The Da Vinci Code (2006) - News Poster


From The Room to Geostorm: how to make a movie so bad that people will love it

Terrible films are 10 a penny, but making something as magnificently, joyously awful as Showgirls or The Snowman? That takes real skill. Here are the rules of the Truly Bad Movie

Few things in life can rival the joy of watching a truly bad movie. Those of us who savour inept, high-profile, well-funded bombs can only look with pity on our forebears who had the misfortune to be born before motion pictures were invented. Unlike modern film buffs, who can conjure up literally thousands of bad films with just a few keystrokes (thanks to the cultural abyss that is Netflix), our luckless ancestors were forced to make do with bad plays, bad operas, bad circuses, bad auto-da-fés. How they got through their culturally barren lives without bad motion pictures is one of the great mysteries in human history. I know I couldn’t do it. Luckily we have had two films
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

James Madigan Attached To Direct Space Station Action Film ‘Starfall’

  • Deadline
Exclusive: James Madigan is set to direct the space station action title Starfall which is aiming for a May 2018 production start. Starfall is based on David Coggeshall’s script with rewrites by Jordan and Aaron Kandell (Moana). Madigan has worked in visual effects for over 20 years on such films as Iron Man 2 and The Da Vinci Code and such TV series as HBO’s Rome, for which he won an Emmy and two Visual Effects Society Awards. Madigan has also served as a second unit…
See full article at Deadline »

Vision Takes on a Smart New Look in Avengers 4 Photo

  • MovieWeb
Vision Takes on a Smart New Look in Avengers 4 Photo
With production still continuing on Avengers 4, star Paul Bettany took to social medai to unveil a new photo of the actor in full costume as Vision. The photo was snapped by the actor's co-star, Mark Ruffalo, who captured the actor, "catching up with some paper work," with the actor seen wearing his glasses over his Vision makeup. We've already known for quite some time that Vision will be in both Avengers: Infinity War, which wrapped production in July, and Avengers 4, but this is perhaps the best look we've gotten at Vision thus far.

The image was posted on Paul Bettany's Twitter, which also showcase the motion capture dots on his face, over the Vision makeup. We can't get a good look at what kind of "paper work" the actor is doing, during an apparent break in the production, but the more photos we can get from the set, the better.
See full article at MovieWeb »

Alain Attal, Wild Bunch, Mars Team Up on ‘The Translators,’ With Olga Kurylenko, Lambert Wilson

Wild Bunch, Alain Attal’s Les Productions du Tresor and Mars Distribution are re-teaming on “The Translators,” director Regis Roinsard’s high-profile French thriller inspired by recent hacking scandals involving books and films such as “Pirates of the Caribbeans: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

One of the most ambitious projects currently being developed in France, the $13 million film will star an international cast headlined by Olga Kurylenko (“Death of Stalin”), Lambert Wilson (“Of Gods and Men”), Alex Lawther (“The Imitation Game”), Riccardo Scamarcio (“Romanzo Criminale”), Sisde Babette Knudsen (“Westworld”) and Sara Giraudeau (“The Bureau”).

The film follows the journey of nine translators who have been picked by a ruthless publisher and locked in a luxury bunker to translate the highly anticipated book of a famous author in record time. Although the translators are confined to prevent any kind of leak because of the high financial stakes, a crisis erupts when someone posts the first 10 pages of the
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Paul Bettany Joins The Star Wars Han Solo Movie

British actor Paul Bettany has joined the cast of the Star Wars Han Solo movie. The news was reported via director Ron Howard’s Twitter late Friday with the message:

“The Outer Rim just got a little bit wilder… It’s my third opportunity to work with Paul. He’s a blast & so talented.”

The two have worked together before, on the movies A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code. Now the actor has assumed an unnamed role in the 2018-release Star Wars spin-off about the early years of Han Solo.

The film sees Alden Ehrenreich star as Han, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca. Woody Harrelson is also amongst the cast, while Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are also playing undisclosed roles.

The still as-yet-untitled Han Solo movie will arrive in cinemas in May 2018.

