After a mind-blowing season one finale, Westworld is finally back on April 22nd at 9 p.m. EST. Westworld, originally a feature film written by Jurassic Park’s Michael Crichton and starring Yul Bruyner, was decompressed into a sprawling epic TV series about a theme park world full of android hosts. Season one saw those android gain more and more self-awareness and freedom from their controllers, until we see that season two is going to be a completely new ballgame. Westworld’s teaser was the best trailer from the Super Bowl back in February, and now it has released a fantastic full trailer for its second season. The player pianos in Westworld all play player piano versions of rock songs; the full trailer is accompanied by Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box”. The finale left a lot of directions in which the show can go. I can’t wait to see what Jonathan Nolan has in store.
It’s not brain surgery, but it’s an elegant title. The second anthology film will be called Solo: A Star Wars Story. Director Ron Howard announced the title today as principal photography has wrapped. While I’m enormously excited and positive regarding The Last Jedi (which opens in only 59 days), I have a lot of trepidation regarding Solo. A lot of them stem from the weird firing of original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (click here to read more on that). To some degree, I-like a lot of Star Wars fans-can’t imagine anyone but Harrison Ford as the smuggler, and I don’t have enough confidence in Alden Ehrenreich to overcome that prejudice. I DO think Donald Glover will destroy a young Lando Clarissian. What makes me most nervous about the film is how Disney has refused to budge on the May 23, 2018, release date. That’s not a lot of time to smooth out the wrinkles on a film with a troubled production history PLUS do all the massive amount of post-production work that is required in any Star Wars film. But say all that goes GREAT and the film is fantastic…..I still think Disney is setting it up to fail. Continue reading Han Solo Movie Wraps; Official Title Announced
Let me approach this in as subtle and deft a manner I can: I hate Mission: Impossible II. Hate it. If we’d all been hanging around criticizing movies when it came out in 2000, I would have said that John Woo and Tom Cruise’s massive egos were so busy making out with each other that they didn’t notice how bad this film was ad done something to stop it. It’s not just a John Woo film. It’s a LAZY John Woo film. Birds will fly in front of protagonists, The action will go into inexplicable slo-mo (I suspect to pad the running time). It has Anthony Hopkins in virtually the same role John Voight played in the first film. They wasted Anthony Hopkins! I’ve had people kneecapped for less (not really, but you know you want to sometimes just have a guy who does that sort of thing for you). I’m astounded this did not kill the series. and doubly so, that the series from here has shot up in quality to produce two of the best action films of the decade. I will admit that there was one good thing that came out of this film: Ben Stiller’s deadpan serious Tom Cruise stalker/stunt double. It’s a skit that debuted at the next MTV Movie Awards.
We’ll get back on track with JJ Abrams righting the ship. You see, guys. He saved this franchise. He saved Star Trek. And Star Wars Ep. VII is going to be just fine, Deep breaths, and I’ll see you with Mission Impossible III next week.
To cleanse our mental palates of After Earth, in which M. Night Shaymalan managed to leech the personality out of two of the most charismatic people on Earth: Will & Jaden Smith, let’s look back at Jaden’s debut in The Pursuit of Happyness. I don’t think this film gets enough recognition on Smith’s resume (possibly because three of his last four films have been notorious bombs and this was just before that string began. It’s one of the best turns of his career and from the moment you see Jaden, you know this kid is going to be something special, which he went on to prove when he carried a movie in The Karate Kid.
There’s a scene in this that destroys me. At their very lowest, when father and son are living on the street, they spend the night in a public restroom in a subway station and Will Smith is bracing himself against the door against thugs trying to bust in, giving everything he has to try to carve out just this little space of safety for his son. It’s heartbreaking. This is one of the best dads in film history. My favorite scene though, it one of the streaks of levity that pepper the film making it inspirational and not a dolorous slog. Will Smith is painting a house, covered with paint, and gets arrested for delinquent parking tickets. He’s released just in time for the interview that will literally make or break his life and he sprints from the police station just in time to walk into a Wall Street conference room, filthy and covered in paint. It’s earnest and funny, but desperate. Will Smith needs to stop doing Men in Blacks and start acting again, because when he tries, he’s about the best there is.