AUGUST 2016 Viewing Recap + Movie of the Month

Aug16Recap

Well, that’s it folks… Summer days are definitely numbered now that we’re entering the ‘brrr’ months. Ok so I’m being a tad dramatic. September is actually still quite warm here in the upper Midwest, and in fact Autumn is my all time favorite season, it’s just the season that followed that I’m not looking forward to.

2016 Summer blockbuster season has been seriously lackluster, with mostly duds than gems. I don’t think there’s a single film I absolutely love, except maybe Pete’s Dragon, but it remains to be seen if that would be a classic down the road. Well, I always look forward to smaller Fall films.

September screenings include Queen of Katwe, Sully, Blair Witch, Bridget Jones Baby and The Dressmaker. None of them are on my must-see list, but I’d think they’d be pretty entertaining. Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay for Bridget Jones Baby (and she’s in it as well), so that’s the main draw for me in seeing it. Still hoping there’d be a screening for The Magnificent Seven and American Honey!

So anyway, here are movies I saw this month:

New-to-me Movies

SuicideSquad

Suicide Squad

FlorenceFJ

Florence Foster Jenkins

PetesDragon

Pete’s Dragon

BenHur

Ben-Hur

Anthropoid

Anthropoid

IANASK

I Am Not A Serial Killer

Equity

Equity

HologramForKing

A Hologram For the King

LightBetweenOceans

The Light Between Oceans

CliniqueDrBlanche

La Clinique du Docteur Blanche (2014)


That last one is a French TV movie starring Stanley Weber that’s now available on Amazon Prime!


As you can see, I didn’t really see that many movies this past month. I’m so behind on my reviews, too, but I’m hoping to do my write-up of Florence Foster Jenkins, Ben-Hur, The Light Between Oceans and Equity sometime in the next couple of weeks.


I’ve also posted my top 10 list of the year so far…
are any of your favorites on the list?


 TV Series

WineShow

The Wine Show

MrRobot

Mr. Robot (Season 1)


 Rewatches


Starz’s The White QueenBBC North & South
The Age of Adaline | Not Another Happy Ending

I didn’t rewatch many movies this month. I did watch about an hour worth of the 1959 Ben-Hur, especially some of the key moments that are so indelible to this day. It’s incredible how in the age of pre-CGI, the epic chariot race still got my blood pumping, and the rowing/ship battle scenes are simply incredible. It made me miss Quintus Arius’ presence in the 2016 all the more.


MOVIE OF THE MONTH


EQUITY
 might not be the first Women-on-Wall-Street film, but it certainly is an important one that paints a realistic portrayal of real women on the male-dominated financial industry… strong, driven, ruthless, conflicted… This film isn’t afraid to show powerful women who are flawed. It’s a warts-and-all approach that I find refreshing. A far cry from the rosy, fantasy world of Mike Nichols’ Working Girl.

Produced, written, directed by women featuring a female-driven cast, this is a film I wish Hollywood would make more of! It’s not perfect, but the story’s well-crafted and Anna Gunn is excellent in the lead role.


Well that’s my viewing recap of August. What’s YOUR favorite film of the month?

Highlights from 2016 Wizard World CHICAGO Comic-Con: Netflix’s Daredevil panel + Carrie Fisher Q&A

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Hello hello! I’m back from my mini vacation to Chicago, visiting friends, sight-seeing and topped off with a fun day at Wizard World! As I mentioned in this post, I was only able to make it to Sunday, and they sure saved the best for last. I got to see the Netflix’s Daredevil cast [minus Jon Bernthal which had to cancel due to filming], followed by the eternally entertaining Carrie Fisher right after!

So here’s my recap from Sunday:

12:00-12:45 – Netflix’s Daredevil panel

I waited in line for about an hour and a half before I finally got into the Ballroom, but it was worth the wait! The host was from Honest Trailers, and I think he was pretty good, though some of the fun moments came from questions from the audience. Everyone was understandably mum about season 3, though Charlie Cox mentioned about The Defenders a few times, so I don’t know if Netflix is gonna run that first before season 3 of Daredevil.

DaredevilPanel4

Charlie also talked about the wonderful continuity of the Marvel TV universe, as in one episode, Rosario Dawson‘s Claire showed up on set with a cut above her eyebrow. It turns out she got that injury from a scenario in Jessica Jones involving Luke Cage!

Speaking of Rosario, can I just say I have a massive girl crush on her after seeing her here! I mean, I’m already a huge fan of Claire but Rosario has such an amazing personality to match her beauty, she’s truly a fun person to watch on and off screen.

The host talked about how fun it would be to do a Daredevil/Jessica Jones musical mashup (like what CW’s The Flash/Supergirl). Rosario quipped that perhaps Kilgrave could make everyone sing in the show! Oh how fun would that be!!

DaredevilPanel2

Charlie Cox looks exactly like I’d picture him to be. Gorgeous and adorkable (he turned to Rosario when someone asked them who their favorite cereal mascot is, I suppose they didn’t have that in England, ahah). He also told a story about one of his earlier films he’s not proud of, which I think is this one, where the director didn’t speak much English and he didn’t want anyone to help fix the erroneous dialog. Now he actually made me curious to see it!!