The Outer Rim just got a little bit wilder #PaulBettany #ForceFriday pic.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Paul Bettany Replaces Michael K. Williams in Han Solo

  • MovieWeb
Paul Bettany Replaces Michael K. Williams in Han Solo
Han Solo director Ron Howard confirms that Paul Bettany (Avengers: Infinity War) has joined the cast of the upcoming Star Wars spin-off. Reshoots are expected to wrap up in the next few weeks, and while the director didn't reveal who Paul Bettany is playing, another report confirms that he is stepping in for the departing Michael Kenneth Williams. The news comes after Donald Glover finished his work as Lando Calrissian last week with Howard praising the young actor's acting abilities while also mentioning that the rest of the cast and crew would miss him. Howard has been stepping up his social media game lately by showing some pictures from the set that offer some new information as opposed to him throwing away a sandwich.

The news of Bettany joining the cast of the Han Solo movie first came from Howard's Twitter account on Force Friday when he posted a picture
See full article at MovieWeb »

‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff Adds Paul Bettany to Cast

  • The Wrap
‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff Adds Paul Bettany to Cast
Paul Bettany has just joined the cast of the Han Solo “Star Wars” spinoff, director Ron Howard confirmed on Friday. “The Outer Rim just got a little bit wilder,” the director wrote on Twitter. Howard also added, “It’s my third opportunity to work with Paul. He’s a blast & so talented.” The previously collaborated on “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code.” Also Read: Do We Really Need Another 'Star Wars' Movie About the Death Star? (Commentary) The Outer Rim just got a little bit wilder #PaulBettany #ForceFriday — Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) September
See full article at The Wrap »

‘Will & Grace’ Promo: The Gang’s All Here – Again

As NBC gears up for the return of Will & Grace after more than a decade, the network is reminding us that “it was a phenomenon that changed television forever.” And for the first time since The Da Vinci Code was in theaters, the fab foursome is back together and ready to resume the romp. That’s right, honey — after 10 seconds of recapping the Emmy-winning 1998-2006 incarnation, the promo goes back to the future with Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mulla…
See full article at Deadline TV »

Tunisian 'Sex and the City 2' Star Joins Hulu's 'The Looming Tower' (Exclusive)

Dhafer L'Abidine, the Tunisian TV star who has had roles in Sex and the City 2, The Da Vinci Code and A Hologram for the King, is set to appear in Hulu's upcoming adaptation of The Looming Tower.

Based on Lawrence Wright's Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction book, the series chronicles the rising threat of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, taking a controversial look at how the rivalry between the CIA and FBI may have inadvertently set the stage for the tragedy of 9/11 and the war in Iraq.

L'Abidine, recently seen in two popular Ramadan TV series — Halawat Al Dounia and...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - TV News »

Akiva Goldsman Signs First-Look Deal With Paramount, Leaves Warner Bros.

Akiva Goldsman Signs First-Look Deal With Paramount, Leaves Warner Bros.
Akiva Goldsman has signed a two-year first-look deal at Paramount Pictures for his Weed Road production company, leaving Warner Bros. after many years.

Goldsman has been one of Hollywood’s most prolific screenwriters and producers for the past two decades. He won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2001 for “A Beautiful Mind” and has writing credits on “Batman Forever,” “Batman & Robin,” “I Am Legend,” “Cinderella Man,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Angels & Demons,” “I Robot,” “The Divergent Series: Insurgent,” and “Transformers: The Last Knight.”

Goldsman shares screenwriting credit for Sony’s upcoming “The Dark Tower” with Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen and Arcel. He is a producer along with Ron Howard, Erica Huggins and Stephen King. The film, starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba, opens Aug. 11.

Goldsman’s producing credits date back to the 1990s with “Lost in Space” and “Deep Blue Sea” and include “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “Starsky and Hutch,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Ron Howard on ‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Movie Directing Gig: ‘I’ve Been a Fan Forever’

Ron Howard on ‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Movie Directing Gig: ‘I’ve Been a Fan Forever’
Ron Howard, freshly tasked with taking over directing the “Star Wars” Han Solo spinoff movie, said he’s been around the space-epic franchise from the very beginning — and that he’s ready to immerse himself deeply into studying “Star Wars” lore.

