot helmet is mirrored in the young "Broom Kid" shown at the end of "The Last Jedi." The ways of the Force belong to them just as much as it did to the Luke Skywalkers of the past.
The future of the Resistance doesn't lie in legendary heroes — it only lives in the nobodies of the galaxy who dare to believe they can grow to be something more.
To take away Rey's new origin story and hand us a new tale of Skywalker or Kenobi bloodlines would rob the new generation of "Star Wars" fans from the real meaning of this trilogy. "The Last Jedi" was all about failures and growth and hope being found in unexpected places.
"We are the spark that will light the fire that will bring the First Order down," Poe says in "The Last Jedi."
Rey is a much more powerful hero if she is just another young child who was Force sensitive and found it in herself to rise above her circumstances and enter the fray. She started her journey by simply wanting to help the heroes she had heard about and along the way discovered that it would be up to her — not Luke Skywalker — to try and preserve the light in the world.
To dismiss Johnson's decision about Rey's parentage as a misdirection would mean casting aside the message of this new "Star Wars" trilogy. Our importance isn't dictated by where we come from, but by our willingness and daring to fight for the good in the world.
Director Rian Johnson's reasoning for his choice is incredible
The brilliance of Johnson's idea to make Rey's parents unimportant characters in the history of "Star Wars" lore lies in the fact that most fans didn't see it coming.
Johnson wrote "The Last Jedi" while "The Force Awakens" was in production, so his choice wasn't an intentional response to all the fan theories that emerged after the first chapter in this trilogy. But it feels like it could be, which is an incredible coincidence.
At a time when fan theories or set leaks are dominating a large section of pop culture conversations, Johnson's ability to produce an answer both unexpected and perfect is thrilling.
And his explanation for how he arrived at the decision makes the reveal even more poetic than you might realize. Johnson revealed at a Q&A how he came to the choice, as Entertainment Weekly reported.
"I was thinking, what's the most powerful answer to that question?" Johnson said. "Meaning, 'What's the hardest thing that Rey could hear?' That's what you're after with challenging your characters."
The Rey reveal works as an inverted version of the iconic Vader and Luke scene in "Empire Strikes Back."
"I think back to the 'I am your father' moment with Vader and Luke, and the reason I think that lands is not because it's a surprise or a twist but because it's the hardest thing Luke and thus the audience could hear at that moment," Johnson said. "It turns someone into a bad guy that you just hate and want to kill into suddenly, 'Oh my God, this is a part of our protagonist. We have to start thinking of this person in more complex terms."
"In ['The Last Jedi'] it's kind of the opposite," Johnson said. "The easiest thing for Rey and the audience to hear is, 'Oh yeah, you're so-and-so's daughter.' That would be wish fulfillment and instantly hand her a place in this story on a silver platter."
While the Vader reveal helped create a redemption arc between Luke and a former one-dimensional baddie, the Rey reveal is like an adrenaline shot to the heart of the message in "The Last Jedi." The future of a rebellion or resistance or political movement doesn't lie only with elite mythical families — the heart (or spark) of it comes from the everyday people willing to fight for something they believe in.
Johnson saw Rey's storyline in "The Force Awakens" and knew both she and "Star Wars" fans were hoping she had a bigger destiny than being a scavenger on Jakku.
"The hardest thing for her is to hear she's not going to get that easy answer. Not only that, but Kylo is going to use the fact that you don’t get that answer to try and weaken you so you have to lean on him," Johnson said. "You're going to have to find the strength to stand on your own two feet and define yourself in this story."
But Rey's parentage is not an ironclad part of the "Star Wars" canon yet
In the same Q&A, Johnson said that he was given the opportunity to take Rey's parentage in whichever direction he could reasonably argue. "The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams had laid some groundwork with Rey's pull to Luke's lightsaber and the mysterious Force-vision that followed.
But Disney still left Johnson room to work in his own ideas into "The Last Jedi." Now, Abrams will pick up the mantle again for the next movie. And since Disney reportedly left Rey's origin as unestablished, technically Abrams could change the answer given.
"I can't speak to what they're going to do," Johnson said of Abrams and his co-writer Chris Terrio.
