Russell Crowe Wolverine

It’s a well-known piece of trivia that Dougray Scott was initially cast to play Wolverine in Bryan Singer’s X-Men, but the actor ended up having to back out of the production due to scheduling conflicts with Mission: Impossible 2. An unknown actor named Hugh Jackman famously stepped in to take the role and played the character for the next seventeen years, culminating with an epic send-off in this year’s Logan.

But did you know that fellow Aussie Russell Crowe was actually Singer’s first choice to play the part? In a recent interview, Crowe finally revealed the odd reason he turned down the part. Brace yourselves: I’m fairly confident you won’t guess his reasoning. Read why we didn’t see a Russell Crowe Wolverine below.
Read More »

Alien Covenant

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant.)

In 1979, Ridley Scott unleashed Alien on unsuspecting moviegoers, creating something that would end up becoming iconic in the process. Scott, a filmmaker with a background in graphic design, took what was essentially the type of B-movie that cluttered up drive-in theaters and turned it into something greater – a haunted-house picture set in space, dripping with atmosphere and dread, heightened by grotesque creature designs from nightmare-expert artist H.R. Giger.

Alien would turn into a franchise, although Scott stayed away for most of it. He returned for the sort-of prequel Prometheus, one of the most polarizing films of his career. Fans expecting another Alien were sorely disappointed, as Scott no longer seemed interested in the simple, dread-inducing terror of his 1979 film. Instead, the filmmaker wanted to use the Alien mythology as a framework on which to build a more complex, existential examination of the origins of humanity.

Scott could’ve walked away from the Alien franchise after Prometheus, but instead he seems committed to riding this out to see how far it will go. He has returned with Alien: Covenant, which loaded its trailers and promotional material with the familiar xenomorph alien that fans are familiar with. This film, Scott seemed to be saying, would be the Alien-type film Prometheus was not. It was a trick, though. The filmmaker had more complicated, complex ideas in mind. They don’t always work, but you have to at least appreciate his willingness to experiment with them at this stage in his career.

Spoilers follow.

Read More »

Alien Covenant

After questioning where human life came from in Prometheus, director Ridley Scott continues the narrative in the prequel sequel Alien: Covenant. But the trailers have indicated that this is an Alien movie that also goes back to the monstrous roots of the original 1979 movie that introduced audiences to xenomorphs. The truth is that it’s both. The question is whether that results in a cohesive, thoughtful, suspenseful sci-fi flick that’s worth your time.

After the jump, those of us on the /Film crew who saw the movie already offer their own thoughts. Read More »

War for the Planet of the Apes TV spots

If Matt ReevesWar for the Planet of the Apes is as good as its trailers make it out to be – and we have no reason to think it won’t live up to that high bar – that should put these movies in the conversation of the best cinematic trilogies ever made. The two films before this one, especially Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, are tremendous pieces of pop storytelling, and though the new one looks to take a darker turn, it’s exactly where this story has been heading from the start.

20th Century Fox has unveiled two new War for the Planet of the Apes TV spots as a nice chaser for the new trailer that dropped earlier this week. Check them out below.
Read More »

Alien Covenant

(Because of the mixed reactions to the film from critics across the internet, we are running two reviews of Alien: Covenant. Here’s a negative take on the movie. For a different take, you can read Karen Han’s positive review.)

Ridley Scott has made two great films: Alien and Blade Runner. In spite of the sequel to the latter coming this fall, Scott has chosen to cross-breed these two science-fiction classics in making Alien: Covenant. Based on that title, you might hope that this will right whatever wrongs were incurred by his 2012 film Prometheus, which professed to start the origin story of the feared xenomorphs while populating that story with some of the dumbest characters in recent memory. You would be wrong. Alien: Covenant is basically the answer to a question that shouldn’t have been asked: what if Roy Batty was the lead of an Alien movie?

Read More »

alien covenant

(Because of the mixed reactions to the film from critics across the internet, we are running two reviews of Alien: Covenant. Here’s a positive take on the movie. For a different perspective, you can read Josh Spiegel’s negative review.)

The planet upon which most of Alien: Covenant unfolds is not unlike the movie itself: it’s a vast and beautiful thing, though not without its share of dangers and unexplored territory. Covenant is an epic that sprawls across genres and ideas, some of which are better addressed than others, but in its final act, it shines just two beacons through the darkness. There’s its base DNA in the self-contained drama and horror of 1979’s Alien, and there’s the near-biblical story that director Ridley Scott now wants to tell about man and post-humanity, and the creation of life. The resulting mix is a thrill, in no small part because — for a franchise that seems so determinedly nihilistic — it’s surprisingly earnest.

Read More »

War for the Planet of the Apes Trailer

The Planet of the Apes prequel series is by far the best movie franchise currently playing cinemas, Star Wars excluded. A new trailer for War For the Planet of the Apes teases a conclusion with the tagline “Witness The End.” Does this mean the third installment will be the last? The War For the Planet of the Apes ending doesn’t necessarily mean an end for this franchise.

Read More »

best alien moments

In space, no one can hear you scream. Or make lists ranking the best moments from the Alien film series.

With Alien: Covenant hitting theaters this week, Jacob Hall and Jack Giroux revisited every movie featuring a xenomorph (yes, even the Alien vs. Predator movies) with one purpose: to watch for the scenes and beats and lines of dialogue that resonate the most. In this particular case, a “moment” is a malleable term. What stands out, really stands out, when we think back on these six movies?

We’ve included videos when available. And yes, there will be spoilers for the series from this point onward.

Read More »

The Greatest Showman photos

Hugh Jackman showed the world he was a true song and dance man when he hosted the Oscars back in 2009, and not long after that performance, 20th Century Fox gave the greenlight to the actor’s passion project: a biopic called The Greatest Showman about famous huckster and circus magnate P.T. Barnum. Commercial director Michael Gracey was hired to direct, but he had one suggestion for the project, which was originally pitched as a straightforward biopic: “I said, ‘If you’re going to call it The Greatest Showman, you should play to your strengths and we should make it a musical.’ That ridiculous remark cost me seven years of my life.”

It’s safe to say Jackman has been a little busy during that time, but the movie is finally set to come out later this year, and EW has given us our first look at it with a batch of new images. Check out the first The Greatest Showman photos below.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

in defense of prometheus 7

(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or sets their sights on a movie seemingly beloved by all. In this edition: a defense of Ridley Scott’s controversial Alien prequel Prometheus.)

Like most of you, I walked out of my first screening of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus in some combination of confused and angry. That was the Alien prequel we’d spent the past two-plus years anxiously anticipating? The film that absolutely wasted Charlize Theron and Idris Elba, featured some of the worst character beats I’ve ever seen in a science fiction narrative, and bled all over the memory of Scott’s original Alien film? No matter how I approached the film – how charitable I tried to be in my interpretation of its story – all I saw was a barren wasteland where a promising Alien franchise might’ve stood. My hatred of Prometheus ran deep and pure.

And then a funny thing happened. A few months ago, as 20th Century Fox began to roll out new footage from Alien: Covenant and people in my social network started talking about Prometheus as if it wasn’t the worst thing since death and taxes. A few friends even argued passionately on the film’s behalf, suggesting that Prometheus, despite its flaws, was one of the boldest science fiction films to hit theaters in a good long while. This put me in an awkward position. I had spent more than four years nursing my grudge towards Scott’s film, and while I remained convinced that the film would only get worse on a re-watch, I knew it would be disingenuous of me to argue against the film without at least giving a second shot.

So I popped Prometheus into my Blu-ray player again, and wouldn’t you know it? That movie grew up a helluva lot in our four years apart.

Read More »