“I’ve been a fan forever,” said Howard, speaking Friday at the Cannes Lions advertising and media conference. “It’s gratifying to be asked to lend my voice to the [Star Wars] universe.”

Disney’s Lucasfilm on Thursday officially tapped Howard to finish making the movie, after studio president Kathleen Kennedy fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller this week because the duo were seen as overstepping their remit by going off-script with comedic touches.

“It’s a little opportunity that came my way,” Howard said when initially asked about the “Star Wars” job by panel moderator Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and CEO of Wpp.

Howard recalled that in 1972, George Lucas told him about his plans for a “fun” sci-fi film, incorporating special effects like those used in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” when Howard was appearing as an actor in Lucas’ “American Graffiti” (which also featured Harrison Ford, who went on to play Han Solo).


Ron Howard to Take Over as Director of ‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff

When “Star Wars” came out, on opening day Howard said he and his wife, Cheryl, went to go see it — and they stood in line for two hours to get in. “I was so moved by the movie,” he said. “I was transported by the movie… We literally left almost speechless.” They decided to see it again, and waited another 90 minutes in line.

Shooting on the “Star Wars” Han Solo movie was three-fourths completed when Lord and Miller were given the boot. Howard has already begun work on the project, with shooting set to resume July 10. The movie was already scheduled for five weeks of re-shoots later in 2017.

“So many people involved in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise are friends,” Howard said. “It’s already been in production, and there’s a lot of really great work there.”

Howard appeared on stage at the Palais des Festivals’ Lumiere Theatre here with Wpp’s Sorrell and Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution. (Howard and Kraft were previously scheduled to appear at a post-panel press conference but only Sorrell showed up.)


Han Solo Firing: Will Ron Howard Share Directing Credit With Lord & Miller?

Sorrell’s Wpp is an investor in Imagine Entertainment, the production company co-founded and run by Howard and Brian Grazer. With the infusion of $100 million from Raine Group last year, Howard said the company is planning to expand beyond TV and film into branded-content work.

“That’s one of the reasons I’m here [at Cannes Lions],” Howard said. “The next iteration of Imagine, the one we hope goes forward and beyond us, is all about storytelling.”

Asked by Sorrell about their thoughts on President Trump, Kraft declined to comment while Howard chimed in with this: “I’m really hopeful that when this presidency is dramatized years from now, it is as a lovely, hilarious Broadway musical called ‘Trumped.'”

Also on the panel, Kraft commented on the process of picking high-quality talent while looking for people who can check their ego at the door.

“We’re in an ego-driven business — and when we’re doing well, the question is, who gets the credit?” Kraft said. He added, however, “You have to put up with a certain amount of nonsense… People who are really talented, off the charts, are different.”

Sorrell quipped: “We have no egos in the advertising business. We don’t even know how to spell ‘ego.'”

Howard, in his 30-plus years as a filmmaker, has made more than 50 movies including “Night Shift,” “Splash,” “Cocoon,” “Parenthood,” “Backdraft,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Apollo 13” and “A Beautiful Mind,” which won four Academy Awards including for best director and best picture. However, his more recent films, including “Inferno,” “In the Heart of the Sea,” “Rush” and “The Dilemma,” have fared poorly at the box office.

Related storiesHan Solo Firing: Will Ron Howard Share Directing Credit With Lord & Miller?Ryan Seacrest on Hosting 'American Idol' Reboot: 'I Think It's Doable'Ian McKellen Says It's 'Un-American' for Trump Not to Protect Gay Rights
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Ron Howard comments on taking over directing duties on the Han Solo Star Wars spinoff

It was announced this week that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have been fired from the Star Wars spinoff project Han Solo due to creative differences, with Lucasfilm revealing that Ron Howard (The Da Vinci Code, Rush) has been brought in to finish up production on the blockbuster.