For Johnson's part, he says Kylo believes it's the truth.
"I don't think he's purely playing chess," Johnson said. "I think that's what [Kylo] saw when they touched fingers and that's what he believes. And when he tells her that in that moment, she believes it."
We'll have to wait until Episode IX to see where Abrams decides to take Rey's journey next, but in the meantime we're grateful for the incredible launchpad Johnson has in place for our hero.
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With the director of "Suicide Squad" and the writer of "Victor Frankenstein," Netflix wants to create a new magical franchise to compete with the likes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and "Fantastic Beasts."
"Bright" is a $90 million fantasy movie with a planned sequel already in the works. It stars A-lister Will Smith in a world where magic is real and humans live side-by-side with orcs, elves, and faeries.
Also, everyone is extremely racist. Smith plays a human cop in the Los Angeles Police Department whose paired up with an orc cop played by Joel Edgerton. Orcs are depicted like black stereotypes, where they're all in gangs but there are a few "good ones." Elves are depicted as 1%-ers who control the world.
The two cops stumble into a prophesied plot where a mythologized magical wand is sought after by various underground cults and can change the world.
Is "Bright" any good? Let's take a look.
Why you should care: If Netflix is the future of movies, then "Bright" could be the future of the blockbuster.
From an industry level, it's important to think about what "Bright" means for the future of big-budget blockbusters.
Netflix has produced films before, but this is its first one with a massive budget. With "Bright," Netflix wants to get audiences used to the idea of fantasy films being produced for the small screen. The company is planning to spend $8 billion on content next year, so you can expect to see more projects like this.
Netflix hired Will Smith, one of the biggest stars in the world, to pull it off. He's in the movie alongside Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, and a few other recognizable names.
To make the Netflix movie, they hired David Ayer, the director best known for "Suicide Squad" — which received terrible reviews, particularly for how Ayer directed his actors — but who also made the well-reviewed war film "Fury" and cop drama "End of Watch." Max Landis — most famous for his toxic misogyny and a string of failed sci-fi films after 2012's "Chronicle" — wrote the script.
What's hot: There's a solid "Shrek" reference.
Most of "Bright" is really bad. But there's one part where Will Smith yells at an orc and tells him to take his "fat Shrek-looking ass back to your vehicle and drive the f--- home to Fiona."
Otherwise, Joel Edgerton provides a surprisingly good performance as an Orc cop. When you're caked in makeup and have terrible dialogue to work with, it's no easy feat to play a convincing character, but Edgerton does it. There's also no denying Smith's magnetic screen presence, which still shines through such a drab movie.
What's not: Gosh this movie is dumb.
Before it even begins, you know you're about to watch a movie that's both offensive and silly.
Its first title card announces that it's produced by "Trigger Warning Entertainment." The next card has the text, citing "The Great Prophecy 7:15," that "Only a bright can control the power of the wand." Within the first few minutes, Smith's character tells a bunch of Orcs that "faerie lives don't matter."
It only gets worse from there.
The mythology is just incredibly lame. The script for "Bright" resembles the novel you tried to write when you were 13 years old and just read a bunch of bad fantasy novels to feed your "Harry Potter" addiction, but David Ayer tweaked the story because he only agrees to direct movies if it's about corruption in law enforcement.
There are all sorts of images that seem like they sprang from the mind of a horny teenager who plays too many video games. The cops come across a naked elf lady attached to a wall with magical tubes. A bunch of elves keep nattering away about fulfilling a prophecy. Orcs cut their hands for a blood pact. Will Smith shoots a gas canister that causes a big explosion.
Much of it makes no sense. Everyone knows about how powerful magical wands are, but only a random pattern of people seem to know that only a "Bright" can wield them. Orcs are really strong and can lift cars, but there's a whole plot point based on characters disputing that it's possible for an orc to jump really high.
One of the most interesting characters on paper — an elf who's part of a cult that "destroyed the Illuminati 100 years ago" and is trying to summon the dark lord or whatever, is presumed to not be able to speak English until close to the end of the movie — where she suddenly does speak English and fills in her backstory with a flashback scene.
