TOP 5: Joaquin Phoenix in Final Talks to Lead DOCTOR STRANGE, WHIPLASH, Warner Bros. Superhero Pics Are No Joke, ROSEWATER, KIRK CAMERON’S SAVING CHRISTMAS

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One of the best documentaries I’ve seen this year is the Netflix original The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Directed by brothers Chapman Way and Maclain Way, the doc premiered at Sundance back in January where Matt gave it a glowing review and debuted on Netflix last month where you can still instant stream it today. The film follows the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team created by actor and lifelong baseball enthusiast Bing Russell in 1973. In addition to being the only professional team in America to operate without a Major League affiliate at the time, the Mavericks held open tryouts and built a roster that was made up almost entirely of players who had long been forgotten by the world of organized baseball. The result was a team that played with a supreme chip on their shoulder that not only lead to wins but also record setting attendance numbers that stand to this day. Whether you grew up wanting to be a big leaguer or simply appreciate a fantastic underdog story, The Battered Bastards of Baseball is an affecting doc that’s not to be missed.

Recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 features word that Joaquin Phoenix is in final negotiations to star in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, a new trailer for Whiplash that will detour you from ever wanting to study jazz performance, the rumor that Warner Bros. has a “no jokes” mandate for its upcoming Superhero movies, the first trailer for Jon Stewart‘s directorial debut Rosewater, and a disturbing trailer for Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Charlie Hunnam Will Play KING ARTHUR for Guy Ritchie; Elizabeth Olsen Female Frontrunner

by     Posted 4 days ago

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We’ve known for a while that Guy Ritchie has been trying to get his version of King Arthur going (though perhaps not as the six feature films originally intended).  Things got a bit more real last month when Idris Elba was cast as a “Merlin-esque figure who trains and mentors Arthur.”  Now it appears as though they may have cast Arthur himself in the form of Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim, Sons of Anarchy).  In addition, Elizabeth Olsen (Godzilla, Martha Marcy May Marlene) is said to be the frontrunner for the female lead.

The film was written by Joby Harold and will be produced by Akiva Goldsman and Tory Tunnel.  Warner Bros. will be releasing the film in 2D and 3D on July 22, 2016.  Hit the jump for more on Charlie Hunnam (and maybe Elizabeth Olsen) joining King Arthur.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS Writers Board ACME Movie; CRAZY STUPID LOVE Helmers in Talks to Direct

by     Posted 4 days ago

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Warner Bros.’ untitled Acme movie is taking shape.  Heat Vision reports that X-Men: First Class scribes Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz have been tapped to write the script for the project, while Crazy Stupid Love writers/directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are in early talks to direct.  The film is planned as a CG/live-action hybrid and while story details are under wraps, producer Dan Lin previously told us that the lead character is a Steve Jobs-type and the story revolves around the titular company that makes everything.  Steve Carell is attached to star in what is being envisioned as a big family adventure movie.

Ficarra and Requa just helmed the upcoming con artist pic Focus, starring Will Smith and Margo Robbie, but it’s unclear if Acme would be their next directorial effort.  Miller and Stentz, meanwhile, are currently busy writing the upcoming Power Rangers reboot.

Has Warner Bros. Laid Down a “No Jokes” Rule for Its Superhero Movies? [Updated]

by     Posted 4 days ago

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I like jokes.  I think many people like jokes.  Jokes are not a fad, and they’ve been a staple of storytelling for quite some time.  They’ve been a large part of blockbuster movies where people go to have a good time, and part of that good time includes the magic of laughter.  There are exceptions, and one of the biggest is The Dark Knight trilogy, which had jokes, but they didn’t do much to lighten the mood.  Marvel responded by making humor an integral part of their movies, and the studio’s been pretty successful so far.

But with Warner Bros. planning to build its own interconnected set of superhero films, the studio might be countering in an utterly bizarre manner: by mandating that the new DC supehero movies have “no jokes”.  Hit the jump for more. [Update: An unlikely source has spoken up to refute this "no joke" mandate: Seth Rogen. More after the jump.]