Elden Henson who played Foggy seems very shy (or disinterested I don’t know), but he really didn’t do much during the panel. I thought he’d be as witty as his character, but meh. Despite what happened at the end of season 2, looks like Elektra will be back as Elodie Young is one of the panelists. She seems so petite and delicate, but the host reminded everyone she’s got a black belt in Karate so yeah, she definitely can beat everyone up real easy.

DaredevilPanel1

I really enjoyed Deborah Ann Woll as well, she has a fun, spunky personality but she’s also affable and sweet. The two ladies really livened up the panel, I’m certainly a fan of both of ’em now.


One of my favorite parts is when Charlie talked about the challenges of portraying a blind man on the show. He was quite elaborate describing how Matt Murdoch wouldn’t have to even look at the direction where he’d be grabbing something because of his heightened senses, which is something he’d have to train hard to do.

The panel seemed to go by in a flash, I could totally watch them for another hour!

DaredevilPanel3


1:00–1:45 – Using the force with Carrie Fisher

CarrieFisher_WizardWorld4

I am so glad I went on Sunday as the Q&A session with Carrie Fisher is an absolute blast! Of course she brought her dog Gary. In fact the first ten minutes is pretty much about Gary and the beef jerky, as she (as well as the two hosts) were feeding him the entire time! In fact one time Carrie berated Gary at one point for walking back and forth to get food.

I love how real she was and that she really didn’t give a flying fig about anything or anyone. I also respect that she’s a big advocate for mental illness and she was totally gracious towards fans who ask her about dealing with Bipolar disorder.

CarrieFisher_WizardWorld1

The hosts didn’t just ask her about Star Wars, though of course that was the main entrée, but they also asked about her experience about working with John Belushi in The Blues Brothers and The ‘Burbs with Tom Hanks. When asked about which movie(s) she regretted she turned down, she said that she was never in a position to turn down roles. But she did reveal that she wished she had been in Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven.

Here are just a sampling of her funniest quotes during the panel:

“Harrison is witty. He’s not funny. There’s a big difference. Funny involves a bit of people pleasing and Harrison isn’t a people pleaser, but he people-pleased inadvertently.”

“Look, my son is Hitler!” – referring to Kylo Ren when asked about who she would ship in The Force Awakens

“In that universe it’s issues with their father. So if you have issues with your father and I must say I have, in both universes, so you don’t want to screw with me in either one.” – on why Leia is so fierce.
 …
She then asked the little girl how her father’s treating her. When she said he treats her well, Carrie said, “Well then you’re not gonna be as fierce. Ask your father to start neglecting you.”
 
“I’d make Trump go away. So I never have to hear about his small hand or small penis ever again.” – on what she’d do if she had the force
 …
“I knew Luke was my brother, so I tongued him.” – when asked if she had read that Mark Hamill’s Luke was Leia’s brother.
 ….
“John Belushi. What would I say that you’d laugh at. No, it’s Harrison, which would be funny too.” – on who’s the best kisser.
 ….
“Where the hell have you been? Did you go to a small island as you didn’t look it.” – on what she would say to Luke after he came back from his hideout.


I never laughed so much and so hard in a single hour! She had me in stitches so many times my stomach hurt after the panel was done.

Carrie Fisher is a legend, folks, I absolutely loved the Q&A. Plus, at the end she made this young girl’s day when Carrie invited her to the stage. She was the last person to ask a question and she said she’s Bipolar. She also had a service dog with her that she dressed as Leia!

LeiaDog

 

Favorite Cosplayers

One of the best parts about comic-con is the people cosplayer watching!

The Spidey photographer who I think is a press member (as he wore the same light blue wristband as I did) is both my hubby and my favorite! Not just because of the costume, but he was such a fun, obliging guy. As soon as my hubby asked him for a photo, he immediately dropped to the floor and stroke a pose!
WWChicago_Spidey

My second favorite is Kylo Ren as the guy resembles Adam Driver so much in terms of mannerism and tall, lanky figure. I wish he had a red lightsaber that could actually turn on!

WWChicago_MeKylo

Suicide Squad was a popular one, unsurprisingly, the fact that the film still tops the box office this weekend. There were multiple Jokers and Harley Quinns, and the entire gang were hanging out in the lobby the entire time. I saw one giant Batfleck walking by as I was in Starbucks, but I couldn’t find him again, bummer!

This one is for Margaret 😉
Ok he’s no Leto but I think he nailed the Suicide Squad‘s Joker look pretty well!

WWChicago_LetoJoker

Click on each image to see a larger version:

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LOVE this Wonder Woman cosplayer who’s absolutely gorgeous and always ready to pose for the camera! We ran into her a couple of times and she truly embodied the character in her pose, plus it’s a real kick-ass costume + prop. You go girl!

Wonder Woman ready to strike!
Wonder Woman ready to strike!


That was a blast! Wizard World Chicago was definitely bigger than the one in Minneapolis, and there was still a huge crowd on the last day. I really enjoyed the two panels I attended and had a blast roaming the lobby and exhibit hall!