In the end, the film turns out to be astonishingly close to "Suicide Squad," where a bunch of people have to stop someone using a powerful, brightly glowing magical force from summoning a dark force that would destroy the planet or something. The consequences aren't totally clear.
Many of the film's plot details are puzzling. The dynamic between Smith's and Edgerton's characters is initially tense because Edgerton apparently didn't run fast enough to catch a criminal earlier. "The whole world is watching" their relationship, a superior warns them? What? Why? Who cares?
There's also a scene where an orc gang beats up the two characters and interrogates them to find the magical wand. Afterwards, an orc checks their bag to look for it. They didn't think to check the bag first?
"Bright" moves at a blessedly quick pace. Normally, it's a good thing if a dreary, uncomfortably violent movie like this at least goes by quickly. But some unwise lines and moments are shoved into the rush. At one point in the movie, Smith's character instructs another to "swipe left" to remotely detonate a bomb to kill a woman.
The bottom line: "Bright" wallows in Hollywood's worst instincts.
It's no secret that Netflix is trying to eventually become the biggest movie studio in Hollywood. But if they want to make blockbusters, they need to do better. "Bright" may have been meant to be a vehicle for David Ayer's vision, but it resembles the worst dreck of the studio system.
Ayer's obsessions are getting tiresome. His movies have some consistent themes. He looks at the moral compromises of regular people in power, like police officers and soldiers, and how systemic abuse and corruption harms the disadvantaged communities below them. They're noble ideas and great to see in mainstream movies. But in his last couple of projects, whatever point he wants to make gets lost in poorly lit gunfire and people shouting about a cop named "Rodriguez."
Will Smith also needs to branch out a bit more. How many movies is he going to make where he plays an everyman with a gun who makes moral compromises so his daughter can have a better life?
"Bright" ends with a rap over the rolling credits. But, disappointingly, it's not by Smith. If you're not going to have Will Smith summarize the entire plot of the movie in a rap song at the end, what's even the point?
"Bright" is on Netflix now.
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No matter what Matt Damon does in the movies, you can't actually shrink yourself down to 5 inches.
The producers of the new film "Downsizing" admit they had to ignore a lot of science to tell the story of a future where people elect to get much smaller in order to live large. The movement starts when a Norwegian scientist discovers a novel way to miniaturize people, in a move he hopes will save humanity by reducing the amount of waste and pollution humans produce. And the little life is cheaper, too.
In the film's downsized world, a "conflict free" diamond ring and necklace set costs just $83, which is about twice the amount a "small" family spends on groceries each month. And the steakhouse chain Tony Roma's has also been shrunk and imported to the land of the small.
Screenwriter Jim Taylor bluntly put the kibosh on anyone's dreams of living in a cheap, small world like this after a screening of his movie at the Museum of the Moving Image.
"It's never going to happen," Taylor said.
In the movie, Matt Damon's character works at a call center, but in reality his tiny voice would be way too high-pitched to answer calls from the world of normal-sized folks. Plus, at roughly the height of an iPhone 6, he'd likely be small enough to get swept away by a strong gust of wind. And the mini humans in the movie mostly ignore the huge risk that the protective net around their colony could rupture, allowing a runaway cat or a street rat to gobble them up.
But NYU bioethicist S Matthew Liao, who joined Taylor for the post-screening discussion, has highlighted some very real ways that shrinking people down — though to levels much less drastic than in the film — could help mitigate the effects of climate change.
One idea Liao pushed for is to shrink people back down to the 15-centimeter-shorter heights of humans like Albert Einstein who lived 100 years ago.
"It turns out that 15 centimeters of reduction in height translates to around 23% mass reduction for men and 25% mass reduction for women," Liao said during the talk. He believes that's "enough to offset the effects of climate change."
Technology that could hypothetically make this shrinking process possible is already in use in fertility clinics. It's called "preimplantation genetic diagnosis" and it allows future parents to screen out embryos that have genetic diseases. With around 500 genes coding for height, Liao says, "that's a way you can actually select embryos for size."
Of course, it doesn't take much mental leap to realize some of the ethical problems that selecting embryos for size, among other traits, would quickly create.
Another possible way to shrink people would be to give them extra estrogen. This technique has been used in kids with profound developmental disabilities to keep them small enough for their parents to continue taking care of them as they grow up.
