Author: Richard Newby

2017’s Movie Report Card: Grading the Year in Film

Commencement Address If 2017 made one thing clear, it’s that I don’t think we can play by the same rules anymore. David Shreve always began these posts by assuring us we survived the year, in what was both a note of congratulations, a sigh of relief, and an acknowledgement that such a feat wasn’t easy, and not everyone could claim to have done so. Yes, we survived 2017, but I think this year it became increasingly important that we did more than survive. We fought. When I think of this year in film and in life, I think of...

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The Girls Are Back in Town in Ocean’s 8 Trailer

Here’s the first trailer for Gary Ross’s Ocean’s 8! This definitely looks like an Ocean’s movie and seems to largely stay on brand with Soderbergh’s trilogy, though it would have been nice to a woman take on the directing duties to further distinguish it from the boy’s club antics of the Clooney led films. Still, Ocean’s 8 has a great cast and looks like it will be a solid addition to the hesit franchise. Hopefully this will form a trilogy of its own and provide a much-needed women led franchise. Ocean’s 8 will be released on June 8th, 2018....

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The War Resumes in Teaser for Sicario Sequel Soldado

Here’s the first trailer for the Taylor Sheridan penned Sicario 2: Soldado. Soldado means solider, and while prior commitments prevented Emily Blunt and Denis Villeneuve from returning for the sequel to their 2015 hit, new director Stefano Sollima shows he’s got the stuff to continue the war. The second installment in Sheridan’s planned trilogy sees the cartel war between the U.S. and Mexican border escalate and further morally corrupt returning characters Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro). Also joining the cast are Matthew Modine and Catherine Keener. While it’s impossible to replicate the talents of Villeneuve...

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Peter Jackson Introduces New Epic Saga in Mortal Engines Teaser

Peter Jackson who helped define 21st century epics, with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has returned with another ambitious project in the form of an adaptation of Phillip Reeve’s award-winning Mortal Engines quartet. This time though, Jackson is screenwriter and producer, while visual effects artist, Christian Rivers, who has teamed up with Jackson through his entire career, takes the director’s helm. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where mobile cities wage war with one another for dwindling resources, Mortal Engines reunites much of the crew from the Middle-Earth saga, and brings together a cast of newcomers and familar faces like Hugo...

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Annihilation Aims to Create Something New in Second Trailer

Here’s the second trailer for Alex Garland’s Annihilation. This latest trailer is more action packed and overtly horror-centric than the first, and the novel for that matter, but given Garland’s involvement and some of the behind the scenes reports about producer concerns over the film being too intelligent, it’s likely that Annihilation will be a bit more quiet and subtle than that this trailer suggests. But even if it’s not and ends up being more James Cameron than Ridley Scott, Garland clearly has a fascinating and unique vision for a challenging story to adapt, and a great cast. Annihilation...

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5 Best Additions Star Wars Comics Have Made to the Canon

Originally published on May 4, 2016. We’ve all experienced the overwhelming joy of The Force Awakens by now, but Disney’s licensing opportunity has created another rewarding experience within the Star Wars universe. Through Marvel Comics, a new Star Wars canon is being built, one that is filling in the blanks between films and creating new characters and plot points that feel just as much a part of this saga as the ones we’ve known for the past 40 years. Smartly, Marvel has decided to keep their Star Wars output small, ensuring continuity and quality. Unlike other comic books and...

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The Top 10 Star Wars Video Games

*Originally published December 16, 2016. With the Star Wars Universe cinematically expanding beyond its episode installments, we thought it would be a good time to revisit some of the other onscreen narratives that took us deeper into this universe with new worlds, new characters, and new mythology. Typically, when we discuss the now defunct Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) we talk about the novels and comics, and while those were impressive in their own right, it shouldn’t be forgotten that more than any other intellectual property, we’ve had a surplus of wonderful Star Wars games. So dust off the...

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75th Golden Globe Nominees Announced

This morning, Kristen Bell, Garrett Hedlund, Sharon Stone, and Alfre Woodard announced the 2018 Golden Globe nominees live from the Beverley Hilton Hotel. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Sunday, January 7th and will be hosted by Seth Meyers. The major player this year is Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, which led the way with seven nominations. This is a huge win for the fan-favorite director and genre filmmaking. The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri followed with six nominations each. Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk also received some love, though without recognition in any of the...