The news has sparked mixed reactions from fans of the franchise, but Howard has released a reassuring comment over Twitter that will hopefully put some fears and worry to rest. Check out his tweets here…

I hope to honor the great work already done & help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film.

Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) June 22, 2017

I'm beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars Universe after being a fan since 5/25/77.

Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) June 22, 2017

Update: Here’s a few more comments from Howard, via Variety:

“It’s a little opportunity that came my way. I’ve been a fan forever. It’s gratifying to be asked to lend my voice to the [Star Wars] universe. So many people involved in the Star Wars franchise are friends. It’s already been in production, and there’s a lot of really great work there.”

There are currently around four weeks of production left to go on the spinoff, with Howard reportedly set to meet the stars of the film soon and take a look at a rough cut to see what needs to be altered before resuming filming in July.

See Also: Lord & Miller vs. Kasdan & Kennedy: A Fight for the future of our franchise films

Let us know below in the comments what you think of Ron Howard taking over directorial duties for the untitled Han Solo blockbuster…

Han Solo stars Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) as the famous smuggler, Donald Glover (Atlanta) as Lando Calrissian, Woody Harrelson (War for the Planet of the Apes) as Beckett (Solo’s mentor), Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Thandie Newton (Westworld), Ian Kenny (Sing Street) and Michael K. Williams (The Night Of) in as-yet-unrevealed roles. It is set for release on May 25th 2018.
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Ron Howard confirmed as director on Han Solo feature

  • ScreenDaily
Director assumes reins following departure of Phil Lord, Christopher Miller.

Lucasfilm has confirmed Ron Howard will take over as director on the untitled Han Solo film and production will resume on July 10 after a brief hiatus.

The development comes two days after Lucasfilm fired directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Star Wars spin-off due to what was understood to be creative differences.

The film, which had begun production in the UK, will still open on May 25, 2018. Alden Ehrenreich plays Solo in the origins story. The cast includes Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, and Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Will Phil Lord and Chris Miller Keep ‘Han Solo’ Credits or Get Residuals?

  • Slash Film
Will Phil Lord and Chris Miller Keep ‘Han Solo’ Credits or Get Residuals?
After a chaotic flurry of news earlier this week, the details are finally starting to come into focus: directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from directing the Han Solo standalone project because they clashed with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy’s vision for the film, and this morning, they were officially replaced by The Da Vinci Code director Ron Howard. […]

The post Will Phil Lord and Chris Miller Keep ‘Han Solo’ Credits or Get Residuals? appeared first on /Film.
See full article at Slash Film »

Ron Howard signed up to direct Star Wars spin-off Han Solo movie

Veteran director takes over after Lego Movie co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller fired two days ago following clash with studio heads

The Da Vinci Code’s Ron Howard has replaced The Lego Movie’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller as director of the Han Solo spin-off movie, the much-anticipated new instalment of the Star Wars standalone series.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Howard joined the film two days after Lord and Miller were sensationally fired over “creative differences” with the film’s producers Lucasfilm. Reports have suggested clashes with veteran scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan were partly responsible.

Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ron Howard to Finish the Untitled Han Solo Movie

  • Cinelinx
After the shocking loss of the directing duo from the Han Solo origin film, Kathleen Kennedy has announced that they have found an Academy Award-winning director who is willing to handle the rest of the directing duties.

Earlier this week, it looked as if the Untitled Han Solo Movie took a massive blow with the departure of Phil Lord and Chris Miller. While the situation may have looked bleak from afar, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy was already working on hiring the director who would take over for the directing duo.

Enter Ron Howard.

“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July.”

The quote comes from, which facilitated the announcement of Ron Howard as director. Howard is an accomplished director, having filmed some of the most profound movies of our generation. Movies like Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code, Frost/Nixon, Rush, Lucasfilm's Willow, and A Beautiful Mind, which he won Best Director and Best Picture for in 2001.

