Showing posts with label Morgan Freeman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Morgan Freeman. Show all posts

Friday, March 18, 2022

Review: "COMING 2 AMERICA" is Simply a Nice Reunion Movie

Coming 2 America (2021) – streaming film
Running time:  110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes)
MPA – PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language and drug content
DIRECTOR:  Craig Brewer
WRITERS:  Kenya Barris and David Sheffield & Barry W. Blaustein; from a story by Justin Kanew and David Sheffield & Barry W. Blaustein (based on characters created by Eddie Murphy)
PRODUCERS:  Eddie Murphy and Kevin Misher
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Joe “Jody” Williams (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  David S. Clark, Billy Fox, and Debra Neil-Fisher
COMPOSER: Jermaine Stegall
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Wesley Snipes, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Teyana Taylor, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Nomzamo Mbatha, Bella Murphy, Paul Bates, Akiley Love, Rotimi, Louie Anderson, Trevor Noah, and Morgan Freeman

Coming 2 America is a 2021 American comedy film from director Craig Brewer.  It serves as a sequel to the 1998 film, Coming to America.  The film originally streamed on Amazon Prime.  In Coming 2 America, the crowned prince of a prosperous African nation discovers that he has an illegitimate son in America.

Coming 2 America opens in the African nation of Zamunda.  It is the 30th anniversary of the wedding of Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) to Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley).  They have three beautiful daughters:  the eldest, Meeka (KiKi Layne); the middle, Omma (Bella Murphy); and the youngest, Tinashe (Akiley Love).

Akeem is summoned before his dying father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), and the King's shaman, Baba (Arsenio Hall).  King Jaffe is upset that Akeem never sired a son, and by Zamundan law, only a male can inherit the throne.  However, Baba reveals that Akeem did indeed sire a son in Queens, New York City when he visited the United States over three decades ago (as seen in Coming to America).  In fact, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), Akeem's best friend and aide, knows the circumstances that led to Akeem conceiving a son with a bar patron.

Akeem and Semmi again travel to America where they meet Akeem's “bastard,” a young man named Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler); his mother, Mary Junson (Leslie Jones), the bar patron; and Kareem “Uncle Reem” Junson (Tracy Morgan), Mary's brother and Lavelle's uncle.  Akeem really needs Lavelle to return to Zamunda with him.  He requires a son who can marry the daughter of General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), the leader of Zamunda's neighbor, Nexdoria.  Izzi is a threat to Akeem and Zamunda, unless the two nations can be united by marriage.  Can Lavelle be the heir Akeem needs, and if so, what about Akeem's eldest daughter, Princess Meeka?

Coming to America remains one of my favorite Eddie Murphy films, topped only the fantastic 1983 film, Trading Places.  Coming 2 America is not so much a sequel as it is a film that acts like a sequel to Coming to America.  The new film is more like one of the TV reunion movies of old 1950s and 1960s television series that used to pop up on network television in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.  Like them, Coming 2 America gives us our favorite old characters (at least the ones that are still alive) and some new characters, and sprinkles in some cameos, for instance, Morgan Freeman and his famous voice.

As usual, Ruth E. Carter delivers solid gold with her costume design, and the film's production values are marvelous.  The film has a good song score and soundtrack.  There are a lot of funny scenes in Coming 2 America, but overall, the film's narrative drags.  Most of the film takes place not in America, but in Zamunda, although the scenes that take place in America (Queens, NY) pop and are generally fun.

There is not much else to say other than that I really like Coming 2 America as a reunion movie.  I have been a fan of Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall for decades, and I am always happy to see them.  So, to be honest, I am happy that Coming to America has a sequel, of sorts, in Coming 2 America.

6 of 10

Thursday, March 18, 2022

2022 Academy Awards, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling” (Michael Marino, Stacey Morris, and Carla Farmer)

2022 Black Reel Awards:  “Outstanding Costume Design” (Ruth E. Carter)

2022 Image Awards (NAACP):  2 nominations: “Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture” and “Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album” (Eddie Murphy, Craig Brewer, Kevin Misher, Randy Spendlove, Jeffrey Harleston, Brittney Ramsdell for the album “Coming 2 America” – Amazon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Sunday, August 26, 2018

"The Dark Knight" Returns to Theaters for Tenth Anniversary

Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” Celebrates Its Tenth Anniversary with an Exclusive Limited Engagement in 70mm IMAX® Film in Select Cities

IMAX theatres in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Toronto will showcase the film for one week only, beginning August 24th

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ten years ago, Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking blockbuster “The Dark Knight” was released. Commemorating the 10-year anniversary, Warner Bros. Pictures is bringing the film to four select IMAX® locations for an exclusive, one-week engagement, beginning Friday, August 24, 2018. The announcement was made by Jeff Goldstein, President, Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

With “The Dark Knight,” Nolan broke new ground—shooting select sequences of the movie with IMAX film cameras—making “The Dark Knight” the first major feature film to utilize IMAX 70mm film and take advantage of the format’s massive scale and increased resolution. The movie was hailed by both critics and audiences and went on to be the top-grossing release of 2008. In the years since, Nolan has continued to pioneer the use of IMAX film cameras, employing them on an even greater scale in “The Dark Knight Rises,” as well as “Interstellar” and, most recently, “Dunkirk.”

The exclusive limited engagement will offer the public an extremely rare opportunity to see “The Dark Knight” on the biggest screens possible, as it was intended to be seen—in IMAX 70mm film—offering a uniquely immersive cinematic experience.

Tickets for the opening day went on sale Friday, July 20th, with showtimes only announced for August 24th. The theatres will list additional showtimes for subsequent dates closer to release.

“The Dark Knight” will be playing for one screening a day at the following theatres:

AMC Universal Citywalk IMAX, Universal City
AMC Lincoln Square IMAX, New York City
AMC Metreon IMAX, San Francisco
Ontario Place Cinesphere IMAX, Toronto

“The Dark Knight” stars Christian Bale in the title role and Heath Ledger, who won an Oscar for his performance as The Joker. The ensemble cast also includes Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Morgan Freeman.

Nolan directed “The Dark Knight” from a screenplay written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan produced the film. Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull served as executive producers.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Syncopy Production, a Christopher Nolan film. “The Dark Knight” is based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by Bob Kane. The film is being re-released by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. It was rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and some menace.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from May 20th to 26th, 2018 - Update #21

Support Leroy on Patreon:

MOVIES - From TheNewYorker:  How Superheroes Made Movie Stars Expendable

MOVIES - From YahooGMA:  Film critic Peter Travers lists 17 summers movies to get to know.

SCANDAL - From YahooGMA:  The guy who says that "Star Trek" actor, George Takei, groped/molested him is still peddling his story.

BOND - From BleedingCool:  Universal Pictures has won the bidding war for the distribution rights to the 25th James Bond film, which will star Daniel Craig and be directed by Danny Boyle.

SCANDAL - From CNN:  Several women are accusing Oscar-winning actor, Morgan Freeman, of inappropriate behavior and harassment.

From TheWrap:  Harvey Weinstein to Surrender to New York Authorities Following Sexual Misconduct Probe

COMICS-FILM - From THR:  Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, and Don Johnson join HBO's "Watchmen" pilot which is being overseen by Damon Lindelof.

