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San Diego — As director Luc Besson and his wife Virginie Besson-Silla laid out in meticulous detail a vision for “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” — based on the French comic series “Valerian and Laureline” — their passion for the heavy genre material was certainly palpable. But it was difficult to ignore the specter of other attempted franchise launches from respected filmmakers that crashed on the rocks of “unproven intellectual property.”
“Finding Dory” broke Andrew Stanton out of director jail after his 2012 Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation “John Carter” forced Disney to take a $200 million write-down. Warner Bros. took a hit on the titanically budgeted “Jupiter Ascending” last year from Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski, after holding it over from 2014 to delay the pain. Unless it’s tied to successful preexisting brands (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), space opera just seems like a difficult sell these days. »
- Kristopher Tapley
DeHaan, who made his breakout in Josh Trank’s Chronicle before continuing that superhero streak in Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man franchise, will take point as the title character in Besson’s ambitious adaptation, one that mines inspiration from the eponymous comic book series.
Valerian is one half of a pair of special time-travelling operatives, a title DeHaan’s lead shares with Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad), who is on board in the role of Laureline. Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Rihanna, 10 Cloverfield Lane star John Goodman and Rutger Hauer currently line the supporting roles.
While there’s no question that Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets harbors truckloads of promise, big-budget, fantastical science fiction that plays well with the »
- Michael Briers
Hollywood isn't taking many chances these days. In an era of reboots and remakes, original movies like Columbia Pictures' Pixels, Walt Disney Pictures' Tomorrowland and Warner Bros. Pictures' Jupiter Ascending both underwhelmed critics and underperformed at the box office. Revamped properties aren't sure bets either, as Universal Pictures' R.I.P.D. and New Line Cinema's Jack the Giant Slayer proved. Millions were spent making those blockbusters. Add in marketing costs, and the losses increase exponentially. On paper, films like 47 Ronin and John Carter seemed like good ideas. And every executive dreams of being the one to green-light the next billion-dollar franchise, à la Pirates of »
By John Lemay
For many years Tarzan was a staple of cinema—in fact from its very onset. The first Tarzan feature, Tarzan of the Apes, came out in 1918 and was followed by close to 50 other adaptations in the last century. His star started to fade in the late 1960s and there were no Tarzan features in the 1970s save for one. The 1980s somewhat provided his last gasp on the big screen with movies like the Bo Derek vehicle Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981) and- more impressively- the well-received Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. The 1990s saw only 1998’s Tarzan and the Lost City and the 1999 Disney animated version. In fact, for all many “youngsters” know Tarzan may as well have originated with the Disney cartoon. For the first time in many years, we finally have a new big-budget live-action iteration of one of the screen »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
With Independence Day falling on a Monday, the holiday weekend’s three-day totals so far took a sweet jump over 2015, when the 4th fell on Saturday. After a slow summer, the result is the best increase over the equivalent weekend in some time; three films topped $30 million for the three days, all better than any last year.
The top spot was nabbed both last weekend and in 2015 by a Pixar film in its third week. Incredibly though “Finding Dory” is now 50% ahead of “Inside Out” through the same period, with a clear path to the best total of the year, at least until December’s “Star Wars” entry takes its shot.
- Tom Brueggemann
“From the author of ‘John Carter’!” is a tagline that no studio would use to promote a movie, but “The Legend of Tarzan” — another dive into the pulpy output of writer Edgar Rice Burroughs — feels like another perfunctory attempt to breathe new life into a familiar property. There’s never a moment in this new film that comes off like anyone involved was driven or aching to put a new spin on Tarzan; instead, it’s a reflection of public awareness of the character, whose name gets a little registered trademark symbol in the opening and closing credits. If marketing-based. »
- Alonso Duralde
It would be fun to think that “Independence Day: Resurgence” is as godawful as a lot of people want to say it is — that it’s the “John Carter” of bombastically overscaled paramilitary ’90s-nostalgia alien disaster flicks. But seriously, it ain’t that bad. (And let’s be honest: The 1996 original isn’t that good.) It’s a greasy high-cheese blockbuster served up by people who know (mostly) what they’re doing — which is to say, director Roland Emmerich, in the 20 years since “ID4,” has not lost his touch for shamelessly grandiose and derivative sci-fi schlock spectacle. That said, a movie like this one wouldn’t be a movie like this one if it didn’t offer at least a few invitations to giggle at it. Viewers, of course, are free to choose their own, but just to get you started, here are the 5 most ridiculous things about “ID4: Resurgence. »
- Owen Gleiberman
One realm to rule them all. One realm to find them, one realm to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, in the land of Middle-earth where the shadows lie.