Howard enters a project that has been in production since January. It's likely that Miller and Lord had filmed most of the film, so the challenge for Howard will be to screen all the work and find a way to create the film that Lucasfilm is envisioning, whether that means re-shoots or otherwise.

Nevertheless, Lucasfilm is confident enough in Howard to hold steadfast on the release date of May 25, 2018!

Ron HowardSTAR WARSHan SoloPhil LordChris MillerDISNEYMOVIE News
See full article at Cinelinx »

Ron Howard to Take Over as Director of ‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff

Ron Howard to Take Over as Director of ‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff
Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard will take over as director of the “Star WarsHan Solo spinoff, Lucasfilm announced.

His hire comes after the movie’s original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired Tuesday, while in the middle of production after clashing with producer and Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy and co-writer/executive producer Lawrence Kasdan. The duo, who had previously overseen “The Lego Movie” and “21 Jump Street,” wanted to inject more humor into the storyline and encouraged improvisation, something Kasdan did not appreciate.


12 Directors Who Were Pushed from the Director’s Chair

Howard will begin work immediately. The picture still has several weeks left on its shooting schedule, and five additional weeks of pre-scheduled reshoots that were planned for later this year. The exact amount of time and money that it will take to actually complete the production (which was about three-quarters finished when the directors were fired), will vary depending on how much rewriting and reshooting Howard deems is necessary after reviewing the script and shot footage.

It is unclear just how Howard will be credited and whether he will share directing credit with Lord and Miller, or potentially take no credit at all (though that seems unlikely). Lord and Miller have the right to appeal any decision, but ultimately, the Directors Guild of America will make the call.


Why Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever

Howard previously worked with Lucasfilm on 1988’s “Willow,” a fantasy adventure that garnered two technical Ocscar nominations (visual effects and sound editing) but was a box office disappointment. Howard’s credits also include hits such as “Parenthood,” “Splash,” “Backdraft,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Apollo 13” and 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind,” about the brilliant, anti-social mathematician John Nash, which won four top Academy Awards including best director and best picture.

These days, however, the former child actor is in need of a big hit. He’s had a string of duds that include “Inferno,” “In the Heart of the Sea,” “Rush,” and “The Dilemma.” His last significant success was 2009’s “Angels & Demons.”

Related stories'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Firing Is Latest in Long Line of Director ExitsWhy Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive)
See full article at Variety - Film News »

5 Directors Who Could Replace Lord & Miller On The Han Solo Movie

Han Solo movie director? Who could replace the departed Lord & Miller? We throw some options into the ring.

We reported very early this morning that Phil Lord and Chris Miller had sadly left the in-production Star Wars spin-off movie based around the character of Han Solo. It’s a great shame as the work that the duo have done on the likes of The Lego Movie and the ‘Jump Street’ films seemed to fit the world of Han Solo perfectly. Our Han Solo movie director choices are below.

Lord & Miller’s leaving of the project as it was shooting here in London was a surprise, and supposedly due to those dastardly creative differences that dog many productions as creatives and execs butt heads. While this is clearly nobody’s fault in particular, it’s a big problem for the studio as production delays lead to big costs, and a new director will need to be found pretty darned quickly.

The film is actually months into production in London, and we’re already hearing rumblings that Ron Howard is being closely tied with the project. While his involvement could be confirmed (or denied) any minute, we thought we’d take a look at who could possibly replace Lord and Miller on the Han Solo movie and fit the mould that this particular kind of film craves.

Ron Howard Han Solo movie director: Ron Howard?

Let’s kick off with the name that is already being associated with the movie. Ron Howard seems like a very safe choice to take the directing reigns on the project, and he’s obviously an accomplished filmmaker more than capable of guiding a film that is part-way through production home. Howard has many big-scale projects in his back catalogue; from the likes of the Robert Langdon trilogy; The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons and last year’s Inferno, 2015’s In The Heart Of The Sea and How The Grinch Stole Christmas, to more intimate affairs such as A Beautiful Mind. Let’s not forget, he has a huge history of comedic movies too, hailing all the way back to Parenthood in the 1990s, Matthew McConaughey-led EdTV, and more recently The Dilemma.