SCANDAL - From YahooEntertainment:  Moses Farrow, son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, says that Woody Allen never molested his sister, Dylan Farrow, as his mother Mia and Dylan have claimed for 25 years.

MOVIES - From THR:  Liam Neeson joins Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in the "Men in Black" spinoff.

CELEBRITY - From TheRinger:  The Baffling Return of Mike Myers.

COMICS-FILM - From YahooEntertainment:  What was the cost of Brad Pitt's split-second cameo in "Deadpool 2."

MOVIES - From BleedingCool:  Anjelica Huston is among the actors joining "John Wick: Chapter 3."

CELEBRITY - From YahooEntertainment: Legendary martial arts actor, Jet Li, is reportedly having serious health issues.

STREAMING - From ShadowandAct:  Ava DuVernay will executive produce a TV series about Amazon queens, entitled "The Last Amazon."

OBAMAS - From ShadowandAct:  Netflix has officially announced a huge production deal with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 5/18 to 5/20/2018 weekend box office is "Deadpool 2" with an estimated take of $125 million.

ECO - From Earther:  Lawns Are an Ecological Disaster

STREAMING - From Nerdist:  Amazon's "Lord of the Rings" TV series will follow a young Aragorn.  Adult Aragorn was played by Viggo Mortensen in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" film series.

CANNES - From Deadline:  "Shoplifters," a film by Japanese director, Hirokazu Kore-Eda, has won the Palme d'Or, the top prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.  Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman" won the "Grand Prize."


From TheNewYorker:  American author Philip Roth has died at the age of 85, Tuesday, May 22, 2018.  He won the "Pulitzer Prize for Fiction" in 1998 for his novel, "American Pastoral."  Several of his works were adapted into film, including the novel, "The Human Stain."

From THR:  Movie poster artist-designer, Bill Gold, has died at the age of 97, Sunday, May 20, 2018.  Considered to have revolutionized the movie poster, Gold produced posters for film such as "Casablanca," "The Exorcist," and "A Clockwork Orange."  Gold produced dozens of posters for Clint Eastwood films, including "Dirty Harry" (1971), "Unforgiven" (1992), and "J. Edgar" (2011).

From ESPN:  Noted college football player, Billy Cannon, has died at the age of 80, Sunday, May 20, 2018.  Cannon played collegiate football for Louisiana State University, where he won a national title in 1958 and the Heisman Trophy in 1959.

From BRAdvocate:  A image gallery look-back at Billy Cannon.

Friday, April 21, 2017

National Geographic Announces "The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman"

National Geographic Greenlights New Global Event Series The Story Of Us With Morgan Freeman

From Revelations Entertainment, the Producers of the Emmy-Nominated Hit Series The Story Of God With Morgan Freeman, New Series Expands Hit Franchise Beyond Religion To Explore Broader Topics Including Love, Power, Belief and Freedom

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Geographic announced the greenlight of a new series The Story Of Us With Morgan Freeman, from the creators of the critically acclaimed series The Story Of God with Morgan Freeman. In this expansion of the network’s hit franchise, Freeman will once again take viewers on a global journey to meet with people from all cultures whose lives are shaped in surprising ways by different fundamental forces, this time exploring themes that unite us all. The Story Of Us With Morgan Freeman will premiere in Fall 2017 on National Geographic in 171 countries and 45 languages.

    “I’ve been given the incredible opportunity to take viewers on a new global journey to understand how human culture has taken on so many remarkable forms”

At a time when global events seem to be driving cultures apart, The Story Of Us aims to uncover the fundamental forces that keep our societies together, and to reveal the common humanity that lies inside each one of us. Each of the six hourlong episodes will explore a single fundamental force or topic, including love, belief, power, war and peace, rebellion and freedom.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Revelations Entertainment once again on a refreshing new take on our successful series franchise,” said Tim Pastore, president of original programming and production, National Geographic. “It is no surprise that our global audience has warmly embraced Morgan as part of the National Geographic family. The beauty of this franchise is that Morgan represents all of us on his personal quest to understand these topics.”

“I’ve been given the incredible opportunity to take viewers on a new global journey to understand how human culture has taken on so many remarkable forms,” added Morgan Freeman, who co-founded Revelations Entertainment with Lori McCreary. Both are joined as executive producers by James Younger. “We’re exploring how primal forces, such as love, has shaped human culture around the world and where it will take us in the future.”

The Story Of Us is produced by Revelations Entertainment for National Geographic. For Revelations Entertainment, the executive producers are Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger. For National Geographic, the executive producer is Betsy Forhan; Kevin Tao Mohs is vice president, production and development; and Tim Pastore is president of original programming and production.

For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter using @NGC_PR.

About Revelations Entertainment:
Revelations Entertainment’s mission is to reveal truth. Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman and Emmy-nominated producer Lori McCreary lead a group of inspired professionals who are the go-to producers of thought-provoking entertainment that has universal appeal and soul. They currently produce the hit CBS Sunday night series “Madam Secretary,” starring Tea Leoni. Recent accolades include an Emmy nomination for The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, three Emmy award nominations for “Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman,” a Peabody Award for the ESPN “30 for 30” episode “The 16th Man” and an Academy Award nomination for Morgan Freeman in the film “Invictus.”

About National Geographic Partners LLC:
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 128 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Morgan Freeman and John Legend Added as Presenters at 2016 Oscars Ceremony


Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and John Legend have been added to the list of presenters along with J.J. Abrams, Sacha Baron Cohen and Henry Cavill for the 88th Oscars® telecast. Oscar producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin also announced a special performance by Dave Grohl for the 88th annual event, hosted by Chris Rock, airing live Oscar Sunday, February 28, 2016, on ABC. 

The most recent list of presenters marks the return of Sacha Baron Cohen, Morgan Freeman and John Legend. J.J. Abrams, Henry Cavill and Dave Grohl take to the Oscar stage for the first time.

“We’re thrilled to be joined by a movie icon, a filmmaking dynamo, a larger than life action hero, a master of satire  and two world renowned music power-hitters, “said Hill and Hudlin. “This year’s show reflects a commitment to showcase cinematic contributions from a variety of genres and this latest list of presenters reflects just that.”  

The 88th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 28, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 7:00 p.m. EST/4:00 p.m. PST.  The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for the Week of August 16th to 22nd, 2015 - Update #10

Support Leroy on Patreon.


From Variety:  A Carl Sagan biopic in the works.

From SlashFilm:  John Boyega lands director James Ponsoldt's "The Circle," based on the Dave Eggers book.

From Variety:  UPDATE:  Initial estimates had "Straight Outta Compton" at a weekend box office of $56.1.  Updated box office total is $60.2 million!

From YahooTV:  Stephen King is a "superfan" of John Ridley's "American Crime," television event series/miniseries that premiered on ABC this past spring.

From Deadline:  Facing five years, Emile Hirsch takes a plea that have him serve 15 days in jail.  He apparently attacked a woman during this year's Sundance film festival.

