bumblebee early screenings

Rumors of a Transformers reboot earlier this year confused fans. While a spin-off like this month’s Bumblebee makes sense within the world of the five live-action films, a total reboot would leave a lot of threads hanging. Transformers: The Last Knight was originally planned to launch an extended Transformers universe. Even if that scaled back, it suggested that the villainous Unicron is still looming, and a post-credits scene even suggested that Quintessa was still alive, in human form.

Speaking with /Film about Bumblebee, producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura gave us the lowdown on the future of the Transformers franchise.

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G.I. Joe Snake Eyes Spin-Off

Over the weekend, producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura spoke to /Film about the Transformers spin-off Bumblebee. Since DiBonaventura is also the producer of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe franchise, we asked him about the upcoming Snake Eyes spin-off film.

Announced in May, the Snake Eyes movie found its director in Robert Schwentke just last week. Still in question was whether Ray Park, who portrayed Snake Eyes in both live-action G.I. Joe films, would reprise the role.

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doctor who the battle of ranskoor av kolos review

There’s a line from Peter Capaldi’s run as the Doctor that I keep going back to during this inspiring, but uneven, 11th season of Doctor Who: “Well to be fair, they cut out all the jokes!” This episode, and to an extent this season, could have done with a couple of laughs.

While Jodie Whittaker has injected new life into the show, uttering every line with a twinkling bravado and generally being the best, her strong performance has barely been enough to make up for what has been just an okay season. I had hopes for new showrunner Chris Chibnall to right the ship after Steven Moffat steered it into the eye of the hurricane, but it seems that Chibnall has taken the series to the most placid waters. Except for the historical episodes, this season of Doctor Who has been, for the most part, kind of bland. The show had only started to feel properly like Doctor Who — after treading around familiar monsters and nods to the show — in the past four episodes, which took the season (and in last week’s case, the show) to an all-time high. It’s no surprise that those four episodes were each penned by a different writer who wasn’t Chibnall. But the showrunner took to the pen again for the season finale, “The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos,” and as a result, we end the season on an underwhelming note.

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springsteen on broadway review

Netflix’s Springsteen on Broadway brings Bruce Springsteen‘s wildly popular Broadway show to your home, providing one of the year’s best pieces of entertainment. For almost 3 hours, the Boss treads the boards, telling the story of his life in-between performances of some of his best songs. It’s nothing short of a sensation.

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bumblebee review

The opening scene of Bumblebee plays out like a child’s fantasy: Brightly colored Autobots clash with the sinister Decepticons in a battle that feels like the cinematic realization of a little kid smashing his toys together. And it’s awesome.

It’s something that’s been missing from the progressively darker and grittier iterations of the Transformers movies, whose brand of “Bayhem” have prevented the films from being anything close to fun. Michael Bay loaded every frame of his Transformers movies with so much visual chaos that the senses become overwhelmed and, ultimately, dulled. But Bumblebee director Travis Knight peels back the layers of epic, hectic spectacle to find the warm, beating heart that the Transformers franchise has always been missing.

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The Favourite Review

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos is not the most accessible filmmaker for your average audience. To begin, his characters don’t behave as if they are bound to the same cultural norms that we are. Conversations that would be utterly taboo in our society are discussed with abandon, like Steven (Colin Farrell) in The Killing of a Sacred Deer casually telling a colleague that his daughter has started her period. Lanthimos’ worlds run parallel to our own, but they offer a unique and sometimes disturbing vision of our darker desires.

In The Favourite, now in limited release, Lanthimos pits Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and servant Abigail (Emma Stone) against one another for Queen Anne’s (Olivia Colman) affections. While The Favourite is the first Lanthimos film he didn’t at least co-author himself (the screenplay is credited to Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara), it’s sure to have lots of quirks peculiar to this avant-garde director. To prepare for The Favourite or just find out more about this rising auteur, we have prepared a primer.

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mary queen of scots review

The era of the progressive period piece is surprisingly tedious.

Led by two powerhouse performers and backed by a radically diverse cast, Mary Queen of Scots seems to promise the evolution of the period piece — one anchored around two fascinating women ahead of their time and not limited by the crusty perceptions of stuffy historical dramas. But despite the sensational turns by Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie as dueling female rulers, Mary Queen of Scots doesn’t turn out to be a revolutionary historical drama as much as it ends up a failed coup.

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When Girl, a film about a transgender woman who aspires to be a ballerina, premiered this past May at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, it did so to a great deal of debate in the transgender community.  For starters, the film was from a cisgender filmmaker who chose to cast another cisgender male actor in the role of a transgender female.  Shortly after the film premiered, Netflix acquired the film, which is directed by Belgian filmmaker Lukas Dhont.  And then the film started receiving a wave of festival awards, starting with the Camera d’Or for best first film and the Queer Palm (awarded to one LGBTQ film). Actor Victor Polster, the cisgender man playing a transgender character, took home the Best Actor Prize for Un Certain Regard.

As the film began its festival run, critics wrote positive reviews.  Some would tackle the cisgender casting while others completely ignored it.  But most notably, these reviews were being written by cisgender film critics.  A cisgender film critic isn’t going to view the film like a transgender critic, one who can truly grapple with the choices being made here. In a perfect world, my being a transgender woman would not be the thing that defines me.  But this world isn’t perfect and because I’m transgender, people turn to film critics such as me to hear what I have to say about movies like this.

And I have a lot to say about Girl, which is a dangerous movie.

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Avengers Endgame Trailer Breakdown

This morning, the Avengers 4 trailer finally arrived, and it came with the reveal of the title: Avengers: Endgame. And honestly, that’s probably the biggest revelation to come from the teaser trailer that the internet has been demanding for months now. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t details to pore over instead of getting mad about the fact that Anthony & Joe Russo flat out lied to us about the title of the movie.

Anyway, let’s dig in with our Avengers Endgame trailer breakdown. Read More »

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mowgli trailer

When Disney’s live-action Jungle Book came out, it had already been announced that Andy Serkis was directing another adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic. The film, which is now called Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, was going to be a darker take on Kipling, using the performance capture technology Serkis pioneered with Gollum, King Kong and the Planet of the Apes films. After theatrical standees and trailers were in theaters, Netflix decided to buy Mowgli from Warner Brothers.

Rohan Chand plays Mowgli, the boy raised by animals in the jungle. The cast of animal characters includes Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, Serkis himself, and more. Legend of the Jungle puts more emphasis on Mowgli being torn between the worlds of animal and man, at one point even contemplating leaving the jungle behind.

Serkis spoke with /Film in Los Angeles last week after returning from Mumbai for the premiere of Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. Mowgli is now in select theaters and premieres on Netflix on Friday, December 7.

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