Of course, Howard’s biggest asset from his back-catalogue is his ties with George Lucas with the fantastical cult hit Willow. With his affiliation and previous history with the studio, the fact that he is currently free (despite having some commitments to a biopic on opera star Luciano Pavarotti) and his amazing film-making skill, his involvement is a dead cert – as long as the terms are right, of course.

Lawrence Kasdan Han Solo movie director: Lawrence Kasdan?

With the project many months into production and development having kicked off well over twelve months ago, it may be important to bring someone in who knows the film inside out, and there’s nobody who knows it more that its screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. Kasdan also wrote Star Wars movies The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi, The Force Awakens, so his familiarity with the franchise is unparalleled. With eleven credits to his name as director, Kasdan is also an accomplished filmmaker with a steep history in the western genre over the years, so he could be a good fit.

Kasdan has already proved he can direct grand scale movies (Wyatt Earp) as well as comedies (The Big Chill), and although he hasn’t helmed a film since 2012, he could step out of the gates and own this one completely.

Article continues : Who will be the new Han Solo movie director >>>

The post 5 Directors Who Could Replace Lord & Miller On The Han Solo Movie appeared first on The Hollywood News.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Film Review: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’

Film Review: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’
The “Transformers” films, as befitting a series spun out of a Hasbro monster-truck toy system designed to connect with the inner worldview of nine-year-olds, started off, in 2007, as exceedingly wholesome. What a difference a decade of baroquely semi-coherent robot-fury overkill makes! “Transformers: The Last Knight,” the fifth film in the hugely popular, critically reviled franchise (has there ever been a movie series that put the red state/blue state divide between audiences and reviewers like this one does?), is also the most extravagantly brutish and lurid. There’s still a PG-13 gee-whiz-ness to the proceedings, but the towering, swivel-socketed machine men now seem like they’ve been around the block a few times, complete with pit stops at the race track and dive bars.

The Decepticons — the fey gangsta Mohawk, the goofy bikerish Nitro Zeus — look as if they might be auditioning for “Suicide Squad 2,” and their leader, Megatron, skulks around with the angriest possible attitude, his face marked by a blood-red splash. The good-guy Autobots come off nearly as wasted: Bumblebee is introduced by getting blasted to pieces, and even the stalwart superhero Optimus Prime has slipped over to the sinister side. He has made a deal with the alien sorceress Quintessa, who looks like a very expensive hanging necklace, to salvage the Autobots’ dessicated home planet, Cybertron, by sucking the life out of earth.

There is, in addition, a medieval backstory that returns us to the days of King Arthur, but even this potentially stodgy premise is staged in a heavy-metal Stonehenge-meets-bloodshed way that puts the dark back in Dark Ages. All of which makes “The Last Knight” the first “Transformers” movie that could actually be characterized as badass. Which isn’t a bad thing. It may, in fact, be better.

So what does a better “Transformers” movie look like? There’s still a hurtling slovenliness to it — a sense that overly quick cuts and throwaway lines are taking the place of what, in another movie, would be calmly staged dramatic scenes. (Oh, those!) I can only speculate as to why Michael Bay, at a point long past which most producer/directors would have handed off the directorial reins of this series to someone else (hasn’t he — how can I put this? — said all that he has to say?), is still in there, directing this latest installment. It’s almost as if the series fulfills him: Instead of knuckling under to the system the way he had to do when he made such relatively austere works of artisanal craft as “Armageddon” and “Bad Boys,” here he can just let his destructo action-junkie freak flag fly.

Yet part of what’s exhausting about the “Transformers” films is that hectic bland wholesomeness — the empty energy that can give you a seizure of antic tedium. “The Last Knight,” by contrast, has the somewhat sexier flavor of impending dystopia, and it’s actually, if this can be believed, even more over-the-top than the previous four films. For the first time, the messy hyperactive form and nihilistic crunched-metal content seem to reinforce each other.