From BoxOfficeMojo:  The number one movie at the box office for the weekend of 8/14 to 8/16/15 is "Staight Outta Compton," the biopic about the legendary and seminal rap group, N.W.A.  The movie pulled in an estimated $56.1 million.  The movie's success helped Universal cross $2 billion at the domestic box, the fastest by four months over Warner Bros. which previously crossed that mark in 2009.

COMICS - Films and Books:

From HitFix:  Doctor Strange movie reveals at D23.


From YouTube:  New trailer for Ridley Scott's "The Martian," starring Matt Damon.

From YouTube:  New trailer for the upcoming film, Victor Frankenstein, starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe.


From Variety:  The actress, Yvonne Craig, died Monday, August 17, 2015 at the age of 78.  She was best known for her role as "Batgirl" on the 1960s "Batman" TV series.  As a child I loved her as Batgirl.  Rest in peace, Ms. Craig.

From TheWrap:  Civil rights legend, Julian Bond, died Saturday night, August 16, 2015.  Bond was also the board chairman of the NAACP and the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.  He was 75.  Negromancer sends condolences to his family.

From TheWrap:  E’Dena Hines, the step-granddaughter of Morgan Freeman, was stabbed to death in New York City on early Sunday morning, August 16, 2015.  She was 33.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Production Begins on Zach Braff's Remake of "Going in Style"

Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin to Headline Director Zach Braff’s Comedy “Going in Style”

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Production is now underway on location in New York City on the New Line Cinema comedy “Going in Style,” directed by Zach Braff (“Garden State”) and starring Oscar winners Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”), Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules,” “Hannah and Her Sisters”) and Alan Arkin (“Little Miss Sunshine”).

Freeman, Caine and Arkin team up as lifelong buddies Willie, Joe and Al, who decide to buck retirement and step off the straight-and-narrow for the first time in their lives when their pension fund becomes a corporate casualty. Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, the three risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.

The film also stars two-time Oscar nominee Ann-Margret (“Tommy,” “Carnal Knowledge”) as Annie, a grocery cashier who’s been checking Al out in more ways than one; Peter Serafinowicz (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) as Joe’s former son-in-law, Murphy, whose pot clinic connections may finally prove useful; John Ortiz (“Silver Linings Playbook”) as Jesus, a man of unspecified credentials who agrees to show them the ropes; Joey King (“Wish I Was Here”) as Joe’s whip-smart granddaughter, Brooklyn; Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future” trilogy) as the guys’ lodge buddy, Milton; and Oscar nominee Matt Dillon (“Crash”) as FBI Agent Hamer.

Braff will direct from a screenplay by Theodore Melfi (“St. Vincent”), based on the film by Martin Brest.

“Going in Style” is being produced by Donald De Line (“The Italian Job”). The executive producers are Tony Bill, who was a producer on the 1979 film “Going in Style,” Jonathan McCoy, and Andrew Haas.

The creative filmmaking team includes Emmy-nominated director of photography Rodney Charters (“24”), production designer Anne Ross (“Lost in Translation”) and costume designer Gary Jones (“New Year’s Eve”).

Scheduled for release on May 6, 2016, the film is a New Line Cinema presentation of a De Line Pictures Production. It will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson - May 2015 Edition - Update #30

From Politico:   Policing scandals threaten to overwhelm the Justice Department... Ha!

From TheVox:  For me, it's not so much the picture, but the future behavior of the two cops in the photo.

From teleSUR:  Beyonce and Jay Z post bail for "Black Lives Matter."

From GuardianUK:  A Klan jury... I mean grand jury actually indcits all six killer cops involved in the death of Freddie Gray.

From DemocracyNow:  Matt Taibbi on police engaging in an endless campaign of harassment.

From Esquire: What the Cleveland PD had planned to do to Tamir Rice... after they'd already killed him.

From YahooNews:  He stood on the hood of car and fired 49 shots through the windshield at two unarmed occupants and the judge acquitted him.

From YahooNews:  Why aren't the bikers who got into a gun battle with cops after rioting amongst themselves called "thugs?" Hmm...

From GuardianUK:  Obama combats the militarization of American police departments.

From YahooNews:  As far as I'm concerned, these guys have been coddled by law enforcement for too long, either that or law enforcement is afraid of them.

From RSN:  Miami cops sent racists and pornographic emails?  They're just showing their true colors.

From the New York Times via RSN:  Police unions experience the loss of their privileged position.

From GuardianUK:  Brian Rice, one of the Baltimore cops charged in the death of Freddie Gray, has twice had his police weapons confiscated because of behavior.

From TheDailyBeast:  George Zimmerman's blood feud.

From YahooNews:  Almost there...

From TheGuardian:  New Attorney General Loretta Lynch opens federal probe of Baltimore PD.

From the ACLU: The group likes the city of Newark's cop watch accountability board.

From BuzzFeed:  Racist emails by San Francisco cops causes a review of 3000 arrest.

From the SacramentoBee:  California state senators seek to keep grand juries from investigating cases in which people are killed by police excessive force.

From GuardianUK:  Reporters get beat-downs and locked-up covering Freddie Gray protests.

From TheDailyBeast:  Cops can't stop stopping Chris Rock.

From TIME:  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Walter Scott.

From Truthout:  Mumia on Walter Scott shooting.

From RollingStone:  Matt Taibbi on how cell phones are changing the narrative.

From TPM:  How to destroy a black life.

From teleSUR:  That number, in six years, may exceed the number of lynchings over a 100-year period.

From Alternet:  Racists pretending to be Baltimore protestors.

From TheBaltimoreSun:  Six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray - officers' arrest photos with specific charges.

From RSN:  The terrorism we suffer from police - Morgan Freeman.

From TheVillageVoice:  In light of Freddie Gray, New York's "antiquated" knife law.

From RSN:  Baltimore explained.

From RSN:  Cop beats his wife at Chicago PD black site, Homan Square.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for May 1st to 9th, 2015 - Update #16


From TheWrap:  First look at three characters from Quentin Tarantino's "Hateful Eight."

From RollingStone:  Lucasfilm talking about a new Indiana Jones movie.

From TheWrap:  The winner of the 5/1 to 5/3/2015 box office is Avengers: Age of Ultron with an estimated haul of $187.7 million.  The speculation is that the sequel did not surpass the 2012 film because of the Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing match.

From YahooTV:  Deadline says big sports weekend could slow down Age of Ultron numbers.

From Newsweek:  Morgan Freeman on "the terrorism we suffer from the police."


From YahooMovies:  A few more details about the un-produced versions of George Lucas' ideas for Star Wars 7, 8, and 9.

From TheWrap:  Article claims that second Star Wars anthology film will focus on Boba Fett.  The first is "Rogue One," which is due in Dec. 2016.

From YahooMovies:  The Hollywood Reporter gives details about Josh Trank's departure from Star Wars Anthology film.

From TheHollywoodReporter:  Josh Tranks will not direct the second Star Wars standalone film.

COMICS - Books and Movies:

From FlickeringMyth:  First promo art from "Captain America: Civil War."

From YahooMovies:  Photo of the cast of "Suicide Squad" in costume.

From CinemaBlend:  "Saturday Night Live" offers a fake "Black Widow" romantic-comedy trailer.