HARRY POTTER Director David Yates in Talks to Helm Spinoff FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

by     Posted 10 days ago

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As the director behind the final four Harry Potter films starting with Order of the Phoenix, filmmaker David Yates was likely the most well-versed filmmaker in Potter lore.  Chris Columbus kicked the franchise off with the first two films, Alfonso Cuaron brought a maturity and unique artistic quality to the series, and Mike Newell injected his inherent Britishness into the franchise, but it was Yates who handled the conclusion of The Boy Who Lived.  And so it’s fitting that it now looks like he will get to start a Harry Potter franchise of his own, as news comes that Yates is in talks to helm the first installment in the spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  More after the jump.

GODZILLA 2 Release Date Set for June 8, 2018

by     Posted 17 days ago

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Shortly after Gareth EdwardsGodzilla scored $93.2 million during its opening weekend run, Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. revealed that a sequel was in development.  Two months later they made Godzilla 2 official at San Diego Comic-Con and now we’ve got a release date to go along with it – June 8, 2018.

At the moment, Godzilla 2 has that June 8, 2018 slot all to itself, but summer 2018 is a long way away, so it’ll probably get some company as we get closer.  Hit the jump for more on the Godzilla 2 release date.  The first film is actually still playing in a handful of theaters and stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche and David Strathairn.

Warner Bros. Commissions Two Separate AQUAMAN Scripts

by     Posted 19 days ago

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Just last week, Warner Bros. threw the hammer down and announced release dates for nine untitled DC Comics adaptations all the way through 2020.  The slew of release dates was part of WB’s plan to go head-to-head with Marvel Studios in putting together its own comic book movie universe, and all signs point to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as the entry point for many of the characters that will subsequently land standalone movies.  Gal Gadot is already set to appear as Wonder Woman in BvS and one of the nine untitled films is no doubt a Wonder Woman movie, but today news comes about a standalone film for a different DC superhero: Aquaman.  Warner Bros. is aggressively putting together an Aquaman movie by hiring two writers to work on two separate screenplays for the film in the hopes of putting together the best possible version.  More after the jump.

The Problem with Superhero Sagas: Why Treating Movies Like Television Is a Bad Idea

by     Posted 22 days ago

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When Marvel Studios started producing its own films with Iron Man in 2008, many in the industry and the public at large were quite sure that they would fail.  Headlines famously accused the comic book company of delving into its “second-tier superheroes” in order to compete with the likes of Batman and Spider-Man at the box office, and few could have predicted just how successful the studio’s new venture would be—or that Iron Man was only the beginning.  The tag at the end of the Iron Man credits introducing Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury kicked off one of the more ambitious feats in recent film history, beginning a series of interconnected movies that featured different lead characters inhabiting the same cinematic universe.  This culminated in the 2012 team-up film The Avengers to the tune of $1.5 billion.  Marvel Studios is now no longer just a production company; it’s a brand.

As with any successful brand, imitators followed.  Other major studios are aiming to mimic Marvel’s success with their own interconnected universes, and just recently Warner Bros. announced release dates for nine untitled DC Comics adaptations that will surely all connect to one another.  However, this new approach to franchise filmmaking—ostensibly treating movies as episodes in a TV series—may actually be robbing us of more creatively satisfying superhero adaptations. 

Could the JUSTICE LEAGUE Release Date Come Soon After BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE?

by     Posted 23 days ago

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The choice to uproot Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice from its original May 6, 2016 date and put it back down in the March 25, 2016 slot could be a smart play.  Going up against Captain America 3 wouldn’t have been good for either movie, and in 2012, The Hunger Games proved that March could be a lucrative spot.  However, Warner Bros. also made another big release date announcement that’s a far riskier move – it announced dates for nine untitled DC films, essentially trying to set up a cinematic universe akin to what Marvel’s got going on right now.

So far, minus Batman v Superman, we don’t know much about what DC and Warner Bros. have coming up and how they’re planning to pull this off, but those details might emerge sooner than you think.  In fact, there’s even a chance we’ll get the Justice League release date sooner, too!  Hit the jump for more.

Did Two More LEGO MOVIE Sequels Just Get 2018 and 2019 Release Dates?

by     Posted 24 days ago

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We’ve known that we’re getting The Lego Movie 2 on May 26, 2017 and that Ninjago spinoff on September 23, 2016 for a while, but now reports are surfacing that Warner Bros. also locked two additional dates for more Lego Movie sequels, one on May 25, 2018 and another on May 24, 2019.  The studio hasn’t confirmed that these dates are Lego specific, but if the news is true, it seems likely that they could be gunning for a Lego Movie 3 and a Ninjago sequel, too.