Big shout out to Wizard World PR people Jerry Milani & co. for your hard work organizing this wonderful event!


So that’s my Wizard World Chicago recap, folks. How was YOUR weekend, seen anything good?

FlixChatter Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

SuicideSquadLogo

Not every year we get not one but two highly-anticipated DC superhero films where the hype is simply overwhelming. I personally have not been anticipating either movies, and I tried with all my might to avoid watching every damn clip/trailer/featurette, etc the studio releases practically every single week. Well, you already know how I feel about Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and now we’ve got the DC ensemble cast about supervillains instead of superheroes.

Now, it certainly helps if you have seen BVS, as this film starts out in the aftermath of that film. “What if the next Superman is a terrorist?” intelligence operative Amanda Waller (the always solid Viola Davis) asks a team of officers and general. She argues that mere mortals won’t stand a chance against such formidable foe, so she assembles a team of incarcerated supervillains and send them off on a deadly black ops mission in exchange for clemency.

SuicideSquad_ViolaDavis SuicideSquad_team

The first act of the movie pretty much consist of character introduction: hitman Deadshot (Will Smith), deranged former psychiatrist Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Aussie thief Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), pyrokinetic former gangster Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and monstrous cannibal Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). They’re to be placed under the command of Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), whose girlfriend June Moore (Cara Delevingne) is actually possessed by a witch known as “Enchantress.” If you think that’s already impossible to keep track, we’ve also got Flag’s bodyguard Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and of course, one of the most [over]-hyped character of the year, The Joker, played by recent Oscar winner Jared Leto. Now, as tedious as the intros may be, it does help someone like me who isn’t familiar with the comics to figure out just who the heck everybody is.

SuicideSquad_Deadshot_Harley

Though billed as an ensemble cast, the two leads of the film are actually Will Smith and Margot Robbie. The rest are pretty much relegated to supporting roles, with the Joker’s role ends up being nothing more than a glorified cameo. Even as I’m watching the movie, I could just feel the wrath of the Joker’s (or Leto’s) fans seeing how little his screentime is. Now Batman is barely shown here but that’s understandable as this is a movie about the villains. It seems a ton of Leto’s scenes has ended up in the cutting room floor.

Now I wonder if the filmmaker thought that the Joker is such an an overpowering figure that he easily steals the spotlight from everyone else. The longer he’s on screen, the film might no longer be about the Squad, but more about the iconic DC villain. Even the scarce number of scenes between him and his lover Harley (a case of doctor/patient relationship gone terribly wrong) is no doubt one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. I think from those deleted scenes they could probably create a Harley & Joker movie that would likely be a massive hit.

SuicideSquad_Harley_Joker

For a movie built on ‘it’s good to be bad’ principle, I expect a lot of fun with the characters. Well, there were some amusing scenes and some that made me laugh, but overall it’s not that joyful of a ride after all. First of all, none of these supervillains are really that bad in this movie. Heck even one of them didn’t want to perform his abilities because he’s developed um, a conscience. Then there’s the drab and dour look of the movie popularized by DC’s purported *savior* Zack Snyder. Director David Ayer pretty much adopts a similar style, with occasional garish, candy-colored color-scheme in some scenes. Oh and there’s sheer lack of originality in the music department too, pretty much copying Guardians of the Galaxy in its overuse of pop music. Heck they even used the exact same song Spirit in the Sky! At least in Guardians, the music is actually part of the plot involving the lead character, but here it’s just used haphazardly seemingly just to fill up dead space.

That said, I was actually surprised that I wasn’t bored watching the movie despite its 123-minute running time. I guess that would be the one pleasant surprise about this, oh and the fact that there weren’t as many cringe-inducing scenes as BVS. Unfortunately, the more I think about this movie, the less positive I feel about it.

As for the performances, I was quite surprised that I didn’t mind Smith here despite my growing apathy towards him (interestingly enough I also quite like him in Concussion). Courtney didn’t irritate me as he usually did in other roles, and Kinnaman is pretty good despite being a rather vanilla character. It should be no surprise to anyone that the scene-stealer here is Robbie. The Aussie actress is on the brink of overexposure these days as she seems to be everywhere. But she does have talent and personality that matches her beauty.

SuicideSquad_LetoJoker

Her Harley Quinn is fun to watch when she’s bad, but she also has a certain vulnerability that she lets out when there’s no one around. Now, Leto’s Joker didn’t really wow me. He’s nowhere as phenomenal as Heath Ledger in the role, but I think that’s unfair to expect him to be, simply because the two Joker characters are quite different. Ledger’s more of a sadistic psychopath who in Nolan’s version ‘just wants to see the world burns.’ Leto’s version is a deranged maniac, more of a warped prankster than merciless criminal mastermind. For one, I can’t imagine Ledger’s Joker to ever be in a relationship with any human being, romantic or otherwise.