From ScreenRant:  Rumors say that it is down to Asa Butterfield and Tom Holland to be the new Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

From VarietyAvengers: Age of Ultron has massive opening Friday.

From Instagram:  A look at the young actresses who will play Jubilee and Jean Gray in X-Men Apocalypse, via Bryan Singer's Instagram account.


From YahooGames:  New Fantastic Four character posters.

From TheVillageVoice:  Amy Nicholson reviews Avengers: Age of Ultron.


From YouTube:  From 20th Century Fox, a Mother's Day-theme trailer for the upcoming Peanuts movie.


From TheWrap: The singer and songwriter, Ben E. King, is dead at the age 76.  King is known as the singer and co-writer of one of the most popular songs of all time, "Stand By Me," which was originally recorded in 1960 and first released in 1961.

From TheWrap:  The actress, Suzanne Crough, has died.  She played "Tracy Partridge" on the 1970s sitcom, "The Partridge Family.  Crough was 52.

From Vulture:  The author and screenwriter, Michael Blake, has died.  Black wrote the novel, Dances with Wolves, and the screenplay adaptation of Kevin Costner's film adaptation.  Blake won an Oscarn for his screenplay.  Blake was 69.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pope Francis Blesses Actor Rodrigo Santoro, Jesus in Upcoming "Ben-Hur" Remake

Pope Francis blessed actor Rodrigo Santoro, who plays Jesus Christ in the upcoming epic BEN-HUR, at the Papal Audience at St Peter’s Square in Vatican City on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015:

Actor Rodrigo Santoro takes a break from filming BEN-HUR, which is currently in production in Rome, to attend the Papal Audience and meet Pope Francis.

Actress Nazanin Boniadi and actor Rodrigo Santoro of BEN-HUR in front of the Vatican for the Papal Audience visit.

Check out Nazanin Boniadi’s Instagram for more photos of their visit to the Vatican:

Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures present BEN-HUR opening in theaters nationwide on February 26, 2016.

BEN-HUR is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army.  Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery.  After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.  Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.  Also starring Morgan Freeman and Rodrigo Santoro.

Starring:  Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman, Rodrigo Santoro, Nazanin Boniadi, Ayelet Zurer, and Sofia Black D’Elia
Directed by:  Timur Bekmambetov
Written by:  Keith Clarke and John Ridley
Produced by:  Sean Daniel, Mark Burnett, Joni Levin, and Duncan Henderson
Exec. Produced by:  Roma Downey, Keith Clarke, John Ridley, and Jason Brown


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Ben-Hur" Remake Begins Principal Photography


Directed By Timur Bekmambetov

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom, Inc., announced today that principal photography has begun on “BEN-HUR” starring Jack Huston (“American Hustle”) as Judah Ben-Hur, Morgan Freeman (“The Shawshank Redemption”) as Ilderim, Toby Kebbell (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) as Messala, and Nazanin Boniadi (“HOMELAND”) as Esther.

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov (“WANTED”) and written by Keith Clarke (“The Way Back”) and John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”), the film is based on Lew Wallace’s epic novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ. The producers are Sean Daniel (“THE MUMMY” franchise), Mark Burnett (“SON OF GOD”), Joni Levin (“THE WAY BACK”) and Duncan Henderson (“MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD”). Serving as executive producers are Roma Downey (“THE BIBLE”), Keith Clarke, John Ridley and Jason Brown. Filming will take place in Rome and Matera, Italy with the film set for release February 26, 2016.

“BEN-HUR” also stars Rodrigo Santoro (“300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE”) as Jesus Christ, Sofia Black D’Elia (“GOSSIP GIRL”) as Tirzah, Ayelet Zurer (“MAN OF STEEL”) as Naomi, Moises Arias (“ENDER’S GAME”) as Gestas and Pilou Asbæk (“LUCY”) as Pontius Pilate.

“You could not have imagined a more perfect location to shoot this epic than Italy. We can’t wait to get started,” said Bekmambetov.

The film returns to the heart of Lew Wallace’s epic novel focusing on the nature of faith. The story follows a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Both must come to choose between retribution or forgiveness.

Behind the scenes, the creative team includes Director of Photography, Oliver Wood (“THE BOURNE IDENTITY”), Production Designer, Naomi Shohan (“AMERICAN BEAUTY”), Costume Designer, Varvava Avdyushko (“WANTED”), Visual Effects Supervisor, Academy Award® Winner Jim Rygiel (“THE LORD OF THE RINGS” Franchise) and Special Effects Supervisor, Andy Williams (“FURY”).

MGM will handle production with Jonathan Glickman, President, Motion Picture Group and Matt Dines, Vice President, Production, overseeing the project on behalf of the studio. The film will be distributed worldwide theatrically and on home entertainment by Paramount Pictures, with select international territories as well as all television distribution to be handled by MGM.

About Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and distribution of film and television content globally. The company owns one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content.  In addition, MGM has investments in domestic and international television channels and is the majority owner of and distributor for United Artists Media Group (UAMG). For more information, visit

About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Television, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for the Week of September 14th to September 20th, 2014 - Update #16


From CinemaBlend:  Some "news" about Star Trek 3.

From SpinoffCBR:  Sony releases the first clip from the upcoming Popeye animated film, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky ("Dexter's Lab," "Samurai Jack").  The film may be released in 2016.  Tartakovsky previously directed the hit film, Hotel Transylvania (2012), for Sony Pictures Animation.

From YahooMoviesJack Huston, the grandson of legendary director, John Huston, has been cast in the lead role in the upcoming remake of the 1959 best picture Oscar winner, Ben-Hur.  He is also the the nephew of Oscar-winning actress Anjelica Huston and Danny Huston.  Morgan Freeman has also been cast in the film.

From YahooMoviesTNT locked down the rights to broadcast five Marvel movies, beginning with "Avengers: Age of Ultron."  The movies will debut two years after their theatrical release.

From HuffingtonPost:  Disney hopes to exploit Frozen better than it did The Little Mermaid.

From Gawker:  More on actress Daniele Watts run-in with the LAPD after kissing her white husband.

From Variety:  The new film, No Good Deed," debuts at #1 for the September 12th - 14th, 2014 weekend box office, with an estimagted $24.5 million haul.  The film stars Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba.  Meanwhile, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy becomes the first film released in 2014 to cross the $300 million mark in domestic box office.  It has crossed $600 million in worldwide box office, and still has not been released in China.

From TheHollywoodReporterDjango Unchained actress, Daniele Watts (who is black), was arrested by two Los Angeles police officers on Thursday, September 11, 2014.  She claims they thought she was a prostitute.  Watts also appears as Martin Lawrence's daughter on the FX comedy series, "Partners."

From CNN:  Bill Murray seems to have cause a stir with his suggestion of an all-female Ghostbusters reboot.

COMIC BOOKS - Books and Movies:

From Inquisitr:  Rumors about the plot and cast of "Thor 3."

From Mashable:  Aquaman apparently had a part in Man of Steel; details to be revealed in "Batman Vs. Superman."

From SpinoffCBR:  FOX sets "Deadpool" movie for February 12, 2016, and moves "Fantastic Four" reboot to from June 2016 to August 2016.