The Lego Movie absolutely blew the box office away back in February, taking nearly $70 million opening weekend and then going on to accumulate $258 million over the course of its six-month domestic run.  It’s actually still playing in a handful of theaters now!  Hit the jump for more on how Warner Bros. plans to keep the franchise going.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE Release Date Moved Up to March 25, 2016; WB Dates 9 Untitled DC Films and 2 Event Movies

by     Posted 25 days ago

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The Marvel/DC release date showdown has come to an end, and it appears that Marvel has come away the victor.  Marvel Studios staked out the May 6, 2016 weekend a while ago for an “Untitled Marvel Movie,” but when Warner Bros. went looking for a new release date for its Man of Steel follow-up, it decided to plant its flag on May 6, 2016 as well with the thinking that Marvel would subsequently move.  Except Marvel didn’t move, it doubled down by announcing that Captain America 3 would be its May 2016 movie, which was certainly a big deal coming off the stellar opening weekend for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

And so now Warner Bros. has flinched, but instead of delving deeper into the summer, the studio will be trying to kickstart the blockbuster season incredibly early by setting the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice release date on March 25, 2016.  If that wasn’t enough, Warner Bros. has announced release dates for 9 untitled DC films and 2 “event films”.  More after the jump.

Warner Bros. Options Fantasy Series DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN

by     Posted 32 days ago

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Could a Dragonriders of Pern movie be coming soon to a theater near you?  While Warner Bros. has worked hard to find some suitable franchise replacement for Harry Potter since the highest grossing film franchise of all time came to a close three years ago, it has thus far come up empty.  The studio bought some time when Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit adaptation expanded to three films, but that’s coming to an end this December with the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies.  And so WB continues to search hard for another franchise that might spark as big as Harry Potter (I’m not sure there’ll be anything like Harry Potter again for a long, long time—if ever), and their latest play is author Anne McCaffrey’s long-running Dragonriders of Pern book series.  More after the jump.

Dwayne Johnson Teases Possible SHAZAM Movie; Announcement Coming at Comic-Con?

by     Posted 41 days ago

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Okay.  So we know that DC and Warner Bros. would really like to play some catchup with Marvel and Disney.  Man of Steel didn’t do especially well, so they’re moving full steam ahead into the Avengers-esque territory of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, which will be shot back-to-back by Zack Snyder.

But wouldn’t it be nice if they put some solo movies in there too?  There were some rumors last month about a potentially leaked Warner Bros. schedule for Comic-Con this week that included a Wonder Woman movie, a Sandman movie and a Shazam movie.  And it’s the latter film that Dwayne Johnson seems to be hinting at.  Hit the jump for more on a possible Shazam movie starring Dwayne Johnson.

Guy Ritchie’s KING ARTHUR Might Be Trained by Idris Elba

by     Posted 41 days ago

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About three months ago it appeared that Guy Ritchie had firmed up King Arthur as his next project with the possibility of the tale stretching into six feature films (which sounds absolutely insane and near impossible to me, but whatever).  There’s still no word on this six movie business (which at this point I’m taking as a sign that this will be a standalone film that will leave the option for sequels open).  But now we have our first bit of casting news.

Idris Elba is in talks to join the film, which was written by Joby Harold and will be produced by Akiva Goldsman and Tory Tunnel.  Warner Bros. will be releasing the film in 2D and 3D on July 22, 2016.  Hit the jump for more on Idris Elba possibly joining King Arthur.

Mark Romanek to Direct THE SHINING Prequel OVERLOOK HOTEL

by     Posted 44 days ago

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Mark Romanek is in talks to direct The Shining prequel Overlook Hotel for Warner Bros.  According to Variety, former The Walking Dead showrunner Glenn Mazzara recently turned in his draft for the original story.  The script is based on Stephen King‘s prologue to the novel, which was cut from the book prior to publication.  The story takes place at the turn of the 20th century, and focuses on the hotel’s first owner, robber baron Bob T. Watson.  Watson and his family scaled Colorado Rockies to build the grand resort, a place they could also call home.  Things presumably went downhill from there.

Hit the jump for more.

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