The third act of the movie is the most problematic. It’s ironic that in a movie about bad guys, the actual villain is irritatingly absurd. Whilst the enchantress starts out rather intriguing, it seems to have gotten more ridiculous as the movie goes on. Nary of a compelling backstory, this diminutive witch spews out an army of blob-headed creatures that are so gross to look at. The finale looks as if Warner Bros and Sony are sharing the same SFX department to create the effects as it looks so similar to the one in Ghostbusters! Just like Man of Steel and BVS, once again the final battle is nothing more than a mind-numbingly loud and bombastic CGI fest.

SuicideSquad_enchantress

Plagued by multiple reshoots, perhaps the movie was doomed from the start. As the writer and director of the movie, it was risky for WB to hire David Ayer, known for modest-budgeted, gritty crime dramas who has never done a blockbuster film. Now, hiring filmmakers with indie-cred can pay off (as in the case of the Russo Brothers for Marvel), but I don’t think it pays off as well here. I wouldn’t call Suicide Squad a huge mess, and it truly IS better than BVS, but really that’s not saying much.

But I think the most disappointing part is that for a movie that strives so hard to be different, the result is pretty much more of the same as the previous DC movies. Though I’m glad I did see it so I can judge it for myself, it’s not something I’m keen on watching again anytime soon. This one makes me dread the other DC ensemble movie Justice League even more, once again promoted in the post-credit scene featuring Bruce Wayne. I have said in the past that I’m more of a DC than Marvel fan, but sadly DC still has SO much catching up to do to match its arch rival.

2halfReels


So what do YOU think of Suicide Squad?

Five for the Fifth: AUGUST 2016 Edition

Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. I’ve been excited about Christopher Nolan’s DUNKIRK for some time and the teaser couldn’t have arrived at a better time… that is as I’m prepping my FFTF post 🙂

DunkirkTeaser

I think most of you already knows what this is about. Now, I’m not always into war movies, mostly because it tends to be way too violent. But man, this looks so darn epic and with Nolan at the helm filming this on 70mm, I’m SO THERE!

Behold its epicness…

The cast is pretty amazing, some of which have been in Nolan’s previous movies… Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh… AND my new Welsh crush Aneurin Barnard!! One thing I wish Nolan hadn’t done is hire that kid from One Direction as I guarantee there’s gonna be a bunch of teenybopers swarming this just to get a glimpse of him. I mean I can’t even google this movie without seeing his face! In any case, we still have a year to wait for this as Dunkirk isn’t released until July 2017!

LovingVincent

Now, this one apparently has been released for some time but I had just seen it for the first time thanks to my daily lunch-hour reading of BBC news, I found it in the culture section. It’s the world’s first feature-length painted animation!

Per its official site, Loving Vincent features over one hundred and twenty of Vincent Van Gogh’s greatest paintings. The plot, drawn from the 800 letters written by the painter himself, lead us to the significant people and events in the time leading up to his unexpected death. Every frame in the Loving Vincent movie is an oil painting on canvas, using the very same technique in which Vincent himself painted. Check out the amazing trailer, I sure hope it’ll get a decent release worldwide.

Thoughts on either one of these projects? 

….
2. This week we also got a first look at romance war drama ALLIED. I didn’t even know is in the works but hey, anything with miss Cottilard gets my attention!
allied-first-look
The synopsis per IMDb:

Allied takes place in 1942. Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) are undercover allies who begin to fall for each other. Max is a British intelligence officer sent to Casablanca to plan an assassination attempt. He works with Marianne, a French Resistance fighter who goes undercover as his wife.

I kind of like the pairing of Cotillard and Pitt, and Pitt actually looks decent without all the weird facial hair he’s been supporting for a while. This film seems so under the radar despite the cast though, I mean I haven’t heard a peep and no trailer yet even though the release date is November of this year.

The rest of the cast include Matthew Goode (yay!), Lizzy Caplan, and Jared Harris. The director is Robert Zemeckis whose last two features, Flight and The Walk, I haven’t seen yet.

Are you excited for this one?

3. Speaking of trailers… ahhh what we’d do for our movie crushes [sigh] I followed this twitter account for trailer updates and it says there’s supposed to be a trailer for Ben Wheatley’s FREE FIRE attached to Star Trek Beyond. So naturally I was super excited and while initially I was fine waiting a week or two to see it, I immediately booked Friday night showing. As you know, my dahling Sam Riley is in Free Fire, though he’s probably only gonna be in the trailer for all but 5 seconds. But no matter, that’s enough to persuade me to actually see a movie on the big screen. Alas, the trailer was NOT shown at STB 😦 There were more than a half dozen trailers in front of it but none of it was Free Fire! Suffice to say I’m no longer following that trailer account. Heh, I wish I lived in London!!!

I’m curious, have you ever been compelled to see a movie on the big screen because a certain trailer is attached to it? 
….

4. Ok this question is inspired by this weekend’s release of Suicide Squad. I’ll be writing the review this weekend but for now I can say that I enjoyed it, definitely not as bad as what the critics made it out to be.

