That’s a Wrap: The Week in Movie News

MCDPADA EC027There’s casting news on the sixth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise, and one familiar face won’t be returning. Cinema Blend reports that Jeremy Renner‘s William Brandt character is reportedly not part of the upcoming film, but Tom Cruise‘s Ethan Hunt will be flanked by returning cast members Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin and Sean Harris. Newcomers to the franchise include Henry Cavill, Sian Brooke and Vanessa Kirby, though the nature of their characters has yet to be revealed. Christopher McQuarrie will direct the film for a July 2018 release.

Beyonce is reportedly the first choice of director Jon Favreau to voice Nala in a Disney live-action remake of the 1994 hit film Lion King. Variety reports that the singer-actress has not committed to the role as of yet though. Donald Glover has signed on as Simba and James Earl Jones will be reprising his role as Simba’s father Mufasa.

Speaking of voice roles, Channing Tatum will voice the first president of the United States, George Washington, in an upcoming animated film, America: The Motion Picture. Netflix is backing the film, which will be an R-rated revisionist history take on how the U.S. came to be.

Jake Gyllenhaal has been cast in Stronger, a film centered around the Boston Marathon Bombing. Deadline reports that Gyllenhaal will star as Jeff Bauman, a working class Bostonian who struggles to recover after losing both his legs while watching his girlfriend cross the finish line in the marathon. Though traumatized by the explosion, Bauman helped Boston law enforcement identify the killers. The film is set to arrive on Sept. 22.

Coming off an Oscar nomination for Hacksaw Ridge, actor Andrew Garfield has signed on to star in and produce Black Lion. Deadline reports that the film is about the memorable life and controversial death of war correspondent Carlos Mavroleon. The shipping empire heir left his job as a Wall Street trader to become a war correspondent in Afghanistan. During his final assignment he was tasked with sneaking into tribal territories not long after President Clinton’s missile strikes against Osama bin Laden’s camps. He was found dead in his hotel room under mysterious circumstances.

Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg are ready to team up again on Mile 22, a film that may turn into an action franchise. Not much is known about the film as of yet, but Wahlberg told Variety that it was “an intelligent, adult action film.”

O’Shea Jackson Jr., who broke out starring as his father Ice Cube in the film Straight Outta Compton, is reportedly in talks to join Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The film is a sequel to the 2014 Godzilla film that starred Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ken WatanabeVariety reports that Watanabe may be the only cast member returning, but Jackson joins a cast that also includes Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown. The movie isn’t expected to arrive until 2019.

Amber Heard has landed the lead role in the upcoming crime thriller The Kind Worth Killing. The movie is based on Peter Swanson‘s 2015 novel, with Heard playing a mysterious killer who meets a man on a flight from London to Boston who wants to murder his unfaithful wife. The pair then strike up a bond while plotting his wife’s demise.

Though the film has yet to receive an official title, director Paul Thomas Anderson‘s latest collaboration with actor Daniel Day Lewis is expected to arrive in time for Christmas this year. Focus Features confirmed that the movie would be part of their 2017 release schedule. The Playlist reports that the untitled film is set in the couture world of 1950s London. The story illuminates the life behind the curtain of an uncompromising dressmaker commissioned by royalty and high society.

The Whedonverse may soon include Batgirl. Deadline reports that Joss Whedon is in negotiations to write, direct and produce a stand-alone Batgirl film for Warner Bros.

The story of incorruptible lawman Elliott Ness has been a favorite big screen character over the years, and it looks like we’re about to get an update. Deadline reports that director Paul Greengrass is negotiating to helm Ness, a project written by Brian Helgeland for Paramount Pictures. The project is based off a graphic novel titled Torso penned by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko.

Singer, producer and frequent Voice coach Pharrell Williams is reportedly the muse for a new musical that’s been acquired by 20th Century Fox. Deadline reports that the story would follow Williams’ childhood in Virginia Beach, with Michael Mayer set to direct.

‘Rocky’ Mobile Game Slugs Its Way To Google Play


Android gamers now have a puncher’s chance at winning the title shot as an iconic cinematic pugilist as Rocky is now available on Google Play. Rocky, published by mobile games developer Tapinator in conjunction with MGM Interactive (in celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary), was previously released on iOS.

Along with the android release, an iOS update introduces fighters Tommy Gunn (from Rocky V) and Mason Dixon (Rocky Balboa) into the game. Clubber Lang, Apollo Creed, and Ivan Drago were already featured in the time.