Now, far be it from me to ever describe Middle-earth as a dark shadow over anything, but for everyone else trying to make a mega-hit fantasy film, the very thought of competing with Peter Jackson’s adaptations of The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit must seem the equivalent of toppling literal evil on Earth.
It seems that any time a big-budget fantasy flick is released, they get sneered at as generic, lacking the richness of detail or story compared to Lord Of The Rings.
But if this sounds like I’m suggesting there »
Ever since Taylor Kitsch first stole our hearts as Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights, the sexy star has had more than a few handsome onscreen moments. From the shirtless scenes in John Carter to the hot stares on True Detective, Kitsch continues to confirm his heartthrob status. Keep reading for a look at some of Taylor Kitsch's most swoon-worthy movie and TV moments, then see what he recently told us about his time on Friday Night Lights. »
- Laura Marie Meyers
Finding Dory, 2016.
The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
Unforgettable, that’s what you are. Well not you fair reader (although we do love you greatly!), the reference alludes to Pixar, cinema’s almighty purveyor of animated delights that have catapulted us through oceans, toy barns, incredible feats of incredible-ness and the inner workings of the young mind. Unforgettable experiences all but none have been quite literally unforgettable than Finding Nemo or more specifically his friend Dory, the absent-minded blue tang that literally crashed into his and father Marlin’s life back in 2003. Thirteen years later (though just the one in ocean years), the threesome haven’t slowed down but is Finding Dory more Toy Story 2/3 than Cars 2?
A year has passed since Marlin (Brooks) and Dory (DeGeneres) fought off seagulls, sharks and countless other obstacles to rescue Nemo from a dentist’s waiting room fish tank and bring him home safely. No closer to remembering her life before meeting the father and son duo, Dory has settled into life with them even helping out with the school trips now and again as a pseudo-school mum but such activities see her soon yearn for her own parents and memories begin to flood back. Desperate to find them, she sets off back into the dark recesses of the Atlantic in search of father Charlie (Levy) and mother Jenny (Keaton).
What is always so true with any Pixar film is just how wonderful all the environments they create feel once you’re transported into them and none more so with both Nemo and now Dory with every element of the ocean floors and aquatic life brought to life with immense detail and beauty. It feels like we’ve never left when Dory kicks off, the blue-green sea rippled with the wonderful sunlight from above as the mesmeric colours of the cove’s are superbly rendered once again. Indeed Pixar has come a long way since the first adventure in terms of technical abilities (hell, even Nemo was leap years forward from their early beginnings) but now at their apex, it really feels as though you are looking into a glass tank or taking a scuba trip into the deep blue such is the majesty of the images.
With original director Andrew Stanton back to take the sequel reigns after his unsuccessful John Carter venture, everything feels like home both in terms of design and look but also in the story department. It would have been very easy to have made Finding Nemo 2, focusing again on the young clownfish as he explores the wonders of the deep but shifting the focus keeps everything as fresh and vibrant as its surroundings. But Pixar equally excels when dealing with the reality of its stories whatever the situation and Dory will pull at the heartstrings as much as tickle the funny bone. Stanton and co-writer Victoria Strouse beautifully balance the laughs with true and meaningful reflections of loss and separation and that our flaws, however, big or small, should inspire rather than suppress. That said, some moments don’t touch the heart as deeply as they should while the final act is perhaps a slapstick stretch too far but it’s never anything less than deliriously entertaining.
