The DCEU will have one film this year (Aquaman) and three next year (Shazam, Joker, Wonder Woman 1984). After the failure of Justice League last year, WB has put a lot of effort into getting their uneven film universe back on track. Captain Marvel and Aquaman are an unlikely one-two punch back to being on track, but they’re also characters that have no film history and little pop culture footprint. The first look at Shazam is really promising and seems to validate the casting of Zachary Levi (Chuck) in the role. Full synopsis from Coming Soon below. Shazam will hit theaters in April 2019.
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong).
The cast includes Asher Angel (Andi Mack) as Billy Batson, Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy) as The Wizard, and Mark Strong (Kingsman) in the role of Super-Villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. The film also stars Jack Dylan Grazer (IT) as Billy’s best friend and ultimate superhero enthusiast, Freddy, part of the foster family that includes Mary, played by Grace Fulton (Annabelle: Creation); Darla, played by Faithe Herman (This is Us); Eugene, played by Ian Chen (Fresh Off the Boat); and Pedro, played by Jovan Armand (Hawaii Five-0). Cooper Andrews (The Walking Dead) and Marta Milans (Killer Women) play foster parents Victor and Rosa Vasquez.
Among Spielberg’s “important” films, Amistad isn’t the home run that Saving Private Ryan or Schindler’s List is, but it’s still a powerful film and one with an incredible ensemble cast anchored by Anthony Hopkins in an Oscar-nominated performance as former President John Quincy Adams.
In today’s political climate, it’s hard to imagine, but after Adams lost his bid for re-election as President, he ended up running for Congress and returned to the House of Representatives (the only former President to do so) and government service. There, he was enlisted to represent the “cargo” of the slave ship La Amistad before the US Supreme Court. The Africans enslaved by the ship, had escaped the hold and slain their captors before being apprehended when their ship arrived in America. The 1839 case hinged on whether this was a matter of kidnapped human beings rising up and shaking off their chains or human cargo that should be returned to its “owners”. Hopkins arguing on their behalf before the court with a ten-minute dissertation on freedom is one of the most riveting monologues and pieces of acting I’ve ever seen. Hannibal Lecter’s introduction may be the most obvious best scene of Hopkins’ career, but this is every bit as good.
Based on the New York Times best-seller about the friendship between a family who takes in a homeless man, Same Kind of Different as Me definitely has the best cast of any Christian film that I can recall. With Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellwegger, Djimon Honsou, and Jon Voight they have four Oscar nominees or winners whereas most Christian films have….Kirk Cameron. I think faith-based films certainly have a place in cinema, and my only problem with them is that I’m still really waiting to see my first good one from an artistic standpoint. I’m sure the message of the film is uplifting and moving, but I can tell from the trailer (and from knowing that this film was finished two years ago) that while the acting may rise above, say, Nicholas Cage in Left Behind, the script is probably going to be about as subtle as a tack hammer to the head. That’s my real problem with Christian films. Not that they’re Christian. I have no beef with that. It’s that most cannot differentiate the narrative nuance of sermon versus a story. Stories are powerful and can stay with you for a lifetime. Sermons, in my experience, rarely do. Maybe I’m wrong and the quality of the actors they do have, which are stellar, will raise the material (which was a NYT best-seller for two years). We’ll find out when Same Kind of Different as Me opens on October 20, 2017.
Over the last two decades there have been some extremely successful reinventions of classic characters for the modern age: Zorro, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, etc. All of these stay true to the heart of what made the character great to begin with, but ground the character in a practical sensibility that make them relatable to today’s audience. I’m guessing this was the intent with Tarzan, the Lord of the Jungle, made famous through the stories of Edgar Rice Borroughs. Tarzan was a staple of early Hollywood, probably most famously played by Johnny Weissmuller, but with the exception of the Disney animated feature in the late 1990’s, no one has tried to bring Tarzan back to his big screen roots in a long time. After The Legend of Tarzan, I think it will probably be a long time before anyone else gives it another shot. Continue reading Movie Review: The Legend of Tarzan (2016) *Or Why Belgium Sucks*→
So many of the trailers that came out of Comic Con got me excited for films next year. The only one I saw that left me dumbfounded at how amazingly bad it looked was King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Guy Ritchie may have been able to turn Sherlock Holmes on its head successfully (the first time), but the Arthurian legend and he seem to have been on different planes passing in the night. Charlie Hunan was a great fit on Sons of Anarchy, but it’s become clear in every role since that he’s got absolutely no range. His accent is so all over the place in this trailer, I honestly was laughing by the time it was done. Ritchie’s hyperkinetic offbeat style is not working in this venue, and the special effects look like they cost a fortune. In short, I think this film is going to be one of 2017’s biggest bombs. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is scheduled for a March 24, 2017 release. That puts it head-to-head with the Power Rangers reboot, two weeks after Kong: Skull Island and a week after Beauty & the Beast. In a crammed March, this is going to get flattened. The smartest move would be to reschedule it in a desolate corner of late summer/early fall 2017 when it might even have a chance to win its weekend.