It’s no surprise DC fans are up in arms about the negative reviews. Heh, every day there’s always news about people getting angry about the most trivial things. This time the subject of DC fans’ wrath is the Rotten Tomatoes site:

Actually, last time I checked the petition‘s got 18,495 supporters. The guy who started the Change.org petition wrote: “We need this site to be shut down because critics always give The DC Extended Universe movies unjust, bad reviews. And that affects people’s opinion even if it’s a really great movie,”

SuicideSquadRT
RT score as of 10pm US Central Time

Now, I don’t really trust these critics aggregator sites anyway, because their algorithm is just baffling to me. Sometimes I’d click a rotten review that actually gives a movie 3/5, now I wouldn’t exactly categorize that as rotten. I’d think 3/5 is average and even 2.5/5 is below average, so not exactly in the horrible category. But to think that they’re biased against a certain film company is just absurd. Ok so I was left scratching my head that Age of Ultron got 75% fresh rating. I think that bloated movie is a big fat meh, not to mention the cringe-inducing Hulk/Black Widow *romance.* But I think it was still better than Batman V Superman, which got 27%, the exact RT score of Suicide Squad right now. If that’s the final score I think people are gonna think it’s a giant conspiracy, ahah.

What do you think about this supposed Marvel vs. DC *bias* and/or your thoughts about film critics site in general?

5. This month Five for the Fifth’s guest is Ian from Ian the Cool Blog! He actually left a comment on my review of The Secret Life of Pets and it’s a great question that I asked him if it’s ok that I included it here. Here it is in his own words:

You confirm a lot of what I’m hearing, that [the movie] is really unoriginal and we’ve seen it all before. I guess the question is, does that matter for a kids movie? Kids won’t know its being unoriginal, because they don’t have the same film background we do. They will care about having funny characters they care about. Then again, should family movies have the bar set lower? When there are movies like Inside Out raising that bar, is the family argument an excuse anymore?

Well, what do you think? Should kids movies have the bar set lower compared to movies for adults?


Well, that’s it for the AUGUST edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Take part by picking a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! 

Everybody’s Chattin + Casting News w/ Idris Elba, Jessica Chastain & Jake Gyllenhaal

EverybodysChattinJuly

Happy Thursday, everyone! The nice thing about going to a work conference on Monday & Tuesday is the week feels shorter than it is, so tomorrow is Friday already, yay!

I got to see Jason Bourne press screening last Tuesday. I enjoyed it quite a bit though I think it falls short of the excellent trilogy. I’ll review it next week but I’m still a bit giddy for THIS scene in Vegas, whoah!

BourneVegas

Ok how about those links!

I’ll be seeing Suicide Squad next Tuesday, and Harley Quinn is likely going to steal every scene. Check out Margaret‘s tribute for Margot Robbie‘s character.

Jordan reviewed a new Aussie Western Goldstone

Boy I had no idea this movie even existed! Allie talks about Star Wars Holiday Special as part of Christmas-In-July blogathon

Mark and Getter‘s reviewed Independence Day: Resurgence. Not surprisingly, neither was impressed with this movie though I was surprised to learn Getter actually think Liam Hemsworth was good in it

Having just seen Jason Bourne, I totally agree with Nick that the Bourne movies are equally defined by the obligatory government antagonist. Check out the five actors he’d like to see in the role.

Steven reviewed Richard Linklater’s latest Everybody Want Some!

Let’s top it off with two awesome list posts! Alex posted his top 10 films of 2016 so far, whilst Dan posted his picks of 10 favorite French rom-coms of the 21st century.


CastingNews

Life must be good to be Jessica Chastain. I love her, she’s gorgeous, talented and a bit underrated. Glad to see her continue getting roles and man does she have the best male co-stars or what! Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston, James McAvoy, Oscar Isaac… just to name a few, and now Idris!!! [yes clearly I’m green w/ envy] I’d LOVE to see her co-star with my crush du jour Sam Riley one day 😛

Idris_Jessica_Casting

Per The Playlist, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is going to have his directorial debut and he’ll also write the screenplay. His film is titled Molly’s Game and Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba have been cast as the leads!

Molly’s Game is the true story of Molly Bloom (Chastain), a beautiful, young, Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally is her criminal defense lawyer (Elba), who learns that there’s much more to Molly than the tabloids lead us to believe.

I really like the sound of this! Chastain and Elba such talented actors and it’s a role that would suit them both. No talks of romance between the two but that’s actually refreshing! Though the idea of a love scene between the two sounds pretty scorching 😉 I just hope they won’t ever hide that gorgeous face of his under a ton of makeup like they did in Thor or Star Trek Beyond.

Jessica_Jake_casting

Now this one doesn’t seem exciting on paper as I don’t really care for video game movies. But with this cast it just could be watchable. Per Variety, Jake Gyllenhaal is producing a video game adaptation based on Ubisoft’s The Division.

Set in a dystopian New York City in the aftermath of a smallpox pandemic, the player is an agent of the Strategic Homeland Division. That agent is tasked with helping to rebuild the Division’s operations in Manhattan, investigating the nature of the outbreak and combating criminal activity in its wake.