And of course, when you have the comedic brilliance of Ellen DeGeneres front and centre, half the battle is won. The comedian and talk-show host has been aching for a sequel to be made and having got her wish she tackles it with full force, filling the screen with both heart and humour. It’s easy to see why such talents as Eugene Levy, Diane Keaton, Ed O’Neill and the always superb Bill Hader when supporting characters such as these as wonderfully realised as everything else on show. Keep those ears peeled for a very funny cameo too.
Any fears that the long-awaited sequel to Nemo was never going to work are slain within minutes as Pixar hits another home run – you’d think they were getting tired by now. Joyous, touching and superbly realised, Finding Dory is a sequel worthy of the name and one that could easily be even bigger than its predecessor. Get the swimming cossies and goggles at the ready and just keep swimming.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Scott J. Davis is a Senior Staff Writer and Roving Reporter for Flickering Myth – Follow him on Twitter
- Scott J. Davis
Andrew Stanton had built his entire career on animation, with films like Finding Nemo and Wall-e, before making his live-action debut with 2012’s John Carter. This summer’s Finding Dory brings him back into the Pixar fold, but he’s already looking to mix things up again. In a new interview, Stanton revealed that he wants to take a break from […]
- Angie Han
It's been "years and years" since Taylor Kitsch reunited with his Friday Night Lights costars, and he can't wait to spend time with his former castmates this weekend. Thanks to Marriott Rewards, Kitsch is teaming up with Zach Gilford, Minka Kelly, and Aimee Teegarden to compete in Saturday's Spartan Race in Chicago, where the group will be tackling obstacles and, as Kitsch joked, possibly calling Kyle Chandler for a prerace pep talk, Coach Taylor style. Over the past few years, the 35-year-old actor has starred in movies like John Carter, Battleship, and Lone Survivor, and last year he was back on the small screen with True Detective. It was his breakout role as Fnl's Tim Riggins, though, that made him a household name, and to talk to Kitsch is to remember why his popular character is such a fan favorite. Like Riggins, Kitsch is charming and quick with the one-liners - which makes sense, »
- Laura Marie Meyers
Jaws, Back to the Future, Et … the list of blockbusters to have faced late-in-the-day tampering is a long and venerable one
The Oscar-winning director Andrew Stanton, on making the leap from Finding Nemo and Wall-e to the ill-fated space spectacular John Carter, was asked to name the biggest difference between live action and animated film-making. His reply: the cost of reshoots.
Pixar, Stanton said, might reconfigure a movie half a dozen times before considering it finished. With an entirely digital mise-en-scène, the studio’s greatest expense when trying to turn around a failing film was the re-recording of dialogue. Video could then be reworked to match remarkably cheaply, via not much more (figuratively speaking) than a few swipes of an animator’s mouse.
Continue reading »
- Ben Child
Ah, youth. The days when you reveled in your dorm room and feasted on delicacies like hair dryer-warmed pizza or ramen gently braised over a light bulb. Your bank account might've been empty, but you still managed to feed your soul with the deepest of lessons: Money isn't everything.
And you weren't alone when enlightenment struck. Since Hollywood's golden age, plenty of movies that had hard-knock openings later blossomed into beloved cinematic staples or legit cult classics. Here are just a few, in all their flop-to-favorite glory.
'It's a Wonderful Life' (1946)
Unthinkable as it seems, "It's a Wonderful Life" was not having a very wonderful life at all in 1946. Though award season was kind to the movie, audiences just weren't feeling its darker themes, and Rko Pictures wasn't feeling the money -- "Life" lost about $525,000 at the box office.
Ultimately, this James Stewart-flavored slice of Americana owes »
- Dan Ketchum
If there is a reliable truism that can coexist alongside the American film industry’s dance of death with economically insane budgets that now routinely soar north of $200 million, it is that (most) critics and potential ticket-buyers can be counted on to review bad buzz and publicized woes of dollars and production instead of the actual movie once it finally finds its way to a screen. And it may in fact be true that the drama behind the scenes often outstrips the quality of the wide-screen finished product, though certainly this is not always the case. The reception of big-budget box-office flops like John Carter, The Lone Ranger, Jupiter Ascending and Oliver Stone’s Alexander are but some late examples of our number-crunching obsession with pop culture minutiae and the fascination of a behemoth’s preordained fall. Most who trudged out to see any of these films during their theatrical »
- Dennis Cozzalio
In the past few years as Disney has essentially become a nuclear superpower in its own right, the studio has had a steady stream of hits both critically and commercially. Yet there's always seemingly one or two films a year that rain on its parade.