From YahooMovies:  Disney/Marvel releases the synopsis for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

From CinemaBlend:  Speculation about a fourth Iron Man film.

From TheVox:  The business of killing Wolverine in the comic books.


From YahooMovies:  Rian Johnson, writer-director of Episode 8, talks about Lucasfilm's one big demand.

From SpinoffCBR:  JJ Abrams reveals the Millennium Falcon in a video... with some humor.

From EW's InsideMovies:  A question and answer session with C-P3O, Anthony Daniels.

From YahooMovies:  An article about EW's Anthony Daniels interview.

From Inquisitr:  Possible set photos from Episode 7.

From InternationalBusinessTimes:  Supposed info about Luke Skywalker as he pertains to Episode 7.

From InternationalBusinessTimes:  Supposedly, current James Bond, Daniel Craig, has a cameo in Episode 7.

From CinemaBlend:  What Daisy Ridley could look like in Episode 7.


From BuzzFeed:  See the Columbian Women Team's cycling uniforms.  They look nasty from a distance; the shadow cast at the crotch looks like pubic hair.  Close-up, the uniforms look like no big deal.

From TheConcourse:  Rob Harvilla on U2's new album.

From BuzzFlash:  More fun with the Palin Klan...err... I mean clan.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"The Lego Movie" Builds Past $200 Million in Global Box Office

“The Lego® Movie” Assembles More Than $200 Million in Global Box Office

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Audiences are connecting with “The LEGO® Movie” in a big way, driving the first-ever full-length theatrical LEGO adventure past $200 million in worldwide box office, less than two weeks after its record-breaking release. The announcement was made today by Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

“The LEGO Movie,” from Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and LEGO System A/S, made its North American debut on Friday, February 7. It took in an opening weekend gross of $69.1 million, making it the largest February opening for any animated film and the largest opening for an animated Warner Bros. release. It has since gone on to earn a total of $146.3 million at the domestic box office, and still building.

The film has also launched its international engagements in a number of European, Asian, and Latin American markets, including the UK, Spain, Scandinavia, Hong Kong, Korea, Brazil and Mexico, earning $60.4 million to date, for a combined worldwide box office total of $206.7 million, and climbing.

Many major territories have yet to open, including Germany, Russia, France, Italy, Australia and Japan.

Stated Fellman, “‘The LEGO Movie’ is everything we hoped it would be, and then some: a big, fun, moviegoing experience for the whole family. Congratulations to the phenomenal voice cast and to directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee for their unwavering commitment to bringing this ambitious project to the screen. We are thrilled by the overwhelming response and early word-of-mouth that has made this movie a must-see, and we have every expectation that this is just the beginning of a long and successful run.”

Kwan Vandenberg added, “In addition to congratulating the talented filmmakers and cast, we also want to thank The LEGO Group and our partners at Village Roadshow for helping to make ‘The LEGO Movie’ such a tremendous success. The LEGO brand has captivated generations with a focus on discovery and imagination. By bringing those ideals to the big screen in such a fun and exciting way, ‘The LEGO Movie’ speaks to kids and adults the world over, and we believe enthusiasm will remain high as the film continues its international roll-out.”

“The LEGO Movie” tells an original 3D computer animated story about Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.

Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, “The LEGO Movie” stars Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie and Charlie Day, with Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman. Lord & Miller also wrote the screenplay, from a story by Dan Hageman & Kevin Hageman and Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, based on LEGO construction toys. “The LEGO Movie” is produced by Dan Lin and Roy Lee. Executive producers are Jill Wilfert, Matthew Ashton, Kathleen Fleming, Allison Abbate, Zareh Nalbandian, Jon Burton, Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Seanne Winslow, Matt Skiena and Bruce Berman; and co-producer is John Powers Middleton. The filmmaking team includes cinematographer Pablo Plaisted, production designer Grant Freckelton, editors David Burrows and Chris McKay, and composer Mark Mothersbaugh. Chris McKay also serves as animation co-director.

“The LEGO Movie” is a Warner Bros. Pictures Presentation, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, in association with LEGO System A/S, a Vertigo Entertainment/Lin Pictures Production. It will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

This film is rated PG for “mild action and rude humor.”

LEGO, the LEGO logo, the minifigure and the brick and knob configuration are trademarks of The LEGO Group. ©2014 The LEGO Group. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: "Unleashed" is Brutal (Happy B'day, Bob Hoskins)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 74 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Unleashed (2005) – USA title
Running time:  102 minutes (1 hour, 42 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong violent content, language, and some sexuality/nudity
DIRECTOR:  Louis Leterrier
WRITER:  Luc Besson
PRODUCERS:  Luc Besson, Steve Chasman, and Jet Li
EDITOR:  Nicolas Trembasiewicz
COMPOSERS:  Neil Davidge, Massive Attack


Starring:  Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins, and Kerry Condon

The subject of this movie review is Unleashed, a 2005 martial arts and crime film from writer Luc Besson and director Louis Leterrier.  The film was a French, British, and American co-production and was originally released under the title, Danny the Dog, but released in the United States as Unleashed.  The film centers on a man who has been enslaved by the mob since childhood and trained to act like a human attack dog, but who one day escapes his captors and attempts to start a new life.

On and beneath the mean streets of Glasgow, Bart (Bob Hoskins) destroys those who won’t pay their debts to him.  The fiery gangster has a nearly unbeatable weapon he uses to encourage debtors to pay him what they owe, one he also uses to put would-be rivals in their place.  This secret weapon is Bart’s enforcer, Danny (Jet Li), a martial arts fighter of near supernatural ability.  Danny has been kept a prisoner, for all practical purposes, by his “Uncle Bart” since he was a boy.  “Danny the Dog” wears a collar and lives the simple existence that Bart has crudely and cruelly fashioned for him; Danny can’t even remember his origins.  When Bart pulls his collar off, that’s the signal for Danny to attack, and he will either maim or kill – always as Bart dictates.

However, a chance encounter with a soft-spoken, blind piano tuner, Sam (Morgan Freeman), offers Danny a chance to find out what kindness and compassion are.  When a gangland coup inadvertently frees him, Danny finds his way back to Sam and begins to live with the kindly old soul and his daughter, Victoria (Kerry Condon).  They open their home and hearts to him, but the past comes knocking back into Danny’s life.  Now, he has to fight the mob to protect his new family and keep from returning to his old one.

Luc Besson is the French director of flashy action films such as The Fifth Element, but he has also produced a number of martial arts inflected films, including The Transporter franchise.  He went directly to the Hong Kong source for his Jet Li vehicle, Danny the Dog, known for its American release as Unleashed.  [I do not know if this film was re-edited and shortened by a few minutes, in addition to the name change, for its U.S. release.]  Unleashed is one of the few really good English-language martial arts dramas to hit the screen since Bruce Lee’s films in the early 1970’s.  What makes this film a solid and compelling production in which the drama is equal to the martial arts sequences is having two fine dramatic actors:  Morgan Freeman, who is arguably the best American actor working today, and Bob Hoskins, a superb character actor who is too often an afterthought.