With Rocky, players can challenge real life opponents worldwide, build an ultimate fighter roster and unlock new boxers as they upgrade their gym and earn various rewards. Boosting a boxer’s stats is achieved by training in the gym with legendary trainer Mickey Goldmill!

We’re just glad Bill Conti’s memorable score is also featured in the game! Check out the trailer below and tell us if you’re going to give this version of Rocky a shot!

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

‘Donnie Darko’ Hits Theaters With Week Long Run And 4K Restoration


Whether you love the theatrical or director’s cut, Donnie Darko is an immersive film that, over the years, has grown in cinematic stature. The picture put filmmaker Richard Kelly on the map, and he currently supervised the 4K restoration of both of his cuts in celebration of the film’s 15th’ anniversary.

“It was a long and painstaking process,” said Kelly who collaborated with UK-based Arrow Films on the restoration project. “But I felt it was a blessing to get to do it because a lot of films kind of get thrown into oblivion and they decay. Digital media decays – celluloid is a very resilient substance and this was shot on film and the original negative was in great shape. I’m in a big believer in digital projection and presentation. Digital can do wonders in preserving the quality and grain of celluloid and I think there can be a marriage between the two.”

Though Donnie Darko was a critically acclaimed film that was also loved by cinephiles, the new release of the project will hopefully generate an even bigger fanbase for the film. It may also lead movie enthusiasts to take a deeper dive into the filmmaker’s criminally underrated features Southland Tales and The Box.

“I’m grateful that they are wanting to put it back in theaters,” said Kelly, who also added that he’ll be directing another feature this year. “For a long time Donnie has been in the cult category and I’m happy to wear that badge and I’m honored that anyone ascribes the word “cult” to my work but I’m wanting very much to be in the mainstream . . . that’s where every artist wants to be – in the mainstream is where you can raise the money to realize these (projects).”

'Donnie Darko' filmmaker Richard Kelly

'Donnie Darko' filmmaker Richard Kelly

A coming of age drama that’s mixed together with refreshingly abstract time travel elements is an ambitious filmmaking feat no matter what the year, and Kelly reflects on the lasting appeal of Donnie Darko.

“I think aesthetics trump everything in cinema,” said Kelly, who adds that all three of his movies have some form of connection in his expanded universe. “It begins with aesthetics. That’s the gateway to to the story – it’s how it’s presented and that includes the performances, the cinematography and the music. The design elements. And if those are well rendered then you get into the story and the narrative and the screenplay. The aesthetics of Donnie Darko worked and it allowed people a clear gateway into the story.”

Donnie Darko opens in select theaters today. For a list of theaters, click here.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Ryan Gosling: With ‘Blade Runner,’ Everything New Feels Old Again

ew-openerRyan Gosling was a mere 19 months old when the original Blade Runner came out in 1982, so we’re going to assume he didn’t see the movie during its initial theatrical release.  He is, however, starring in the sequel, Blade Runner 2049. The new film brings back themes and a couple of actors — Harrison Ford and Edward James Olmos — from the original, which was one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction movies of its era.  And because the original set the bar for a lot of the sci-fi films and TV shows that followed, Gosling says the world of Blade Runner will feel instantly familiar. (Click on the media bar to hear Ryan Gosling)

Blade Runner 2049 opens in theaters on October

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Posted by Susan Brown

Naomi Watts Takes On Suburban Danger With ‘The Book of Henry’ Trailer


Director Colin Trevorrow scored a huge hit with Jurassic World, but before that he received accolades for his crafty indie drama Safety Not Guaranteed. Now the versatile filmmaker tries his hand with the coming of age genre with The Book of Henry. The great news, right off the bat, is the ensemble cast is top notch.

The story centers on a suburban mom named Susan (Naomi Watts) who works at a diner with her close friend Sheila (Sarah Silverman).Susan’s blessed with Henry (Jaeden Lieberher), her 11-year-old son who has an active imagination and isn’t afraid of stepping outside that proverbial box. Henry is also a wonderful older brother to Peter (Room’s Jacob Tremblay) and he’s also attempting to help a classmate (Maddie Zielger) who harbors a dangerous secret. Will Henry’s overreaching need to help land him in trouble or will he change everyone’s lives in the process?

The picture opens nationwide June 16th and the trailer just made its debut today. It’s wonderful to have a movie that’s not an animated or super hero flick come out this summer, and we’re hoping this movie reaches similar creative heights of previous coming of age dramas (most notably Stand By Me). Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think!

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi