/FILM Saudi Arabia
'Fast and Furious' Franchise Confirmed to End with Two-Part Finale Directed by Justin Lin - /FILM
Universal is in the midst of planning the Fast and Furious franchise ending with a two-part finale that will be directed by Justin Lin.
Back in February this year, when we couldn’t even comprehend that our entire year was going to be ruined, Vin Diesel talked about the likelihood of ending the Fast and Furious franchise with Fast 10. However, rather than being one final movie, the franchise star and producer floated the idea of creating a two-part finale, not unlike the end of franchises like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight. Now that plan has been confirmed by Universal Pictures, and Justin Lin will be at the helm of both of the final installments of the multi-billion dollar franchise. Deadline has news on the Fast and Furious franchise ending with two more movies following the upcoming F9, now slated for release over Memorial Day weekend on May 28, 2021. Does that mean this we’ll be getting Fast 10: Part I and Fast 10: Part 2, or will this be Fast10 Your Seatbelts and The Last of the Furious (hat tip to Brian Lynch for that stroke of genius) with a narrative connection like Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame? That remains to be seen, but Vin Diesel and Universal clearly want to send off this franchise with a bang, and keeping Justin Lin in the director’s chair is the best way to do that. As of now, Vin Diesel will be joined by Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Ludacris Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Sung Kang, who is making his big return to the franchise in F9 after his character Han was believed to be dead. It’s not clear if Charlize Theron, John Cena, Helen Mirren or Cardi B will join them after the events of F9, but that’s likely because that would require venturing into more spoiler territory. Though I guess it’s a bit of a spoiler to know that the primary cast members aren’t in any danger of dying in the ninth installment. But what about Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham? They’ve each been a key part of the franchise in their own way. In fact, Johnson has been credited with help reinvigorating the franchise. But Johnson famously had some beef with Vin Diesel behind the scenes, and while that’s believed to be squashed as best it can, the production of the Fast and Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw didn’t rub Diesel the right way, and it’s not clear if those characters will return for the finale. Universal would be stupid to leave out those two big names, so I’m sure they’ll figure something out there. There are also rumblings of Gal Gadot potentially coming back to the franchise, which would make this quite the blockbuster finale. Back when Diesel talked about the possibility of ending the franchise with a two-part finale, he also hoped “this world to continue for generations to come.” So while a two-part finale could end the primary franchise, that doesn’t mean we couldn’t get more spin-offs or new stories with new characters set in the same world. But we’ve got a long time before we have to worry about that since there’s no indication as to when production on these two movies could begin. Stay tuned. Cool Posts From Around the Web:
'Hillbilly Elegy' Trailer: Amy Adams and Glenn Close Deliver Appalachian Angst in Ron Howard's Oscar Contender - /FILM
Amy Adams and Glenn Close are two generations of an Appalachian family dealing with addiction and economic struggles in Ron Howard's true-story drama.
In the fallout of the 2016 election, J. D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy became a nationwide hit, as media pundits sought to understood President Trump’s victory and influence over the rust belt states. The notion of the “Real America” became a hot-button topic, and one that Vance’s memoir supposedly captured in all of its depictions of economic anxiety and white working class poverty. Which means it was ripe for a sentimental adaptation by Ron Howard, with none other than Oscar nominees Glenn Close and Amy Adams chewing the scenery and donning bad wigs and old-age make-up to earn their long-awaited trophies. Watch the Hillbilly Elegy trailer below. Based on author J.D. Vance’s book of the same same, Hillbilly Elegy follows the writer (played by Gabriel Basso) as he’s on the verge of landing a prestigious job when a family crisis drags him back to the Appalachian hometown he had spent so long trying to escape. There he’s forced to grapple with his mother Bev’s (Adams) drug addiction while reconciling his memories of his sharp grandmother, Mamaw (Close), who raised him. Already, awards pundits are speculating that this film will be a major Oscar contender, with special attention to the performances of Close and Adams, who could finally win the Oscars that have long eluded them. And they certainly give performances that the Academy just loves to award these days overwrought, over-the-top, and with layers of old-age make-up and bedraggled wigs that prove that the beautiful actresses are willing to “transform” for the role. It’s all so transparent and hokey, and I can’t help but fear that this could be the movie that finally wins Adams her an Oscar, and not the dozens of past performances that actually allow her nuance and complexity. Hillbilly Elegy‘s timing also couldn’t be worse on the eve of the 2020 elections, when the idea of Trump’s “Real America” has long been found to be a fallacy that excuses the underlying racist foundations of the country. If Hillbilly Elegy does gain traction during the awards season race, I can see it becoming this year’s Oscar villain. Here is the synopsis for Hillbilly Elegy, which also stars Haley Bennett and Freida Pinto: J.D. Vance (Gabriel Basso), a former Marine from southern Ohio and current Yale Law student, is on the verge of landing his dream job when a family crisis forces him to return to the home hes tried to forget. J.D. must navigate the complex dynamics of his Appalachian family, including his volatile relationship with his mother Bev (Amy Adams), whos struggling with addiction. Fueled by memories of his grandmother Mamaw (Glenn Close), the resilient and whip-smart woman who raised him, J.D. comes to embrace his familys indelible imprint on his own personal journey. Hillbilly Elegy is set to debut is in select theaters around the country throughout November ahead of its Netflix streaming debut on November 24, 2020. Cool Posts From Around the Web:
'WandaVision' Trailer: Scarlet Witch and Vision Are Back in a Warped Sitcom - /FILM
Disney+ released a new WandaVision trailer, bringing Scarlet Witch and Vision back together after their last traumatic experience in Avengers: Endgame.
Wanda Maxmioff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) are back in their own Marvel Studios series on Disney+. But the last time we saw them, things were pretty traumatic, and it appeared to be the end of Vision. Somehow, the synthetic superhero is back in WandaVision, and he’s trapped in some kind of warped sitcom, emulating classic television across different eras of entertainment. See what we’re talking about in the new WandaVision trailer that just debuted. We’re not really sure why or how this scenario is unfolding, but it looks like one of the most trippy Marvel projects to date. Kathryn Hahn makes a brief appearance, and she acknowledges the fact that Vision is dead. So this is going to be some existential stuff. There’s also a fun shot of Paul Bettany dressed up in a cheap Halloween costume version of Vision from Marvel Comics, so we’ll get some more lighthearted stuff in this series too. Plus, blink and you might miss Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau. Reality will be bent, and WandaVision is slated to have some kind of major tie-in to the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. So if you’re going to keep up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’re gonna want to watch these shows on Disney+. Marvel Studios WandaVision blends the style of classic sitcoms with the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany)two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban livesbegin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. The new series is directed by Matt Shakman; Jac Schaeffer is head writer. Debuts on Disney+ this year. WandaVision is slated to arrive on Disney+ sometime this fall, but there’s no specific release date yet. Cool Posts From Around the Web:
'Bill & Ted Face the Music' Review: A Mostly Excellent, Much-Needed Return - /FILM
Keanu Reeves and Alex Winters' return as the lovable dimwitted time travelers is a pretty rocking time. Read our Bill and Ted Face the Music review here.
Can Bill and Ted exist in 2020? That’s the big question attached to Bill & Ted Face the Music, the long-awaited third film in the Bill & Ted series which comes nearly 30 years after Bogus Journey. The two lovable dimwitted slackers who found themselves unlikely saviors of the world seemed like a wonderful relic of the ’90s, products of the kind of absurd surrealism that could only come from the minds of people who were very young, very silly, or very high. The world has drastically changed since the ’90s, and not much for the better. It feels like the time for silliness, for that kind of feel-good comedy that Bill & Ted wore on its tattered, undersized sleeves, has passed. But the truth is, this movie could not have come at a better time. Bill & Ted Face the Music offers the kind of wholesome, wide-eyed comedy that we desperately need now more than ever. The thing is, the original Bill & Ted movies came during the ’80s and ’90s, when ironic detachment was at its height and the kind of goofy optimism that Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey peddled was scoffed at. Bill & Ted were a direct refutation of that cynicism, and they return again to our screens to help us through one of our most deeply cynical times yet. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves slip into their roles as Bill and Ted as if they were stepping into a second skin albeit skin that is a little saggier and doesn’t look as good under a crop top. But it’s unmistakable that these two are the Bill and Ted we knew and loved from Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey, for better or for worse. And it’s only for worse for Bill and Ted themselves, who are introduced as a washed-up pair of musicians, never having lived up to the potential that Rufus (the late George Carlin, appearing in stock footage in a sweet nod) had promised they would. In a zippy bit of exposition narrated by their daughters (Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine) that is structured like a VH1 “Where Are They Now?” special, we learn that after the “world-saving” concert at the end of Bogus Journey, humanity hadgone back to normal. The Wyld Stallyns broke up with their killer bassist Death, and over the years, Bill and Ted had resorted to playing open mics and the wedding of Ted’s younger brother (who, in a hilarious twist of fate, is now marrying Missy). Yes, midlife crises come for us all, even a perpetually cheerful duo like Bill and Ted. But the movie doesn’t linger much on any added pathos brought on by their failures to write a song that will unite humanity. Writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson (who have written all three Bill & Ted movies) set up a fascinating continuation of the ideas introduced in Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey where the two characters were aimless teens with their whole lives ahead of them, who could be fated to save the world, because why not? But rather than chew on the dramatic meat that comes with the idea of failing to have achieve anything substantial with their lives (a subject that may ring a little too true for the audiences who first watched the first two films as similarly aimless teenagers), Face the Music uses Bill and Ted’s midlife crises to launch the plot: they have 78 minutes to write the song that will save humanity, or reality as they know it will crumble. And being Bill and Ted, the duo decide that the best course of action is to time travel a few years in the future and steal the song from themselves. Almost immediately, the film throws us into a high-stakes adventure that doesn’t have time to ponder Bill and Ted’s failings. Rather than face the drama, Face the Music will crack the joke, then move on to the next one. But you can’t fault the Bill & Ted movies for not being particularly deep in fact, that’s arguably their biggest appeal. In that vein, Face the Music more than maintains the legacy of its predecessors, throwing us into a nonstop adventure as Bill and Ted skip through time, meeting future versions of themselves that become increasingly disappointing and increasingly dark (but results in some great gags, like Reeves with a bad goatee and bandana, and the pair of them in prison sporting buff physiques and misspelled “Be Excellent” tattoos). It’s part bonkers twist on It’s a Wonderful Life, part Excellent Adventure retread through the subplot with Bill and Ted’s daughters, who spot their dads (who they adore and would never admit to be disappointments) being taken to the future in a sleek time-travel pod by Rufus’ daughter Kelly (a beleaguered Kristen Schaal). Convinced that their dads are in danger, they persuade Kelly to teach them how to use the time machine so that they can collect history’s greatest musicians to help their dads compose The Song. There are some funny moments in Thea (Weaving) and Billie’s (Lundy-Paine) adventures, which include a jaunt to the 1920s to impress Louis Armstrong with a smartphone and a music battle between Jimi Hendrix and Mozart, but for the most part, their subplot plays like a more straightforward version of Excellent Adventure, with Weaving and Lundy-Paine basically playing more musically attuned versions of their dads. Okay, so the nostalgia-baiting toward Excellent Adventure is expected, but what about the gonzo weirdness of Bogus Journey? Don’t worry, it kicks in, mostly in the second half of the film, which is finally where the comedy starts crackling thanks to the introduction of a killer cyborg, played by a scene-stealing Anthony Carrigan. Sent from the future by the Great Leader (Holland Taylor) to kill Bill and Ted based on a new theory about the event that will save reality, the cyborg is a ruthless, intimidating machine that kills dozens of people.then feels bad about it. Like Death in Bogus Journey, the cyborg who we learn is named Dennis is a hysterical spoof of a genre hallmark, an antagonist rendered an insecure wreck who only wants to fit in with the cool kids. Every line out of Carrigan’s mouth is gut-bustingly hilarious, which he delivers with all the guilelessness of the nerdy kid at school who accidentally bumped into you and dropped all his books (which is kind of amazing considering the amount of prosthetics that the Barry breakout is under). I just want a whole movie out of Dennis following Bill and Ted around Hell, pleading for validation. But speaking of Death, William Sadler is obviously having a blast back under the black robes and white make-up, reunited with Bill and Ted after having split over creative differences (Death went solo with an “all-bass album,” and flopped). Seeing the trio reunited is like being enveloped by a cozy blanket, and for all Face the Music‘s faults (the Kid Cudi cameo does not work and Jayma Mays and Erinn Hayes‘ princesses are kind of disposable), it manages to capture that coziness for its entire runtime. While director Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest) has a decidedly more measured approach to Bill & Ted than Stephen Herek’s shaggy goofiness of Excellent Adventure and Pete Hewitt’s bizarro leaps of Bogus Journey, he manages to relay that silly, good-natured tone of the series, with a hefty helping of laughs. Face the Music is just so overwhelmingly nice. It’s a cheesy, dopey, pure comedy about people who care a lot maybe about trivial things, maybe about the wrong things but boy do they care. And they just want to share their joy for the things they care about (namely rock ‘n’ roll) to the world. So sit back, don’t think too much, and party on, dudes. /Film Rating: 8 out of 10 Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Tenet Reviews: Critics Aren't Overly Impressed by Nolan's Thriller - /FILM
In this round-up of Tenet reviews, we whisk you to different corners of the Internet to give you a sense of what critics think about Chris Nolan's new film.