Freeman does his wise old black man routine, but this time with a twist.  Sam is a man of culture with impeccable taste.  He is a man who savors life, and his other senses so deeply drink of life that it is as if he weren’t blind.  Kind yet vigilant, he is the ultimate father figure – protector and encourager.  Hoskins gives his Bart many flavors.  On one hand, he plays the gangster as a petty and petulant hood looking for his share; on the other hand, he is all too human in his cruelty.  There isn’t a whiff of the supernatural or paranormal about what Bart does; he is just a bad man.

Jet Li is the star, and even Jet fans like myself must face up to the fact that Li isn’t a great actor when he has to speak English.  He is, however, a great performer regardless of the language he speaks.  Those all-around, all-star abilities that a movie star must have – a blend of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual – he has.  Li lights up the screen every time he’s on, and he always draws attention to himself, no matter how many good actors may be on screen with him.  A human dynamo, Jet Li is truly a martial artist and a film artist.

Unleashed is quite good, but falters in the end – letting the drama whither on the vine so that Li and his adversaries can have their big, final confrontation, and what a confrontation it is.  The film plays at being an epic, but Besson’s script can’t be bothered with developing conflicts and motivations; we’re here to see Li fight and the script focuses on giving us that.  Watching that final battle makes me wonder when Li is going to get his “Crouching Tiger,” but in the meantime, we can enjoy Li’s best English language effort… yet.

7 of 10

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Updated:  Saturday, October 26, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Review: Cruise Dominates Visually Splendid "Oblivion"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 63 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Oblivion (2013)
Running time:  124 minutes (2 hours, 4 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language, and some sensuality/nudity
DIRECTOR:  Joseph Kosinski
WRITERS:  Karl Gajdusek and Michael deBruyn (based on the original graphic novel story by Joseph Kosinski)
PRODUCERS:  Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Duncan Henderson, Joseph Kosinski, and Barry Levine
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Claudio Miranda (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Richard Francis-Bruce
COMPOSERS:  Anthony Gonzalez (score), M83, and Joseph Trapanese

SCI-FI/DRAMA/ACTION with elements of a mystery

Starring:  Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Melissa Leo

Oblivion is a 2013 post-apocalyptic science fiction drama from director Joseph Kosinski.  The screenplay is based on an unpublished graphic novel that Kosinski created for Radical Comics.  Oscar-winning screenwriter, Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), wrote the final draft of the screenplay under the penname, Michael deBruyn.  Oblivion the film stars Tom Cruise as technician who begins to question his mission on a war-torn future Earth, now a dying planet.

Oblivion opens in the year 2077.  Earth was nearly destroyed 60 years earlier by an alien race called the “Scavengers” (Scavs).  Most of humanity has moved to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.  Jack Harper, Tech 49 (Tom Cruise) and his lover and partner, Victoria “Vika” Olsen (Andrea Riseborough), are among the last humans on the planet.  Jack is a drone repairman, maintaining the planet’s defensive drones that guard massive ocean-borne power stations.

After a crippled starship enters his territory, Jack discovers that its sole occupant, a mysterious woman named Julia (Olga Kurylenko), seems familiar.  This leads Harper to make some shocking discoveries about himself and about the world.

My friend and colleague, Hervé St-Louis, wrote a review of Oblivion, from which I’ve selected the following lines:

...the plot is rather thin and much of the movie is lengthy and boring. It was a film produced for Tom Cruise’s ego...  This movie is meant to show Tom Cruise on the best possible angle at all time and nothing more. (

Tom Cruise apparently received good notices for his performance in Oblivion, but as is the case with most movies in which he appears, the film becomes about Cruise.  Here, the focus on Cruise/Jack Harper comes at the detriment of the other actors and the characters they play.  Thus, the mysterious, intriguing Julia remains a cipher, her captivating past and purpose subverted to serving the interests of Jack Harper’s quest.  This is the case with the equally captivating and cagey Vika, as it is with other characters I won’t name here in order to avoid creating too many spoilers.

That is not to say that Harper isn’t a great character.  There is so much to him, and while this isn’t among Cruise’s best performances, he makes Harper worth following.  However, it is as if we never really get into any depth with Harper.  Perhaps, the problem is the film’s screenplay.  Conceptually, Oblivion is like a novel, covering events that occur over a period of 60 years and happens on a worldwide level.  The actual screenplay for the movie mainly focuses on what would be the equivalent of two short stories at the end of the Oblivion saga.

That makes the film’s plot thin, but Oblivion offers good character drama and sci-fi.  Still, there are long, empty spaces in the story that seem to amount to nothing more than Harper staring off in the distance or flying in that cool Bubble Ship (which I want).

Oblivion is visually striking.  The aforementioned Bubble Ship, the drones, the power stations, and Tower 49 (Jack and Vika home and base) are sleek, showing off a production aesthetic that recalls The Matrix, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and 1970s science fiction films like Logan’s Run, Silent Running, and Star Wars (of course).  It is the visual experience of Oblivion that makes me a fan of this film, in spite of my misgivings about the plot/screenplay and the diminishing of the supporting characters.

7 of 10

Friday, September 13, 2013

The text is copyright © 2013 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: "Olympus Has Fallen" is an Entertaining, Cheesy Action Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 57 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Running time:  120 minutes (2 hours)
MPAA – R for strong violence and language throughout
DIRECTOR:  Antoine Fuqua
WRITERS:  Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt
PRODUCERS:  Gerard Butler, Ed Cathell III, Antoine Fuqua, Mark Gill, Danny Lerner, and Alan Siegel
EDITOR:  John Refoua
COMPOSER:  Trevor Morris


Starring:  Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Finley Jacobsen, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Phil Austin, Sean O’Bryan, Robert Forster, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Ashley Judd

While watching Morgan Freeman play an “Acting President of the United States” in Olympus Has Fallen, I remembered that he played the President during a disastrous time in another movie, Deep Impact, one of my very favorite films of all-time.  Olympus Has Fallen will not hold a place in my heart like Deep Impact, but it is, if nothing else, an entertaining and effective action movie.  Like me, you may very well feel the need to kick some enemy of the United States ass while watching it.

Olympus Has Fallen is a 2013 action thriller and semi-disaster movie from director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Tears of the Sun).  The film follows a disgraced, former Secret Service agent who finds himself trying to rescue the President after terrorists attack the White House.

Olympus Has Fallen opens on a snowy Christmas evening, when tragedy strikes.  Eighteen months later, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is a disgraced Secret Service agent working at the U.S. Treasury Department.  While pondering the state of his life, Banning witnesses a full-on invasion of the White House.  Now, Kang Yeonsak (Rick Yune), a terrorist mastermind, is holding President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) hostage, and Kang’s demands, if met, will change the United States and the world forever.  Fate has given Banning a chance at redemption, but he may not have enough time to save the President or the world.

In some ways, Olympus Has Fallen is a throwback movie.  I can see Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, or Bruce Willis playing the lead in a movie just like Olympus Has Fallen from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s.  Lower the budget of such a movie, and your lead becomes Dolph Lundgren or Steven Seagal.  I can even imagine the voice over for an “old school” version of Olympus Has Fallen:

A pan-Asian devil has taken the White House,
The President – held hostage; the world in danger,
Now, only one man – one Caucasian man – can save the world
Bruce Willis-Stallone-Schwarzenegger, etc is Mike Banning in

Seriously, this is a slightly above-average, American-macho-done-up action movie.  Director Antoine Fuqua does his best low-rent Michael Bay.  Fuqua seems to borrow the loudest and most obnoxious stylistic elements of Bay’s The Rock and Armageddon to make Olympus Has Fallen.

Here, Gerard Butler is either being a really bad actor – a 21st century Dolph Lundgren – or he’s being tongue-in-cheek.  Even MAD Magazine couldn’t mock the action hero in a way that would surpass Butler’s caricature known as Mike Banning.  As a villain, Rick Yune is Butler’s over-the-top mirror image.  Yune’s Kang belongs in a Jean-Claude Van Damme straight-to-DVD movie, not in a big-budget feature.

The opposite of Butler and Yune is Morgan Freeman who plays Speaker of the House Allan Trumbull as extra-deadly serious.  Angela Bassett, as Lynne Jacobs, Director of the Secret Service, is sometimes over-the-top hysterical and frantic; it made me wonder if Bassett had forgotten that she was in an action movie and not a soap opera.

Still, Olympus Has Fallen is fun to watch, because it is as much a disaster movie as it is a shoot ‘em up about a lone wolf-type.  And the disaster part of it really appealed to me.

5 of 10

Monday, August 19, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Review: "Lucky Number Slevin" a Crime Film Treat

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 235 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Running time:  110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong violence, sexuality, and language
DIRECTOR:  Paul McGuigan
WRITER:  Jason Smilovic
PRODUCERS:  Chris Roberts, Christopher Eberts, Kia Jam, Anthony Rhulen, Robert Kravis, and Tyler Mitchell
EDITOR:  Andrew Hulme

CRIME with elements of mystery and thriller

Starring:  Josh Hartnett, Morgan Freeman, Sir Ben Kingsley, Lucy Lui, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis, Dorian Missick, Mykelti Williamson, and Peter Outerbridge

The subject of this movie review is Lucky Number Slevin, a 2006 crime thriller.  The film is about a young man trapped by a case of mistaken identity that lands him in the middle of a brewing gang war between two rival crime bosses and also makes him the target of an infamous assassin.

Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett) arrives at his friend, Nick Fisher’s New York City apartment only to find him missing, but Slevin does strike up a friendship with Nick’s chatty neighbor, Lindsey (Lucy Lui).  Later, two thugs looking for Nick arrive at the apartment and mistake Slevin for his missing friend.  It turns out that Nick owes a lot of money to two crime bosses:  $96,000 to The Boss (Morgan Freeman) and $33,000 to The Rabbi (Sir Ben Kingsley).

The Boss and The Rabbi, once partners, are now bitter, deadly enemies.  Before long, The Boss wants Slevin to perform a high-profile hit against The Rabbi’s son as a way to pay off his $96,000 debt.  The Rabbi just wants his money, and he gives Slevin a few days to come up with the cash.  And it doesn’t matter to them that Slevin isn’t Nick – that’s just his hard luck.  How unlucky is Slevin?  The infamous assassin, Mr. Goodkat (Bruce Willis), is also gunning for Slevin, or is he?  Slevin suddenly has to hatch an ingenious plot to win this game of death.  And what is the Kansas City Shuffle?

Paul McGuigan (GANGSTER Number 1) mixes sub-genres in his crime flick, Lucky Number Slevin.  It blends noir, gangster flicks, and the con game into a violent little tale of betrayal, crass brutality, and revenge.  The viewer that doesn’t figure out the trick early on will find himself rewarded for having waded through this often slow moving and gabby flick.  Even figuring out the surprise midway through the movie makes the waiting pay off.  Figure out the secrets early on, and you might have to enjoy Lucky Number Slevin’s execution and style.  (Strangely, the direction and writing on this film seem at their best during the flashbacks.)

The performances are good, but not great.  It’s these actors’ status as movie stars – whether it be A-list, B-list, or lower – and their ability to sell a character they’re playing that makes what they’re doing look good and convincing (although Sir Ben Kingsley seems an automatic for the most part).  Meanwhile, Josh Hartnett is a “face.”  He’s handsome and has movie idol written all over him, but he still hasn’t found enough good material to make him iconic.  Lucky Number Slevin isn’t that kind of great material, but it’s good enough for the time being.  Sexy, vulnerable, and utterly sympathetic, Hartnett makes this odd and sometimes uneven tale a sweet treat for fans of crime cinema.

7 of 10

Updated: Friday, July 19, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Your Short Film Could Be in "The Lego Movie"

Online Video Contest Offers LEGO® Fans Worldwide a Chance to Place Their Own Work in the Upcoming 3D Animated Feature, “THE LEGO MOVIE”

Entries are Eligible for a Score of Prizes, and One Grand Prize Winner’s Creation Could Be Included in the 2014 Release

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Beginning March 25, LEGO® fans registered worldwide on will have a one-of-a-kind, hands-on opportunity to take part in the growing excitement for “THE LEGO MOVIE” by creating a 15-30 second video clip based on its story, in the LEGO ReBrick Movie Competition. The winning video could be featured in the film, the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO adventure, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures, opening February 7, 2014.

The fan-produced clips will relate to an exciting scene in the film, in which the citizens of the LEGO universe rally to prevent an unspeakable disaster. They do this by quickly disassembling the elements of their environments, brick by brick, and rebuilding them into fantastic and fun hybrid vehicles and tools—the stranger and more innovative, the better, like rocket/dragons or butterfly/speedboats—to take part in an epic battle.

Using only LEGO bricks and non-licensed LEGO minifigures, contestants will select a character and set their action sequence in one of their favorite LEGO worlds, such as LEGO City, Space, Pirates, Western, Vikings, Dino, Castle, and others. After building and recording their LEGO designs, they will upload the video to YouTube, and bookmark it on the Building Challenge page, where it will be open for voting from the entire ReBrick membership. The 25 videos earning the most “Likes” will ultimately be reviewed for creativity, originality, theme and suitability for the film by a panel of judges, including Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, writers/directors of “THE LEGO MOVIE.”

The Grand Prize winner will receive a trip for two to Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, for a VIP Tour; a meeting with the directors, to participate in a LEGO build; an exclusive LEGO film camera designed and built by the official LEGO model shop; plus souvenir items from the movie’s set, signed by the designers. His or her winning entry may also be edited into the film’s big battle sequence. Second and third place winners will also be honored, as well as winners of bi-weekly prizes selected during the challenge’s six-week run, for a range of additional prizes, including tickets to the Studio’s tour, “THE LEGO MOVIE” merchandise, a $200 gift card for the Studio’s online store, and a feature spot on The Official LEGO Channel on YouTube.

All entrants must be at least 16 years old and be registered on the LEGO fansite Submissions will be accepted from March 25, 2013, at 9:00 A.M., until May 6, 2013, at 8:59 A.M., EDT. Videos must be between 15-30 seconds and be captured using a camera that is at least 3.2 megapixels, and framed to fit within a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Submissions must contain only LEGO elements and figures with no customized parts, must follow the ReBrick House Rules, and must be suitable for children.