These include 2010's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," 2011's "Mars Needs Moms," 2012's "John Carter," 2013's "The Lone Ranger," 2014's "Muppets Most Wanted," and 2015's "Tomorrowland" which were all notable (and costly) duds for the Mouse House.
Now, industry projections have revised the numbers for its Memorial Day release "Alice Through the Looking Glass" downward with Deadline reporting that the $170 million budgeted fantasy sequel is looking to take in just $31 million for the three-day weekend and $40 million for the four-day holiday.
That's considerably down on the $60 million estimates being bandied about earlier this week. Domestically the movie is on track to earn just $9 million on Friday, including »
- Garth Franklin
Teen Lust is definitely a dubious title. It's not one you want to order on the company dime while on a business trip. Nor do you want it read back to you while Visa runs a credit fraud check. And it's probably not a title you want your spouse spotting during that end of the month bill pay. Perhaps that's why we haven't heard too much about it yet. People are afraid. The movie may be hampered by it's gleefully inappropriate nomenclature. But that saucy title barely scratches at the surface of what hides behind it.
Yes, lovers of 80s sex comedies are in for a real treat. And the movie certainly trumps the idea that Hollywood has run out of original ideas. We, as true movie fans, just have to dig a litter deeper. If Teen Lust had of been released in 1986, or even in 1996, untouched, we'd be celebrating its anniversary as a classic. »
Duncan Jones’s adaptation of the online game has a veneer of grandeur and some intriguing characters but its fixation with CGI spectacle makes for a lifeless watch
The World of Warcraft online game apparently had 12 million players at its peak, and every single one of them is going to need to turn up to see this – with their extended families – if it’s ever going to get past its first instalment. It’s an expensive, high-fantasy epic reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. And there’s much to admire in its ambition, its design, even its politics. But there’s also a whiff of the John Carter about it. Like the 2012 Martian flop, it’s a complex, jargon-heavy, deadly earnest battle epic, short on star power and with more than a touch of 1970s fantasy art about it. Its greatest battle could be against widespread indifference. »
- Steve Rose
30 years ago today, Navy fighter pilot hotshots Maverick, Iceman, and Goose first flew across big screens around the world. It was on May 16, 1986 that Top Gun opened in theaters. Already well on his way to becoming a household name thanks to 1983’s Risky Business, Tom Cruise became a certified movie star with the release of Top Gun. It was also the first hit for director Tony Scott, who went on to direct other action flicks and thrillers like Crimson Tide, Man on Fire, and Déjà Vu (which reunited him with Top Gun star Val Kilmer) before his death in 2012. Top Gun, a slick, upbeat, Reagan-era ode to masculinity, boasted a memorable soundtrack (with Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” and Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone”), impressive dogfights, an endlessly quotable though often goofy script, and, upon its release, immediate box office success. It became the highest grossing movie of 1986. Also on this day, »
- Emily Rome
Sharing the screen with two of the world’s most renown actors can be intimidating. It’s especially intimidating when the project is a Shakespeare adaptation and the two actors have delivered some of the most well-regarded modern performances of the Bard’s work. That’s the situation Lynn Collins found herself in when she played Portia in the 2004 film adaptation of The Merchant of Venice. The actress, who has since gone on to appear in movies like John Carter and TV shows like True Blood, starred in Merchant opposite Al Pacino’s Shylock and Jeremy Irons’ Antonio. Collins came to the project with plenty of Shakespeare cred herself, having taking on the Bard’s works onstage several times both professionally and as a student at Juilliard. But when it came time to film the crucial trial scene, a shining moment for Portia, one of Shakespeare’s greatest heroines, “I »
- Emily Rome
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