While such ideas might seem draconian, Liao said there's no denying the effects that taller people have on the planet.
"It takes more energy to transport a larger person than a smaller person," he said, adding that making humans smaller could also come in pretty handy if we decide to colonize Mars.
"To get off the planet, size is going to matter a huge deal," Liao said. "Just think, per person, how much resources you need to sustain people in space."
Many of us would probably never opt to give up our 21st-century height boost, no matter how warm the planet gets. But it does seem like the change could offer more benefits than we realize.
It may come down to the wire, but with a couple more big releases on the horizon (“Jumanji” and “The Greatest Showman”) and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” now in theaters, the movie industry might cross the $11 billion mark for the end of the year. That would be three straight years the biz has hit that milestone.
Regardless, though, there were some major performers, including three very different kinds of movies crossing the $1 billion worldwide mark — and a Stephen King adaptation performing beyond anyone’s expectations.
Thanks to Marvel hits (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Thor: Ragnarok”) and a live-action “Beauty and the Beast,” Disney passed the $5 billion total ticket sale mark for the third year in a row. Warner Bros. with “Justice League,” “It,” and “Wonder Woman” also hit the mark for the second time in its history.
Below are the 10 biggest worldwide box office earners of 2017.
Note: All figures are from Box Office Mojo.
10. “Justice League” — $635.9 million
Domestic: $219.4 million
For all the bashing the movie took from critics and the fans, this latest DC Comics movie was able to crack the top 10 (let’s check in a couple of weeks to see if “The Last Jedi” ruins the party). It’s the worst performer of any of the DC releases to date, but on the bright side, it likely won’t lose $100 million for Warner Bros.
9. “It” — $697.5 million
Domestic: $327.4 million
WB couldn’t be more happy with how this adaptation of Stephen King’s book, made on a $35 million budget, performed at the box office. And it was a hit internationally, where horrors usually don’t do as strong.
8. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” — $794.8 million
Domestic: $172.5 million
People in the US may have had enough of the “Pirates” franchise, but it’s still working overseas. So expect more.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Despite the movie not being as universally praised by the hardcore "Star Wars" fans as "The Force Awakens," Disney/Lucasfilm's "The Last Jedi" will easily win the Christmas holiday weekend at the box office.
The movie took in an estimated $68.4 million by Sunday, and will have earned $100.6 million by Monday, according to BoxOfficePro.
That continues to keep pace behind "The Force Awakens" (around a 25%-30%) and ahead of last year's "Star Wars" release, "Rogue One" (20%-25%). Though it's a steep (for "Star Wars" standards) 69% drop from the movie's opening weekend last week, it won't make a difference for the movie's box office power as "The Last Jedi" closes in on a $1 billion worldwide gross.
On Saturday, "Last Jedi" passed the $300 million mark at the domestic box office and $600 worldwide. The milestones were met with the movie being in theaters for just eight days. With the movie's total at $397 million domestically by Christmas day, that will put the movie in third place for the best box office of the year (passing Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" with $389.8 million).
This is all being done in a time of year when interest to go to the multiplex is extremely high and there are a lot of options for audiences.
Sony has out "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," combining the comedic chemistry of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kevin Hart (which worked so well with last year's, "Central Intelligence") with an update to the 1995 fantasy movie starring Robin Williams.
The movie came in second place with a solid $34 million by Sunday and will get to a $64 million by Monday since its Wednesday opening. Not bad for a $90 million movie that has to compete with the latest "Star Wars" title.
Universal's "Pitch Perfect 3" had a strong ttart in what will be the final chapter in the surprisingly successful a cappella comedy franchise. Taking in $20.5 million by Sunday, $27 million projected for its four-day to put it in third place, Universal saw this as the option for female audiences who aren't into "Star Wars."
But underperforming is 20th Century Fox's "The Greatest Showman." Starring Hugh Jackman as circus impresario, P.T. Barnum, the $84 million musical only took in $8.6 million over the three-day weekend on 3,006 screens. It has $18.19 million since opening on Wednesday.
SEE ALSO: RANKED: The 11 best movies of 2017