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Spider-Man Gets Animated in Teaser for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

2017 successfully brought Spider-Man into the MCU, and now Sony is branching out with an animated Spider-Man film that sees black-hispanic teenager Miles Morales, team-up with a host of Spider-Men from parallel universes to learn the meaning of great power and responsibility. Scripted by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, directed by Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey, and featuring the voice talents of Shameik Moore, Brian Tyree Henry, Mahershala Ali, and Liev Schreiber, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will finally see the long awaited debut of Miles Morales on the big-screen, as well as the Spidey-centric multiverse that made waves in...

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Robert Rodriguez Returns with first trailer for Alita: Battle Angel

After almost 20 years of James Cameron trying to make this film happen, here’s the first trailer for Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel, based on the famous manga series. Yeah, it looks weird, but credit to Robert Rodriguez for taking something as commonly explored as A.I. in film and presenting it with a vision that’s entirely his. Hollywood has gotten a lot of deserved criticism for their adaptations of Japanese properties and simply placing them in white America. But Rodriguez looks to do something entirely unique which is situating the story in what appears to be a Latino-American world,...

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Life Once Again Finds A Way in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Trailer

Here’s the first trailer for J.A. Bayona’s fifth installment of the Jurassic franchise, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom! Bayona, who impressed us with The Orphanage, The Impossible, and A Monster Calls, has clearly upped the ante on the franchise’s visual style, removing some of the summer blockbuster sheen for a look that’s a little more grounded in the realm of disaster pics. This goes along with the film’s seeming environmental slant, which sees our returning leads from Jurassic World, and Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm, trying to prevent the second extinction of the dinosaurs, who are under threat from a volcano...

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New on Amazon Prime: Fences is a Performance Powerhouse With Questionable Follow-Through

Originally published on January 9, 2017, Fences is now available for streaming for Amazon Prime customers. Overview: Based on August Wilson’s Pulitzer-Prize winning play, Fences examines the struggles of an aging black man in the 1950s as he tries to provide for his family, while his personal failures isolate him. Paramount Pictures; 2016; Rated PG-13; 139 minutes. August Personage: We’d be hard pressed to find a writer who so exquisitely captured the voices of black Americans during the 20th century like August Wilson. Wilson’s works carry blackness within their very punctuation, each break, stammer, or interruption illuminating a great...

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Blade Runner 2049 is an Epic Personal Journey

Originally published on  October 9, 2017; republished in celebration of Director Ridley Scott’s 80th birthday. Overview: 30 years after the events of the original film, Blade Runner K uncovers the body of a replicant who died in childbirth. Investigating this seeming impossibility unravels a mystery that can change the world and stop human progress dead in its tracks. Warner Bros. Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 163 minutes. Fearful Symmetry: Blade Runner 2049 begins with an eye, before the scene shifts to a spinner vehicle moving through dark, towering structures. This opening directly recalls the opening of Ridley Scott’s film, all...

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We Were So Wrong: Prometheus is a Modern Sci-Fi Classic

Originally published on May 17, 2017; republished in celebration of Director Ridley Scott’s 80th birthday. Even in space, everyone can hear the screams of discord brought about by Prometheus. Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien universe in 2012 wasn’t met with the critical accolades many were hoping for, nor did it meet many of the expectations that fans of the franchise had been waiting for since the property had gone off the rails in 1997. But Ridley Scott has never been a stranger to divisive films, with a number of his greatest, or at least most interesting, works failing...

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The Entire MCU Assembles in Avengers: Infinity War Trailer

Here’s our first look at Avengers: Infinity War! Now that’s a hell of a trailer, well worth the hype and anticipation! The trailer really captures the epic angle the film is going for, making it feel like a sci-fi/fantasy event rather than a mere superhero movie. The callback to Nick Fury’s speech in The Avengers delivers serious chills and sets the tone for this being the beginning of the endgame for this stage of the MCU. Infinity War seemingly captures the dynamic look of comic books, forgoeing the washed out gray backdrops of Civil War, and instead presenting a...

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