Tenet is finally here! Well, not here, in the United States. But here, in the wider world a world which handled the coronavirus pandemic much more responsibly than we have and therefore deserves nice things as a reward. But is this new Christopher Nolan spy thriller good enough to be considered a reward? Or, after months of build up and an exhausting meta-narrative about this being the only film that can possibly save movie theaters from oblivion, does the whole thing collapse under the weight of unrealistic expectations? Here’s a roundup of Tenet reviews (including ours!) to give you a sense of what critics are saying. /Film critic Jason Gorber praised the movie’s gorgeous locations and “show-stopping spectacles,” and while he ultimately came away respecting and even liking many aspects of the film, it feels as if Nolan leans a bit too heavy on exposition: Beyond the spectacle, theres intense interest in crafting a film of deep complexity thats still comprehensible to general audiences. To assist with that, the film provides almost as many lines of exposition as it does flurries of bullets, with even the closing remarks of the film providing an overt explanation of the events that just transpired. It can be a bit frustrating if youve been paying close attention along the ride, but maybe its hard to fault the need. The end result, unfortunately, is a film that presents itself as more dense than it really is, off-putting for some but repetitive and predictable for those attuned the magic trick that Nolans attempting to pull off. The New York Times seemed to appreciate the movie the most among the reviews I’ve read so far, singling out the editing as particularly worthy of compliments: We are a scant few minutes into the films 2½-hour run time and it has already delivered: the sequence ends with interior and exterior shots of an explosion, which the editor Jennifer Lame transforms with as perfect an action cut as ever there was. In that microsecond, were reminded of something the last few months have conspired to make us forget: cinematic scale. Tenet operates on a physiological level, in the stomach-pit rumbles of Ludwig Goranssons score, and the dilated-pupil responses to Hoyte van Hoytemas cinematography, which delivers the same magnificence whether observing a narratively superfluous catamaran race, or the nap and weave of Jeffrey Kurlands immaculately creaseless costumes. Seriously, the most mind-boggling aspect of Tenet might be the ironing budget. But the BBC says “the entire plot is rather predictable, which I suppose makes room for all the thinky physics stuff,” and talks about Nolan’s exploration of time in the film: Nolan is challenging our preconceptions of time and suggesting there might be an alternative way of looking at it beyond a limited notion of linear progression. It’s confusing to begin with, but by about mid-way through the film starts to make narrative sense, to such an extent that plot twists at the end are rather predictable (or, maybe that’s some super clever meta-narrative device that validates the film’s conceptual argument). Still, the movie’s action is at least on par with what we’ve come to expect from this filmmaker. As Variety says: It plays best when it stops showing us its work and morphs into the fanciest James Bond romp you ever did see, complete with dizzy global location-hopping, car chases that slip and loop like spaghetti, and bespoke tailoring you actually want to reach into the screen and stroke. Unfortunately, for nearly every outlet’s praise of the film’s scope and scale, its characters are evidently underwhelming. IndieWire barely had anything positive to say about the lot of them: Its a particular disappointment to observe [John David] Washington coached into beardy impatience, as if he sensed the casual disrespect in being asked to play a character his writer-director didnt bother to name. (Its possible he grew the facial hair while Nolan was explaining the plot.) [Robert] Pattinson gives tremendous fringe, but his absurd cut-glass accent sounds a wise attempt to put distance between himself and Nolans ever-deteriorating dialogue (Its just an expression of faith in the mechanics of the world). As [Kenneth] Branaghs moll, Elizabeth Debicki is here to look good in deckwear and have guns held to her head; similarly capable supporting players (Martin Donovan, Dimple Kapadia, [Michael] Caine) offer gobbets of exposition before being packed off to payroll. Tenet suggests Nolan no longer has any interest in human beings beyond assets on a poster or dots on a diagram. The Guardian is particularly harsh, saying that Pattinson’s character “just seems like some bloke whos got drunk in Banana Republics scarf department,” and saying that they’re “not even sure that, in five years’ time, [the movie would] be worth staying up to catch on telly”: You exit the cinema a little less energised than you were going in. Theres something grating about a film which insists on detailing its pseudo-science while also conceding you probably wont have followed a thing. Were clobbered with plot then comforted with tea-towel homilies about how whats happened has happened. The world is more than ready for a fabulous blockbuster, especially one that happens to feature face masks and chat about going back in time to avoid catastrophe. Its a real shame Tenet isnt it. So…yeah. Not exactly what you want to hear from a movie that’s been built up as a savior of the cinemas. I look forward to seeing it myself (whenever a safe way to do that becomes available), but regardless of how anyone feels about it, this heightened, bizarre moment we find ourselves in will likely mean that we all could feel quite differently about this movie several years after the pandemic is over than we might upon first viewing. Tenet hits international theaters on August 26, 2020, and arrives in some U.S. theaters on September 3, 2020. Cool Posts From Around the Web: