Star Wars is arguably the biggest franchise in the business, having spanned decades of filmmaking and accrued entire generations of rabid fans. And since Disney acquired Lucasfilm years back, plenty of new and exciting projects have helped expand the galaxy far, far away. But despite the standalone films and upcoming live-action series, all eyes are on what J.J. Abrams will do with Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.
The pressure is on for J.J. Abrams to not only conclude the current sequel trilogy, but the entire Skywalker Saga as a whole. What’s more, he’s also grappled with the challenge of bringing Carrie Fisher’s Leia back to the screen through unused footage from the previous two movies. Abrams recently revealed that Fisher will be sharing more scenes with daughter Billie Lourd in the blockbuster. And while he originally wrote out Lourd from certain scenes to spare her emotions, she insisted. As Abrams revealed:
Well, I’ve got chills. Seeing Carrie Fisher share scenes with her daughter Billie Lourd in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi was already an emotional experience, but things will be even more heightened in the wake of Fisher’s death. Because it’s like she’ll be brought back to have final moments with Lourd’s Lt. Connix on screen.
When Carrie Fisher passed away in December of 2016, shortly after wrapping her role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. So while Rian Johnson’s sequel was able to use Leia as intended, it was unclear if/how the General would have a role in Episode IX. Luckily, there appears to be enough leftover footage from Fisher’s last two appearances, which will be used to complete Leia’s story once and for all.
Billie Lourd’s role as Lt. Connix has been mostly tertiary, with the 26 year-old actress getting just one quick line in The Force Awakens. Connnix’s role was eventually expanded in The Last Jedi, as she was instrumental to Finn’s escape to Canto Bight and Poe’s mutiny in the film’s second act. And from J.J. Abrams’ comments to Vanity Fair, it looks like she’ll get more screen time in The Rise of Skywalker, even physically touching her late mother’s character in the process.
Leia’s role in The Rise of Skywalker will likely remain one of the most talked about aspects of the movie ahead of its release. The character had an unpredictable outing in The Last Jedi, so it seems like anything is possible for the final installment in the Skywalker Saga.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will arrive in theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
Avengers: Endgame marked the end of several stories of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but among them was the story that started it all. Robert Downey Jr. played Tony Stark in Iron Man, the very first MCU film, and Endgame saw him sacrifice himself so that the universe might survive.
For the Russo Brothers, that end was something that was always going to happen. Joe Russo told our own Sean O’ Connell on the Reelblend podcast that Tony Stark was always going to be looking toward to the potential dangers of humanity and would never be able to rest until he had done whatever he could to protect people, so the way to let him rest was to let him do that. According to Russo…
Tony Stark certainly has one of the more interesting character arcs over the course of the MCU. In the first Iron Man he comes face to face with the damage that his products are actually capable of, and decides to do something about it. From that point forward, he becomes essentially obsessed with making up for the destruction he has caused.
Even Tony Stark’s apparent mistakes, like the creation of Ultron, are part of a desire to protect the world. In Captain America: Civil War Tony is even willing to take steps to help protect the world from himself when he questions how much good he is actually doing.
In the end, as Joe Russo says, the story had to come down to Tony putting himself between the world and the threat that wanted to destroy it. Tony sacrificing himself to do that not only makes sense, it’s the only thing that really does. If Tony survives then he’ll probably just start looking for the next threat, and the man would never find peace.
It’s an ending that many saw coming. Because we knew that Robert Downey Jr. was wrapping up his time in the MCU, it was clear that Iron Man would be written out of the universe in some way, and as sad as his death was, it’s difficult to be too upset about it, because it feels like a satisfying conclusion to his story,
The death of Tony Stark isn’t entirely the end of the story, however. The event itself is going to weigh heavily on Peter Parker, as we’ve seen in the newest trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home. It’s possible his death could have other repercussions as well as we get into the MCU’s Phase 4 starting next year.
When Disney bought Lucasfilm is was made plain that the plan was to bring the franchise back in a big way. A new trilogy was announced and following that, additional films were confirmed and several others began to be rumored. It looked like Disney was getting ready to launch another massive franchise to rival their own Marvel Cinematic Universe, but now, it appears things won’t be happening quite like that.
While Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will mark the fifth Star Wars movie in five years, after that, Star Wars will be taking a brief break. The next movie, from the creators of the Game of Thrones series, will be arriving in 2022, and we’ll only be getting one movie every other year, rather than getting one movie or more in a year like Marvel now does. Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy says that this is necessary, as Star Wars simply won’t work the way Marvel does as a franchise…
It’s hard to imagine that this response from Kennedy in Vanity Fair isn’t a direct response to the fact that the last Star Wars movie, a film designed around a set of characters picked out from the franchise, didn’t do well. While Solo: A Star Wars Story still made good money in an absolute sense, it still didn’t make nearly as much money as the other new films have done, and its behind the scenes issues made the film more expensive than it was supposed to be, resulting in the first Star Wars film to reportedly lose money.
It’s also true that because of the way that Star Wars has existed in the past, with two, and now three, movie trilogies, each separated by decades, there’s a feeling that Star Wars is something special, that it needs to be handled slowly and with care. One of the reasons that has been given for Solo’s poor performance is that it was released only six month after Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and fans didn’t like to see so much happening so fast.
Whether or not Star Wars is truly “fragile” and thus prevents the sort of approach that Marvel has been using or not, it does seem clear that Disney now believes that it is, otherwise you could be sure we would be getting exactly that. Kathleen Kennedy is honest about the “larger expectation” that Disney has, certainly the parent company wants to be able to do as much with Star Wars as possible because the brand is successful and that means profit for the company.
It’s possible that the solution has been found in a sort of middle ground. A pair of new Star Wars series are set to debut on the Disney+ streaming service over the next couple of years, and so it could be that instead of releasing multiple movies over the next several years, the plan could be to supplement the few films we get with series like The Mandalorian.
I’m not sure that I buy that Star Wars can’t work as a larger franchise. If Marvel can maintain a level of quality as it has, it certainly seems that Star Wars could as well, but if the feeling is that it needs to move slower to stay good, I’d certainly rather have fewer movies that are better.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters in December.
The sci-fi genre has been rather popular since it’s inception, but there are a few titles that stand out among the rest. Chief among those properties is James Cameron’s Terminator, which has never really been far from theaters. The fan favorite installment of that franchise is Terminator 2, and the upcoming sequel Terminator: Dark Fate is a direct sequel to that movie.
Moviegoers have been seriously excited about Terminator: Dark Fate, particularly because it marks the return of actress Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. Luckily for us, the first trailer for Dark Fate has just been released, and it didn’t disappoint. Check it out below.
There are many reasons why Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a phenomenal film, but certainly high on the list is the performance given by Allison Williams. Throughout the movie she does such an amazing job representing herself as an ally to Daniel Kaluuya’s Chris, so when the big twist goes down it basically feels like taking a shovel to the face. It’s become one of the most beloved surprises in modern horror, which makes it all the more exciting that Williams is returning to the genre with the upcoming The Perfection.
Interestingly, though, the connection between the two features doesn’t end with that. Without giving too much away, Allison Williams stars as a character in The Perfection that’s purposefully hard to get a full read on, and as a member of the audience you spend the majority of the runtime not quite sure if you can fully trust her. As you might imagine, this is a feeling that is only enhanced by those who associate the actress with her part in Get Out – and it’s a connection that Williams definitely recognized in the making of the new movie.
With The Perfection set to hit Netflix this Friday, I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Allison Williams, co-star Logan Browning, and writer/director Richard Shepard last week at the film’s Los Angeles press day, and during the interviews I took the opportunity to bring up the movie’s unique relationship with Get Out. Discussing the influence of audience perception of her character, Williams agreed with my analysis, and noted that it was something that occurred to her shortly after reading the script for the first time:
Richard [Shepard] sent it to me and said, ‘This is insane. You need to call me after you read it.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, well if you think it’s insane, and you’re insane, and I think it’s insane, and I’m insane, this must be really, really crazy.’ And it was! And I called him right afterwards and as we were talking about it, it occurred to me that if you have a sort of associative hangover of me from Get Out, it’s very helpful to go into The Perfection with that.
In the new movie, Allison Williams stars as Charlotte Willmore, a former cello prodigy who, at a young age, had to drop out of one of the most esteemed music schools on the planet when her mother got sick. Following her mother’s death, she tries to reconnect the world she was forced to disconnect from, and in the process gets to know Elizabeth Wells (Logan Browning) –the star student who joined the aforementioned school when Charlotte left. The two quickly hit it off during a special event in China, eventually making plans to go on a two-week vacation together in the country, but things start to go very badly very quickly on the adventure.
Without getting into spoiler territory, as the story progresses in The Perfection you’re never quite sure how to feel about Charlotte’s relationship with Elizabeth – and this is where memories of Allison Williams’ Rose Armitage from Get Out start to play a role. As Williams explained, she loved that her past role tweaks the way we look at her new performance, while at the same time fully appreciating that Charlotte is an absolutely wonderful character independently. Said the actress,
I thought, what is more fun than using that to make people very, very untrustworthy when they see me for the first time and very wary of sending us off on a bus together in rural China – as you should be in the movie! And so I thought that was a very interesting sort of meta level to it. But first and foremost I was just fascinated by Charlotte. I thought she was so interesting and I just had to play her so that I could understand what makes that girl tick and what, what is going on in there.
This was a sentiment shared by Richard Shepard, who noted that he wrote the role of Charlotte in The Perfection with Allison Williams specifically in mind – having previously worked with her directing episodes of the HBO comedy series Girls. And while Get Out may not have had any specific influence in the writing process, it is something that he acknowledges will have an effect on the way people watch his film. Said Shepard,
The fact that people don’t initially really trust Allison because of Get Out helps us enormously because Alison’s playing a character that you’re not quite sure is a good guy, or a bad guy. You can’t quite get a grasp on her. And that’s really important in a movie like this because people are projecting what they think. So Allison’s sort of baggage helps a lot.
Continuing, the filmmaker further added that part of what makes Allison Williams such a talented performer is the way in which she is able to modulate her emotional reactions to effective degrees. She doesn’t show her full hand until exactly the right moment, and when that happens it can be powerful and affecting. Explained the director,
I’ve always seen in Allison an ability to hold back her emotions until it’s really ready to show. And in this it was perfect because she was holding back just enough to keep the audience leaning in, and then when she needed to show it she really could.
You can watch Allison Williams and Richard Shepard discuss the special influence of Get Out on The Perfection by clicking play on the video below!
Also starring Steven Weber, Alaina Huffman, Mark Kandborg, and Graeme Duffy, The Perfection is a horrific delight that first premiered at Fantastic Fest last year, and will be available soon to set your brain on fire. As mentioned earlier, the movie will be available on Netflix this Friday, May 24th – and we’ll have more from my interviews with the cast and filmmakers coming your way soon here on CinemaBlend!
There are a lot of classic elements of the animated Aladdin still present in the new remake – from the colorful antics of the genie, to all the songs that have been stuck in your head for the last 27 years – but one aspect that is changed quite a bit is the presence of Iago. The parrot is still the right hand of the power-hungry Jafar, and regularly feeds him information that drives the plot forward, but as a character he is very different than what fans are familiar with. Rather than being an abrasive animal sidekick brought to life with the voice of Gilbert Gottfried, he’s instead, well… a parrot.
It’s an interesting choice that the film makes, particularly because there are still many other magical elements in play, but there is a good reason why it was done. According to director Guy Ritchie, a more anthropomorphic version of Iago in the new Aladdin simply didn’t fit as the story was brought from animation to live-action, and just didn’t feel right within the presentation.
I brought up the character when I recently sat down with Guy Ritchie at the Los Angeles press day for Aladdin, asking how those kinds of decisions were made, and he explained,
Good question, actually, and one I don’t mind talking about, this one, at all. It’s funny what you can get away with in an animated production that can’t, my feeling is, that you can’t get away with in quite the same way in live action. So although you still got magic carpets and blue genies coming out of bottles, [it] still has to be rooted in some form of reality. It’s hard if you have a parrot who has paragraphs of dialogue. Somehow it just sits uncomfortably in a live action production.
Going for a more appropriate adaptation of the character, Aladdin has the new Iago act much more like a scarlet macaw that you would find in real life, albeit with a slightly enhanced ability to speak (he has the occasional line, but nothing on the level of what we hear in the 1992 movie). Physically he’s entirely a digital creation, and the voice is done by Alan Tudyk – who has become a Disney regular in recent years, with parts in Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Ralph Breaks The Internet.
Unlike the human characters, which were easy to adapt from medium to medium, Aladdin’s animals presented a particular puzzle for the filmmakers, but it was a code they eventually cracked. It was all about finding what Guy Ritchie referred to as the “sweet spot” where things didn’t seem out of place or two extreme. Said the director,
There was a sweet spot that we found between animals in their animation or articulation before you went too far and then you went, ‘Oh, hold on. This is live action.’ But as I say, you’re talking about wishes and genies, yet somehow there’s a position that the mind occupies that accepts certain amount of fancy without becoming absurd.
You can watch Guy Ritchie discuss his approach to bringing Iago to life in the new Aladdin by clicking play on the video below!
In addition to Alan Tudyk, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin sports an impressive ensemble cast that includes Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, and Numan Acar. The movie will be hitting theaters this weekend, and be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from my interviews with the cast and filmmakers!
After successfully owning the world of animation, Disney has found a remarkable way to take a second bite at the apple, by remaking all their most popular animated movies in live-action. Following on the success of The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast, Disney now has their sights set on the 1990s hit Aladdin. While we expect the movie to be a more or less straight forward remake of the animated classic, not every Disney remake has been done that way, and there’s enough going on here to make us wonder.
Aladdin is one of Disney’s most popular films but part of the reason for that is the iconic performance by Robin Williams, something the remake will have to do without. Will the new film be able to put the pieces together to make yet another memorable movie? Here’s everything that we do, in fact, know about Disney’s upcoming live-action Aladdin.
What Have We Seen From Aladdin?
A few different teasers and trailers have been revealed which have given us a decent taste of the new film. The first gave us a brief look at Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, but little else. The second sneak peek, viewable above, gave us a bit more, a few glimpses at different shots that will look familiar if you know the animated Aladdin well. The biggest thing that we have seen, however, comes at the end of the second teaser, as we get to see Will Smith as the big blue Genie in all his CGI glory.
What Is The Live Action Aladdin Release Date?
Aladdin will arrive in theaters May 24, 2019. This makes it the big Memorial Day weekend release for the year. It will have some competition that weekend going up against the James Gunn produced superhero horror movie Brightburn. The date also makes Aladdin the second of three major Disney remakes coming out in 2019. It will be preceded by Tim Burton’s Dumbo in March and followed by The Lion King in July.
What Is The Live Action Aladdin Rating?
While PG-13 tends to be the goal rating for most of Disney’s subsidiary brands, like Star Wars and Marvel, the House of Mouse is still all about the family experience. All of the live-action remakes that Disney has made so far have been rated PG and now we know that Aladdin officially has the same rating.
Even if it is directed by the guy who made Snatch, Aladdin isn’t particularly violent or scary and while the transition from animated characters to real people certainly adds an element of reality to the proceedings, it clearly didn’t push the material past a PG rating. And, it sounds like a smart move to keep the movie there, and make sure that as many families as possible can head out to theaters to see Aladdin during the holiday weekend.
Oh, did we mention that part yet? In a move that is either the most brilliant, or utterly insane, decision made by Disney in recent memory, Guy Ritchie has been tapped to direct the live-action Aladdin. The thing is, if you filed the serial numbers off of the plot, there’s a lot that would make a good argument for Ritchie to direct this. The main character is a streetwise orphan who has to outwit the local police in order to survive, before stumbling on a plan to impersonate a prince in order to win his dream girl. The plot is made for Ritchie’s signature style. He loves “street rat” characters, and as long as they don’t make Aladdin swear a lot, this could work
While Guy Ritchie strikes us as an unusual choice, Ritchie himself has said that with his five kids, he knows as much, or more, about kids’ movies as he does any other type of movie. He seems to be fully on board working with Disney and he’s familiar with the product, so we can’t wait to see what the creative director will do with Aladdin.
The screenplay for the live action version is a team effort between Guy Ritchie and John August. This will be August’s second Disney script, following up his work on Tim Burton’s stop-motion feature version of Frankenweenie. In fact, August is a frequent Tim Burton collaborator, having worked on the scripts for Big Fish, Corpse Bride, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. John August has certainly written some creative stories, which is good for a Disney property, although this is his first screenplay since 2012.
What Is The Live Action Aladdin Story?
For the most part, we know what the plot of the live-action Aladdin will be, as it will, more or less, follow the plot of the animated original. “Street Rat” Aladdin gets chosen by Jafar to enter the Cave of Wonders to retrieve a magic lamp, but instead, Aladdin takes the lamp and uses it to become a prince in an attempt to woo Princess Jasmine. The Princess, on the other hand, is dealing with a parade of princely suitors, none of which she’s much interested in because she wants to marry for love, not political reasons. Shenanigans ensue.
Of course, how closely Disney’s remakes actually stay to the previous version has varied across films. While Beauty and the Beast was an incredibly faithful remake, Cinderella added a great deal of new material and character development to the hero. The Jungle Book contained some of the animated versions’ original music while Beauty and the Beast was a full musical. The success of Beauty and the Beast might lead Disney toward a more faithful remake, yet we just can’t see Guy Ritchie making an entirely traditional Disney movie. Several details that we do have indicate there will be at least some differences to set the live-action Aladdin apart from its predecessor.
One way in which the live-action Aladdin is expected to follow in the footsteps of Beauty and the Beast is by adding music. Early word from the Aladdin casting process was that they were having some difficulty casting the lead roles of Aladdin and Jasmine because it was difficult to find actors who met all of their requirements. One of those requirements was the ability to sing. This would certainly seem to confirm that the new Aladdin will include all the musical numbers that the original version did.
Beauty and the Beast also included new music, and we’ve found out that Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the songwriters behind The Greatest Showman and La La Land, have collaborated with Alan Menken on two new songs for the film. There’s also the possibility that music from the Broadway production could also make its way into the movie.
The movie may be called Aladdin, but when you think about Disney’s animated movie, you think first of the Genie, voiced to perfection by the great Robin Williams. There’s no replacing Williams in the role, so Guy Ritchie and Disney have apparently decided the best way to cast the role is to go for something totally different. Will Smith is on board to play the Genie in the live-action remake. This could be an utterly brilliant decision as Smith is an actor with endless amounts of personality, while at the same time, that personality is completely different from that of Williams.
We actually found out at CinemaCon 2018 that this version of the character is being described as “a little Fresh Prince, a little Hitch, and a whole lot of attitude,” which makes sense, considering who’s playing him. This movie might not be about the Genie, be he’s the character that’s going to hold the film together, so let’s hope that characterization works with everything else they have planned.
Our first look at the blue Genie was met by a lot of questions from fans, as most people were not over the moon for the design. Having said that, pictures of Will Smith that appeared shortly after, plus new teases of the movie, show the Genie looking exactly like a human, which would seem to imply he will spend a lot of time in disguise, something the animated Genie never did.
The title role in Aladdin will be played by Mena Massoud. While not strictly a newcomer to Hollywood, he’s not a household name by any means. Massoud has primarily been a TV actor up to this point, and he’s been seen in Amazon’s Jack Ryan series. Indications had been that filmmakers were looking for an unknown actor for the role and so it appears that Massoud might be exactly what they need, an actor who’s not recognizable from any other role, but who has a significant amount of experience.
As far as we can tell, Massoud has no significant singing experience, which could mean he has natural talent that he’s never explored, or it could mean he spent pre-production working with a voice coach.
Aladdin’s better half will be played by the slightly better known Naomi Scott. Scott most recently introduced herself to film audiences in the role of Kimberly, the Pink Ranger, in the Power Rangers movie. Scott’s name was long rumored to be in consideration and at the most recent D23 Expo in 2017, it was confirmed that she’d be in the one in the role. Scott got her start with singing before she was an actress so she has the musical ability the role will require. Scott will also be seen this year in Elizabeth Banks highly anticipated Charlie’s Angels film.
If there’s one thing Disney animated films almost always get right, it’s the villain, and Aladdin‘s Jafar is one of the all-time greats. Marwan Kenzari will take on the role of the Sultan’s Grand Vizir. Recently, Kenzari has had significant roles in movies like The Mummy and The Promise, but playing the big bad in a Disney movie will almost certainly be the actor’s big debut for mass audiences. We just hope he’s practicing his evil laugh. Also probably his singing, as we can’t tell if he’s ever really done that before.
Jasmine’s father, the Sultan of Agrabah, isn’t necessarily a starring role, but it is an important one. In the live-action adaptation, Navid Negahban will play the part. In the animated film the character was something of a clueless buffoon. Negahban doesn’t tend to play that sort of character, which makes me think the Sultan will be a bit smarter this time around.
The Animal Characters
While the vast majority of Aladdin characters are human or humanoid, some of them fall into the classic Disney category of talking animals. Disney proved with The Jungle Book that they were capable of creating CGI animals that interact realistically with people, but it appears the plan for Aladdin is just to use actual animals for the parts. In the original Aladdin Jasmine’s tiger Rajah and Aladdin’s pet monkey Abu were little more than animals that they appeared to be. They could communicate wit humans but could not speak. Jafar’s parrot Iago was a different sort of creature, capable of full speech humans could understand. As far as we can tell from the trailers, Iago will be in the film along with Abu and Rajah, but they’ll just be animals.
In addition to all of the old characters who will be back, we do know that the live-action Aladdin will introduce a trio of new characters. Former Saturday Night Live alum Nasim Pedrad has been cast in the new role of Mara. Mara is described as a handmade and friend of Princess Jasmine. The role is being called a comedic supporting role, which seems perfect given Pedrad’s previous work. It’s also a welcome addition considering that the original animated film really only had the one female role.
In addition, Numan Acar has been cast in the role of Hakim, the chief of the guards who is described as the right-hand man of Jafar. This could indicate that since Iago will not be Jafar’s partner in crime, Hakim could be taking on the position of Jafar’s go-to subordinate. Overall, the role sounds to be very much like the animated film’s character named Razoul, who was the head of Agrabah’s guard, but had no particular love for Jafar in that version.
Lastly, actor Billy Magnussen, who showed off his singing chops in Into the Woods as well as appearing in Game Night, Ingrid Goes West and American Crime Story, has signed on to play the role of Prince Anders. Right now, we don’t know anything about this character or how he’ll fit into the narrative, but it’s possible that he’ll end up being one of the many potential suitors for Princess Jasmine.
We’re only a couple of days away from Aladdin‘s debut in theaters, so be sure to keep an eye on this guide for the latest updates!
Every month brings its own share of treasure with the periodic updating of the Netflix streaming roster. But taking a look at what’s headed our way in June, it’s hard to think of a month that beats some of the stuff that’s headed our way. In particular, there’s 10 titles coming into view that have us looking to update our queues on a basis frequent enough to be considered addictive.
If you’re curious about the total incoming lineup for June, head on over to our complete rundown. Otherwise, it’s time to head into the future, and see the Netflix streaming titles we’re ready to watch at the push of a button.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Right out of the gate, June was going to be a winner the moment that Netflix announced Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was going to become a part of their line-up. A film that has a legitimate claim to the title of “Best Spider-Man Film Ever,” the adventures of Miles Morales and a slew of other Spider-People blew everyone’s minds upon its release towards the end of last year. Now, after all of the awards and all of the hoopla has died down, it’s time to start it up again with an even wider audience to reach this time around.
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
For years, Steven Spielberg refused to direct A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, a project that started with Stanley Kubrick’s vision of a robotic retelling of Pinocchio. With Kubrick conspiring with Spielberg to flesh out his vision for the story of Haley Joel Osment’s David, an automaton who could truly love, the idea would eventually become a reality once the legendary mind behind A Clockwork Orange passed away. The end result is a vision worth of Stanley Kubrick’s faith in Steven Spielberg being able to do the project, and remains one of his most underrated films in his canon.
Some movies call the shot years, or even decades, before the events they predict come to be in reality. Network is one of those films, as writer Paddy Chayefsky’s biting satire of sensationalism in the news media seems more like a tragedy than a dark edged comedy in our trying times. With the Broadway adaptation starring Bryan Cranston being nominated for several Tony awards, and set to close its blockbuster run in the beginning of June, it feels like the right time to bring the film version of Howard Beale’s antics, with Peter Finch in the role he made famous, back to the world of streaming services.
Good Night, And Good Luck
While we’re on the subject of journalism, director George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck will also be available on Netflix’s streaming library in June. Based on the true story of television news anchor Edward R. Murrow, and his team’s investigation into the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s, David Strathairn stars as Murrow in an all-star cast that includes Clooney, Jeff Daniels, Patricia Clarkson and Robert Downey Jr. A biopic that remains compelling all the way through, Good Night, and Good Luck is a firm reminded of how important the practice of journalism is, no matter what the era.
Joe Dante is one of those directors who has a stable of films so unique, they could only have been made by him. And in the fine tradition of Gremlins and The ‘Burbs, Small Soldiers is another one of those gems that stand out in his line of proudly weird films. With two factions of warring toys tearing apart a sleepy, suburban town, the film was one of Dreamworks’ earliest motion pictures in theaters, debuting shortly after its launch. But even with the late ‘90s era it incorporates into key moments of the film, Small Soldiers is still a ‘50s inspired sci-fi romp, much like most of the director’s other films.
The Dark Knight
It’s starting to feel like Netflix likes to add and subtract The Dark Knight from their lineup as often as people change their car’s air fresheners. And who can blame them? The second entry in the Christopher Nolan-directed Dark Knight Trilogy pits Christian Bale’s Batman against the late Heath Ledger’s Joker, with the soul of Gotham City at stake in their battle of wits. It’s been over a decade since it first debuted, and yet The Dark Knight still holds up to the test of time. Whether you watch it as a standalone experience or pair it with the also-returning Batman Begins, a perfectly good flashback is waiting for you in your own personal box office.
With Long Shot currently in theaters, moviegoers are enjoying director Jonathan Levine’s deft hand at portraying laughter and emotion in equal turn. And whether you’re already a fan of his work doing such feats, or have just become accustomed to them in your own time, 50/50 is another good reminder of how good he is at what he does. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Long Shot co-star Seth Rogen, the film is modeled the true story of Will Reiser, who, much like his fictional surrogate played by Gordon-Levitt, was struck with cancer in his mid-20s. At times hysterical and at times devastating, the film is an entertaining ride that will require tissues, but rewards you with deeply felt jokes at the same time.
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
Illumination has tried its hand at adapting the works of the late, great Dr. Seuss in the past, with The Lorax being a previous claim to fame for the animation powerhouse. With last year’s Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, the studio was able to not only outdo its high water mark in the world of Seussian magic, it also put a pretty fresh spin on an old classic. With Benedict Cumberbatch’s Grinch, we not only get to see more of what turned him into such a sourpuss, but we also see more of an effective transformation than we’ve ever seen before. As cute as it is funny, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch can still be enjoyed outside of the festive holiday time frame, as long as you keep an open mind.
If Tabitha King had never fished the manuscript for Carrie out of the trash, we’d never have gotten the best-selling novel from Stephen King’s hand. Nor would we have ever gotten the classic film adaptation that director Brian DePalma would eventually terrorize teenagers with in the ‘70s. Featuring young Sissy Spacek as the shy girl who would eventually become a psychokinetic terror, the slow burn of her transformation is something that horror fans still admire to this day. Also, if you’ve ever wanted to hear John Travolta shout, “Git ‘er done,” you’ve got that added bonus coming your way if you choose to watch Carrie.