Not sure which roles Jessica Chastain will be playing. Of course it’d be neat if Jessica is the agent and Jake plays her ally, or villain? Speaking of video game movies, we have Assassin’s Creed starring Michael Fassbender out in December and Tom Hardy’s Splinter Cell out next year. It remains to be seen if any of those would actually be worth watching.


What are your thoughts about the projects and/or casting news?

Everybody’s Chattin + Question of the week: Favorite directing duos & their film(s)

EverybodysChattin

Hello, hello! How’s everybody doing today? I’m still basking in the all the feels I got yesterday from THIS lovely tweet from my gorgeous cinematic sweetheart…

I spent a couple of days working on my tribute post for him but it’s so freakin’ cool that the man himself acknowledged it… it made all that effort so worthwhile, plus it was fun doing all those research on Stanley 😉

Ok so about those links…

Keith posted his thoughts on the Comic-con Batman Vs Superman trailer, I gotta say I agree w/ a lot of his points. The key word here is cautiously-optimistic.

On a related note, Margaret posted the brand spankin’ new trailer of Suicide Squad. Though I like the casting of Viola Davis and Margot Robbie, as of right now I can’t say I’m anticipating this one.

On the TV front, Brittani posted her thoughts of True Detective, Orange is the New Black and more

Abbi reviewed three films for his Film Friday series, one of which is Magic Mike XXL that I have absolutely zero interest on. I’d rather watch fully-clothed Stanley Weber reading a book for two hours than these vapid, gross men gyrating their bodies, blechhh!

The Signal is a sci-fi movie I’ve been curious about. Dell‘s review confirmed that I should give it a shot.

I LOVE when bloggers talk about their favorite composers, and Cindy highlighted the underrated Rachel Portman who made such gorgeous music, including my recent favorite, Belle.

Steven posted part 3 of his 150 Favorite Films from 2000-2015


Time for question of the week!

So this week’s question is inspired by the recent news that directing duo Chris Miller and Phil Lord will be helming the Han Solo movie, one of the many Star Wars spin-offs to come. I love The Lego Movie and 22 Jump Street was fun, but it remains to be seen how Miller/Lord would fare directing an action sci-fi genre.

DirectingDuos

There are quite a few directing duos in Hollywood. Another duo (who happen to be siblings) Anthony & Joe Russo, have been doing well for Marvel/Disney with the success Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Of course, the most famous duo siblings are the Coens. Seems that Joel & Ethan Coen almost always work together, and hey, two brains are always better than one right?

Fans of foreign art house films would likely cite the Dardenne Brothers (Luc & Jean-Pierre) from Belgium as one of their faves. I’ve only seen The Kid With the Bike from the Dardennes, but I REALLY want to see Two Days, One Night with Marion Cotillard. On a different spectrum, we’ve got The Wachowskis (Lana & Andy) and The Farrellys (Bobby & Peter).


So tell me, who are your favorite directing duos… and which of their films do you like best?

The Longest Ride interview with cast member Scott Eastwood & Britt Robertson

FCInterviewBannerTheLongestRidePoster

Last Thursday I had the chance to be part of a roundtable interview with the two cast members of The Longest Ride, the upcoming Nicholas Sparks’ adaptation. Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson visited Minneapolis as part of their press tour around the country. Unfortunately I was unable to see the screening of the film, but here’s the synopsis:

THE LONGEST RIDE centers on the star-crossed love affair between Luke (Eastwood), a former champion bull rider looking to make a comeback, and Sophia (Robertson), a college student who is about to embark upon her dream job in New York City’s art world. As conflicting paths and ideals test their relationship, Sophia and Luke make an unexpected and fateful connection with Ira, whose memories of his own decades-long romance with his beloved wife deeply inspire the young couple. Spanning generations and two intertwining love stories, THE LONGEST RIDE explores the challenges and infinite rewards of enduring love.

Trailer:


Thanks ALLIED for co-ordinating the interview roundup in a downtown Minneapolis Hotel. I arrived 10 minutes early and there was still another interview going on in the room. As I was leaning against the wall in the hallway, Scott Eastwood walked by in front of me. I was immediately struck by how much he looked like his dad Clint, but most definitely he’s not 5’11’ as is listed on IMDb. You’ll figure it out from the photo I posted below. Just FYI I’m 5’3″ and I didn’t wear heels at the time.

In any case, both are warm and affable. Britt is especially cordial and sweet, I haven’t seen her in anything yet but I’m a fan now. Both seem to be in good spirits and answered our questions cheerfully. There are about a dozen interviewers in the roundtable. Now, lesson learned – whenever you participate in a roundtable interview, make sure to ask the question you REALLY want the answers to. My second question to Britt was going to be about Tomorrowland and Scott about Suicide Squad, two big-budget movies in a totally different genre than this one.

In any case, my question is marked with an asterisk (*) in front of it.

 Spoiler alert! Be warned that some of the conversation might touch some plot points.

Q: In the movie, there are a lot of scenes with bull riding. I read that you did all the stunts yourself, so I’m curious what encouraged you to do that and what are your thoughts on that experience?

Scott: Well I’ve been a big fan of rodeo actually, since I was a kid. Rodeo is different than PBR [Professional Bull Riders – ed] but I’m a big fan since I’m a kid. Sorry I can’t remember what age I was but I went to the Salinas rodeo and I remember seeing these guys and thinking that they’re bigger than life. So I became a fan of the PBR and one of my best friends has this Buck A Bull and he kept calling and calling and he said, ‘If you don’t buck a bull while you’re doing this, you’ll never hear the end of it from me” [laughs] So…

Britt: Is it just for him?

Scott: No, it wasn’t just for him. I mean y’know, these guys, going to play a bull rider and hanging out with these guys for four months, and having the respect that I had for them that I had, y’know it’s only right that I do it one time if I were going to portray someone who does that stuff.

TheLongestRide_BullridingQ: So how do you feel about it afterwards?

Scott: Well I thought I won’t do it again [laughter fills the whole room] No, I thought it was awesome, it was an adrenaline rush. The video will actually premier in Jimmy Fallon in about a week from now [April 8 – ed]

Q: So when you guys filmed this, what time of year, because it looked kind of hot some of the time? I’m sure it could get quite grueling, especially the material you wore when you’re riding. So do you have any stories as to how hot it was, as I know that North Carolina gets pretty…

Britt: Very, very warm. I mean, I’m used to it as I’m from North Carolina so I’m used to being in the humid, humid heat. But this was in the middle of Summer, y’know, I don’t even know if there are really stories. I can’t complain about it because then I’ll lose my cred…

Scott: The North Carolina cred?

Britt: Yes exactly. So how about you? Did you have any trouble with the weather?

Scott: I like it, I like the heat. I’m a warm weather guy so I liked it.

TheLongestRide_FirstDate

Q: As far as the novel? Has either of you read this book before you did this film? Have you read Nicholas Sparks before?

Britt: I did not read the book before I auditioned. But I read it after I got the part and I have read his previous novels so I’m obviously familiar with his work, and also the movies that are based on his books. I waited until I got the part before indulging.

Scott: I hadn’t read the book but I was a fan of The Notebook so that’s the extent of my knowledge of Nicholas Sparks beyond the fact that he had a lot of successful movies, but each I was a fan of The Notebook.

Q*: Just to tie that to the question… Was there an audition process for you both?

Britt: I had met with one of the producers Marty Bowen two or three months before the shooting n he had given me the script n he thought that I might be right for the part. So I went and audition for the part with director George Tillman Jr. After the audition they told me I had the part but I was still pretty skeptical at that point. Then they brought me in to read with Scott and a few other guys and I got the part.

Q*: Scott, So you auditioned with her then?

Britt: Britt: did you already got the part when you auditioned with me?

Scott: You know, all these auditions blurred together. I honestly don’t remember.

Britt: hmmm, I didn’t realize that I didn’t know that.

LongestRideNovelQ: So you both read the books. I was there [at the screening] last night and I think Scott you might’ve answered this last night. Y’know it’s hard when you read the book, the you read the script and there’s changes. Was there anything in the book that you thought, oh I wish that had been in the movie?

Scott: that’s a great question, we had not been asked that question before. Actually you know what, I ‘m really proud how this movie turned out, extremely proud. And that doesn’t happen all the time. You do movies and sometimes they turned out well, so-so, so you go ‘well we gave that a shot.’ And that happens with great scripts, sometimes they turned to so-so movies, you get that with mediocre script and they turned into great movies. I think I really enjoyed in the book, that when Luke first met Sophia, Nicholas Sparks described it as ‘ a comfortable silence’ that you have with people and I think that happens with people you fall for. There’s something really nice about how she comfortable she felt with his silence, there doesn’t need to be words. And I strongly pushed my opinion about that scene when they first met, but I think some of them end up in the cutting room floor and that’s what happened. We did film a lot more of that opening scene.

Britt: Yeah… funny enough, before seeing the film there were a few things that I was curious to explore. Y’know, there are this stuff about Sophia’s life prior to her family, just where she comes from. I mean, it’s hard to relate to someone without knowing anything about their history. Actually that’s a big point that some people brought up… But now, seeing the movie, I don’t imagine it done any other way. A lot of the ideas that I miss or thought that might be interesting just don’t even work for the movie, I really am happy with the way it came out.

Scott: Some things just don’t work. I mean, I thought that the boyfriend thing…

Britt: Ugh…

Scott: … Now, I think it just doesn’t work at all. I mean, it’s very cliché, in words, what’s in a medium in words can be very different in picture, so we didn’t need that.

TheLongestRide_BrittScott

Q: The movie is a lot about sacrifice in love. I’m curious what you guys think personally about sacrificing your dreams for a relationship. Especially when you’re super young, what you might advise your characters?

Britt: Well, my personal thought about sacrificing for relationship in relation to the film… is that, there’s really nothing that you’re sacrificing in life if you’re choosing to made a decision that you want. I said this a few times, but it’s something that resonates in my life. I think it’s important for young people when they’re watching the film, Sophia made the choice to give up her internship and not be a part of New York like so she can be with Luke. So that’s the decision she wants to make. And that’s her choice. I think people have to look at their life in terms of the big picture and long term, and what matters most. It’s really about priorities, really. You kind of just have to prioritize and see what means the most, and what gonna make you happy. And that’s the choices that you make, based on those priorities.