Mark Wahlberg has a knack for playing free-floating desolation that isn’t alienated enough to get in the way of his ripped-belly bravura. And though the previous “Transformers” film, “Age of Extinction” (the actor’s first), was so bad it was irredeemable, it’s now clear that he has the ability to ground these movies — to stand up to the metal — in a way that the softer, flakier Shia Labeouf did not.

Wahlberg’s character, the greasy-longish-haired Texas inventor Cade Yeager (sorry, but no matter how often you say it, that doesn’t sound like a name), is off the grid, running a sports-car junk yard where he looks after Autobots like Hound (voiced by John Goodman), a stogie-chomping brawler with Neptune’s beard. The rage of the Decepticons lures Cade out of his doldrums, and before long he’s thrown together with Viviane Wembley, an Oxford professor who is surely the first scholar in the university’s history to teach classes in strappy pumps that look like they were purchased during a Kardashian shopping spree.

Viviane is played by Laura Haddock, a British actress whose greatest presence thus far has been as Peter Quill’s mother in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, but she’s a real find, with a puckish sensual vivacity, goldfish eyes that stare like laser beams, and an effortless ability to spar. Viviane gets drawn into the fray because she’s the last direct descendent of Merlin, and therefore the only one who can connect with the magical staff that’s buried in his coffin. (I know there are a number of screenwriters to blame, but really, who makes this stuff up?)

Mystical medieval hokum aside, Haddock and Wahlberg generate the kind of hostile sexualized chemistry that is fast going out of style, and a movie like this one can use every ounce of it. The two bicker and pout through a plot that’s like “The Da Vinci Code” crossed with a “Terminator” sequel on Jolly Rancher candies, and they’re accompanied by Sir Anthony Hopkins, who plays Sir Edmund Burton, an elite astronomer who guides the events, but is really on hand as a kind of aging mascot of the happily unhinged. Hopkins helps to spank things along with his can-you-believe-this-is-what-it’s-come-to? reading of lines like “What a bitchin’ car she is!”

The plot of “The Last Knight” turns on the apocalypse (and, therefore, the U.S. military), which lends the usual chaotic jumble of events a bit of organizing heft. In the epic climax of a picture like this one, the visuals tend to mean more than, you know, the meaning, and here the world-destroying energy on hand takes the form of a corrosive weapon that looks like gigantic floating shards of cardboard packing debris. It’s all pleasingly spectacular, and also rather empty — at least, until Optimus Prime returns to his true self, his words spoken by Peter Cullen in a voice of such deep rich square nobility that, coming after nearly two-and-a-half hours of hellbent robot-clanking decadence, he seems a cathartically old-fashioned figure. He reminds you that there are moments when this series is capable of making you think that you like it.

Related storiesBox Office: 'Transformers: The Last Knight' Launches With $5.5 Million on TuesdayBox Office: 'Transformers: The Last Knight' Looks Overseas as it Eyes Unremarkable $70 Million Opening'Transformers: The Last Knight' Again Tops Studios' TV Ad Spending
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Watch the UK trailer for Jacques Cousteau biopic ‘The Odyssey’

Altitude have released the UK trailer for the upcoming Jacques Cousteau biopic The Odyssey, which is being directed by Jérôme Salle (Zulu, Anthony Zimmer) and starring Audrey Tautou (Amelie, The Da Vinci Code), Lambert Wilson (Ernest & Celestine, Of Gods and Men) and César Award winning actor Pierre Niney (Frantz, Yves Saint Laurent). The film is set to open in the UK and Ireland on 18 August 2017.

The film examines the life of ocean-explorer and adventurer Jacques Cousteau, one of the iconic figures of the 1960s. Here’s the official synopsis:

Jacques Cousteau, his wife and his two sons are living in paradise, in a beautiful house overlooking the Mediterranean. But all Cousteau can think of is adventure. Thanks to his invention, an independent aqualung allowing divers to breathe under water, he has discovered a whole new world. Now all he wants to do is explore this world. And he is willing
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