Maybe it’s because FX’s Fosse/Verdon has been diving into the creation of director Bob Fosse’s most iconic works, alongside a dissection of his darkest demons in life. Maybe it’s even the sort of darkening clouds that our culture feels have been upon them for some time. Whatever the reason, having Netflix bring the film version of Cabaret to its streaming lineup sounds like a fantastic idea for this moment. A film that delivered Fosse his resurrection as a filmmaker, it’s a dark and glitzy musical that shows the rise of Nazism in early Germany, with an increasingly dismal tone. If you’re looking for a purely good time, steer clear of this story; but if you’re not afraid to go places most musicals won’t, Cabaret will greet you with a warm wilkommen.
While there’s plenty of fresh air and sunshine headed our way in the next month, consider these upcoming Netflix addtions as the best ways to spend those rainy days that keep you cooped up inside. Or they could even be fantastic distractions for a day when it’s perfectly fine outside, but you’re in that special mood of movie watching.
Keep in mind, these titles are subject to change, so you may need to double check the availability of these films periodically. Also, if you want to see what the best and brightest titles from May’s incoming lineup happened to be, head over to last month’s rundown and fill out your queue! We’ll see you here next month, when we look at the top tier titles from July’s fresh batch of films.
When we reunite with Captain America in Avengers: Infinity War, we get the impression that he and fellow fugitive Black Widow have been conducting clandestine missions on their own outside of the law. Cap and Nat enter the film right in the middle of the action though, so we never really get clear answers on what they’ve been up to other than that or their living situation in the two years since Captain America: Civil War.
The assumption is that they have either been living on the run or basing themselves out of Wakanda. However, according to screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, Infinity War almost had Captain America and Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter living together. The Marvel scribes said:
In an effort to address all the lingering plot threads in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the heroes’ various romantic entanglements, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely initially had Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers living with Sharon Carter in Avengers: Infinity War, as they told Yahoo Entertainment. This setup would have continued the relationship between the two characters that started in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
But despite the function it would have served, addressing a lingering plot thread and providing some background for what Cap was up to and where he has been in the two years since Civil War, this part of the script got the axe. Elsewhere in the interview, the screenwriters said that anything that didn’t really propel the plot forward of the fast-paced film had to go. As they’ve said in the past, there simply wasn’t time for “previously on the life of Steve Rogers.”
What exactly the reason that led Kevin Feige to hilariously wonder ‘what the hell’ they were doing by having Cap and Sharon live together is unclear. Although I expect, if having Cap and Sharon live together was part of a romance between the characters, I’m not sure many people would have loved the idea of having the two in a troubled relationship. Nobody wants to see Cap be a bad boyfriend.
If Sharon Carter was included though, and she and Steve were on the rocks, her potentially dying in the Snap would have affected him in a major way. Beyond just being one more person Cap lost that meant something to him, it would have had an extra sting because it would have made their domestic struggles seem insignificant.
The great niece of Peggy Carter was introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent living undercover as Steve’s neighbor and spying on him for Nick Fury. She eventually helped Cap fight Hydra and then joined the CIA. In Captain America: Civil War, Sharon Carter helped Steve, Bucky and Sam when they were on the run, getting them their equipment back, including Cap’s shield.
After this assist, Captain America and Sharon Carter share their first kiss. Therefore it wouldn’t have been out of left field to see these two in an actual relationship and living together. Of course, with the government presumably after them both at that point, it would make sense for their relationship to be a little strained.
We haven’t seen Sharon Carter since Captain America: Civil War and it would have been nice to get some closure on her relationship with Steve Rogers, but Avengers: Infinity War didn’t need it and turned out great without it. You can still include Steven and Sharon living together in your head-canon if you want, but given how he goes back to Peggy at the end of Avengers: Endgame, it’s probably best to forget their brief tryst.
Just because she and Steve never got to live a blissful domestic life together on the big screen doesn’t mean that we’ve seen the last of Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter in the MCU. The actress is in talks to reprise her role for the Falcon & Winter Soldier mini-series on Disney+ alongside Daniel Brühl’s Zemo.
Whether you’re buying Blu-ray discs or going to the theater, movies can be an expensive form of entertainment. It would be nice to be able to get something a little more out of it. Luckily, if you’re a Disney fan (and let’s be honest, who isn’t a fan of something from Disney these days), there is a way to get a little something more out of your movie experience through Disney Movie Rewards.
But what is Disney Movie Rewards and how does it work? It it worthwhile to get an account? Below you’ll find answers to all your Disney Movie Rewards Questions.
What is Disney Movie Rewards?
Disney Movie Rewards is essentially a loyalty program. It’s not that different from the programs you might use at your local supermarket or coffee shop. While those might get you a free latte now and then after you buy several of your own, Disney Movie Rewards does the same thing for movies. Purchase Disney films on Blu-ray or buy tickets to see them in the theater and you’ll earn points.
Then, you take those points and redeem them for Disney-related stuff. You can turn right around and buy more Blu-rays or movie tickets, or you can buy Disney stuff like t-shirts, Disney gift cards or even a tour of the Walt Disney Studios, though I’ll tell you, you have to buy a lot of Blu-Rays to earn that one.
How Do I Get My Disney Movie Rewards?
The first thing to do is set up an account on the Disney Movie Rewards website. It doesn’t cost anything, which means it doesn’t require even giving up a credit card number. All you need to do is create a username with an email address and then make a password.
Once you have the account, you can start accruing points. The main way to ear Disney Movie Rewards is by buying stuff. If you purchase a Disney Blu-Ray or DVD that has a Disney Movie Rewards logo on the outside, inside the case, you’ll find a piece of paper with a code on it. Simply input the number on the Disney Movie Rewards home page and you’ll get your points. Points vary on discs between around 50 and 200 points, depending on what version of a disc you buy.
Getting points for buying movie tickets is a bit more involved. In that case, you’ll need to make sure you keep your ticket stub and be sure it actually says the name of the Disney movie in question. Select the movie you saw on the Disney Movie Rewards site and you’ll be given a unique ID number. Write that number on your ticket, then take a picture of the ticket and upload the photo to the Disney Movie rewards website. Tickets are usually good for about 75 points.
Another thing to keep in mind is that points can only be earned on tickets for movies currently in theaters, so you don’t want to stock up on your tickets and try to redeem them all at once. Be sure to get your points as soon as you can so you don’t miss your window.
However, there is an easier way to get your ticket purchases added to your Disney Movie Rewards account. Disney Movie Rewards allows you to link your Rewards account to Atom Tickets, Fandango VIP and the Regal Crown Club. This means that if you buy tickets to a Disney movie through one of these online sites, your points will be automatically added to your Disney Movie Rewards account.
The other purchasable item that earns you points is Disney music. Many Disney movie soundtracks, as well as the popular collectible, vinyl “picture discs,” are good for 100 points or more.
How Do I Use My Disney Movie Rewards?
Once you have enough points to redeem them for something you want, simply go to the Disney Movie Rewards website, log in and select the item. If it’s an item that requires physical shipping, like a movie poster or DVD, you have the choice of paying for shipping and handling separately, or using additional points to cover the cost, so you really can get something for no additional cost to you.
Do Disney Movie Reward Points Expire?
Disney Movie Reward points only expire if your Disney Movie Rewards account sees no activity for 365 consecutive days. This means as long as you add points to your account or redeem points for something once a year, your points won’t go anywhere. With the frequency with which Disney releases new movies in theaters and on Blu-ray, odds are you’ll be spending money on at least one a year.
One nice way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to log in and take the Disney Challenge. This is a brief Disney trivia quiz that won’t take you more than a minute to complete. Doing so will earn you all of five points (unless you’re really good, in that case you can get bonuses), but those five points will keep your account active for another year.
Do I Need To Cancel Disney Movie Rewards?
There isn’t really much need to cancel your account. You can certainly do so, but Disney Movie Rewards doesn’t cost anything, so even if you decide to stop using it, you can just ignore it and let it go.
Can I Get Disney Movie Rewards Points For Digital Movies?
At this point, purchases of Disney movies through digital storefronts cannot be used to earn Disney Movie Rewards points, although based on the Disney Movie Reward FAQ, it sounds like the implementation of such a thing could happen, so keep checking back.
Is Disney Movie Rewards Worth It?
Disney Movie Rewards doesn’t cost you anything beyond the money you were probably going to be spending on Disney movies anyway, but does that mean it’s obviously something you should do?
Most of the rewards are some pretty simple stuff like movie posters and t-shirts, and if they end up having something you want, that’s great. However, little of seems like “must have” merch. Still, is there a better cost than free?
A Blu-ray disc goes for something like 700-800 points, and if you receive 150 points for buying one, you end up getting a movie free for every five you buy, which is a pretty decent ratio so if you’re building a serious Disney movie collection, it’s worth incorporating Disney Movie Rewards into that plan. This goes double if you join the Disney Movie Club, as most of those movies will earn you points alongside your obligation to the club.
Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for all the latest and greatest news concerning Disney. The company’s latest movie, the live action Aladdin remake, hits theaters this Friday, May 24.