Scott: I don’t think I can answer that [laughs]

Q: What made you guys choose this project over some other ones you could have been working on at the same time?

Scott: You mean, sorry, previous Nicholas Sparks’ films?

Q: No, just in general. Why you chose this one What made you guys choose this one over some other ones you could have been filming and working on at the same time?

Britt: Well, they chose me and I chose them for… I mean, they chose me, I auditioned for it and I got the part. But more than that, to answer your actual question, is that I’ve always had this nostalgic connection with Nicholas Sparks because it was almost something I was raised on. I mean, my mom loves his books, loves his films, so I’ve always… it’s almost like a bonding experience in the house almost, watching his movies. I think for me, that was a really cool element, for being a part of his movies and being a part of this film. Other than that, I really like the character Sophia. She’s a really strong woman and it’s an interesting story. And I also really love the director, George Tillman Jr. So tons of stuff.

Scott: Yeah, yeah. It’s never really one specific reason, I think it’s a lot reasons. In this case, I was a big fan of the director, George Tillman Jr., and also a fan of The Notebook. I also thought this one in particular has a certain machismo, a certain guy element to it…

Britt: Machismo! [laughs] I like that!

Scott: Machismo… yeah, that I like. It’s something that I like which I haven’t seen in movies in a long time.

On set w/ director  George Tillman Jr.
On set w/ director George Tillman Jr.

Q: A lot of teenagers and high school kids are actually skeptical of Nicholas Sparks’ books and movies, because they’re seen as cheesy or cliché. So in your opinion, why would our age group want to go see this movie or what would draw them in?

Britt: The reason we’re proud of the film is just, because it’s good…

Scott: It’s not cliché

Britt: Yeah, I mean because it’s a good movie. It means more than just the typical y’know, kissing in the rain or like, sex on the beach. Or whatever it is that happens in books or movies that make them cliché. I think it’s a story about love, it’s a story about two people finding their way in life. There are some really interesting relationships and like he [Scott] said, there’s the action aspect of it, which is fun for guys. Or even for women, I mean I got really rowdy during those scenes, just fired up for them. I think it’s an interesting movie to watch and not think about it as a Nicholas Sparks genre.

Q: How did you start out as a teen that help you prepare for your career as an actor?

Britt: Hey, how did you start out? I don’t even know this.

Scott: You mean, how did I start acting?

Britt: Yeah, that was the question right? [gesturing to the person asking the question, to which she nodded]

Scott: I’ve been in plays in high school. I’ve also had been in a videography class throughout high schools where we’d do short films for various programming that we see in high school. There’s a programming for an advanced videography class where you do video shown on Monday morning and stuff. And to be honest, y’know, I grew up around movie sets, so it just sort of, I’ll give it a shot after high school.

Britt: Yeah, same with me. I started with plays, I was in theater in South Carolina and I ended up snagging an agent in L.A. and just started auditioning. Y’know, pretty simple story.

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Britt in a scene with Alan Alda

Q: So what’s your favorite scene to film in this movie?

Scott: I like a lot of the bull riding aspect. We were down in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for the bull riding for about a week. So we have a week doing PBR, with all the big trucks, the big lights, and all the bulls, and all the PBR guys. So that was a pretty exciting week. I had fun in that but the whole filming was pretty enjoyable.

Britt: Yeah, I like that the first date scene. That whole location, we shot that first date scene in this one location and also the very last scene of the movie where we took our clothes off and jumped in the lake. Those, I specifically love that location, I thought it was gorgeous, it was so much fun to be there. It was a hot Summer week and jumping in the pond, which was freezing. I don’t know how it could get that cold being so hot, so all that stuff was really fun.

Q: How was your experience working with the rest of the cast?

Britt: Well I didn’t really have a lot of cast to work with other than this guy. There was Melissa [Benoist] who played my sorority sister and Melissa is amazing. I’m actually a huge fan of her work, she was in Whiplash and that’s my favorite movie of this year. Obviously there’s Alan [Alda] was an absolute legend so working with him was a treat. That was an absolute delight.

Q: I know that you [pointing to Scott] said that you enjoyed rodeo when you’re younger, but did you guys have experience riding horses before filming this?

Scott: Yeah, I did. I still ride today. We have a couple of horses just north of L.A. so I go ride whenever I want to go riding. I love riding.

Britt: I didn’t know anything, I mean they gave me lessons but I’m pretty bad on the horses but I had to embrace it.

And that’s a wrap! 😀
The interview was only about 15-min long as there’s a photo-op right after. Towards the end of the interview, both Scott and Britt made a comment about the loud noise from music, construction and dog howling. Thankfully they’re such a good sport about the whole thing.


Thanks Britt & Scott for chatting with us!

Scott_Britt_LongestRideInterviewThe Longest Ride in out in theaters this Friday, April 10


Hope you enjoy the interview! Have you seen The Longest Ride? Well, what did you think?