Local regulations and complete prizing information can be found on the Contest Rules page at, with additional guidelines, examples and updates available at microsite

Winners will be announced on May 20, 2013.

“THE LEGO MOVIE” opens in theaters February 7, 2014. The 3D computer animated adventure tells the story of Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.

“THE LEGO MOVIE” stars Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie and Morgan Freeman as the voices of the animated characters. The film is directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (“21 Jump Street,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) from their original screenplay, and story by Dan Hageman & Kevin Hageman and Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, based on LEGO construction toys. It will incorporate some of the LEGO world’s most popular figures while introducing several new characters, inviting fans who have enjoyed the brand’s innovative toys and hugely popular video games for generations to experience their visually unique LEGO world as never seen before.

The film will be produced by Dan Lin (“Sherlock Holmes,” “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”) and Roy Lee (“The Departed,” “How to Train Your Dragon”).

LEGO, its logo, brick & knob configuration and the Minifigure are trademarks of The LEGO Group. ©2013 The LEGO Group. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: "Bruce Almighty" Not So Mighty

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 20 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Bruce Almighty (2003)
Running time: 101 minutes (1 hour, 41 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for language, sexual content and some crude humor
DIRECTOR: Tom Shadyac
WRITERS: Steve Koren & Mark O’Keefe and Steve Oedekerk; from a story by Steve Koren and Mark O’Keefe
PRODUCERS: Michael Bostick, James D. Brubaker, Jim Carrey, Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe, and Tom Shadyac
EDITOR: Scott Hill
COMPOSER: John Debney


Starring: Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Baker Hall, Catherine Baker, Lisa Ann Walter, Steven Carell, Nora Dunn, Eddie Jemison, Paul Satterfield, Mark Kiely, Sally Kirkland, and Tony Bennett

The subject of this movie review is Bruce Almighty, a 2003 comedy and fantasy film from director Tom Shadyac and starring Jim Carrey. The film was a worldwide box office hit and yielded a spin-off film, Evan Almighty, in 2007.

Bruce Almighty isn’t Jim Carrey’s best film, although it was one of his biggest ever at the box office. I wanted to see it for a long time, but never got around to it, and after having finally seen it, I now realize that it would have been perfectly fine, if in my life as a moviegoer, I had never seen it. It’s not bad; it’s just not good Jim Carrey.

Bruce Almighty focuses on Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) an unhappy television reporter who complains about how unfair God is to him. When he doesn’t get the promotion after which he lusted and gets himself fired as a result, he condemns God as a do-nothing. God (Morgan Freeman) decides to make an appearance and see if Bruce can do better a job ruling existence. He gives Bruce his almighty powers just to teach him how difficult the job of being God can be.

First of all the concept is a piece of shit. Granted that the job of watching the universe is, to say the absolute least, difficult, can’t God do the job? He is, after all, God…

Secondly, the script is very smart, for at least half the film. Bruce acts just as you’d think he would – selfishly and carelessly doing whatever it takes to make things easy for him. It turns out he was always a self-obsessed bastard. Even after he gets his way via his newly gained almighty powers, he doesn’t think to make things better not only for himself, but also for his girlfriend, Grace Connelly (Jennifer Anniston). When Bruce does finally at least pay attention to the (presumed) basic duty of God, answering prayers, he takes the easy route and creates a disaster. All this stuff is smart and probably pretty accurate when it comes to describing how someone would handle the situation.

After that, Bruce Almighty becomes a feel good fest of fixing things and doing the right thing. That makes for a pleasant movie, and the story resolves in the way it probably should: life lessons learned, good will towards men, respecting God (but, according to the film, respecting God in a bland and non-evangelical way). However, that’s the problem. Bruce Almighty plays it too safe; it would have really been a funnier film if it had actually went against the grain – maybe be radical.

And as silly and crazy as Jim Carrey has been, he’s rarely done anything dangerous in his career. As a stage comedian, he was a gagman, the Prince of Ass Jokes, really. He does great impersonations and he’s a human sound effects machine, but we’re not talking Lenny Bruce or even Carrey’s idol, Andy Kaufman. His film career has pretty much been the same act, but he’s been so damn good at it. The Ace Ventura films and Dumb and Dumber are priceless.

Since the mid to late 90’s, Jim has been trying to prove to everyone that he’s not a comedian turned actor or just a comic actor, but an actor – one capable doing serious dramatic roles. I think several years of trying to prove that he’s a great actor has dulled the talent that justifies his popularity and humongous paychecks – his talent as the Prince of Ass Jokes, the Duke of Juvenile Humor, and Lord of Rubbery Faces.

You can see it in Bruce Almighty. His silliness, childishness, and zaniness lack the zip they once had. He’s does some really hilarious clowning around in this film, but a lot of it is soft and too much of it strained.

So see Bruce Almighty, if you like Jim Carrey. Sadly, it’s the closest we’ll get to the early to mid-90’s pet detective.

5 of 10

2004 Black Reel Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Supporting Actor” (Morgan Freeman)

2004 Image Awards: 1 win: “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture” (Morgan Freeman)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tom Cruise Movie "Oblivion" Debuts Trailer and Poster

Radical Studios’ Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise debuts one-sheet, trailer online

Radical Studios is thrilled to announce the online debut of the teaser one-sheet, trailer and select images of its first major motion picture: Oblivion, being released by Universal Pictures. The sci-fi epic is based on a yet to be released Radical Publishing graphic novel, original concept by TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski, written by Arvid Nelson and art by Andrée Wallen.

The film is directed by Joseph Kosinski, stars Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Melissa Leo. Oblivion is produced by Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Joseph Kosinski, Duncan Henderson and Radical President Barry Levine, with executive producers David Morrison, Radical Executive Vice President Jesse Berger and Justin Springer. The film is set for an April 12, 2013 IMAX release and an April 19, 2013 worldwide release. The graphic novel is expected to release in 2014.

Fans can check out the teaser one-sheet of Oblivion at and visit the film’s newly launched website at, facebook page at and twitter at #OBLIVION. On December 9, 2012 the trailer will make its online debut at

Here is the official plot synopsis for the movie:
“Jack Harper (Cruise) is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jack’s mission is nearly complete.

Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, his soaring existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands."

This news comes on the heels of Radical’s recent announcement that its best-selling original graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars will be adapted as a motion picture by MGM and Paramount Pictures. Hercules stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and will be directed by Brett Ratner. Production is scheduled to start in early 2013.

Please visit to learn more about Oblivion, Hercules: The Thracian Wars, and the rest of Radical’s amazing library of titles. All books are available for purchase on the site as well as digitally through iTunes and Amazon.

Radical Studios will continue to release news and updates surrounding both Oblivion and Hercules. Stay informed by liking Radical’s Facebook page at, following Radical’s YouTube channel at, and following @radicalstudios on Twitter.

About Radical Studios: Radical Studios is a multimedia studio centralized around a catalog of stories and characters. The company is currently focused on licensing its intellectual properties in both domestic and international markets, in physical and digital publishing, feature films, television, merchandise, recorded music, digital and online media applications and mobile and social games. Radical is represented by David Schiff of The Schiff Company and Phil Rosen of Rosen Law Group.