The remains of the Darth Vader helmet prop used in the Endor funeral pyre from "Return of the Jedi", 1983

The Most Famous Abandoned Movie Sets

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Although, to be fair, the "Field of Dreams" site is far from abandoned and is actually a tourist attraction in Dyersville, Iowa.

Director James Gray takes aim at Harvey Weinstein for his "narcissistic principles" while he was making "The Immigrant"



Harvey Weinstein has had a sour working relationship with some of the greateet directors in the world, so much so that many filmmakers second-guess a possible partnership with the venerable producer of The Weinstein Company. He is nicknamed Harvey Scissorhands after all, he'll clip your film no matter the resistance you put into it. Just ask Martin Scorsese, Bong Joon-Ho, Billy Bob Thornton, Wong Kar-Wai, and many more. 

You can add in director James Gray to that list. His experience working with Weinstein on "The Immigrant" was sour enough that he's decided to openly talk about it.

A Ghost Story - Poster (A24 - Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara)



Sony planning on having an R rating for "Venom" and lanching their own Marvel Cinematic Universe in the process

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In an exclusive bit of news, Collider is reporting that Sony execs are planning on stamping an R rating on the upcoming "Venom" movie. That's great news as I have made it abundantly clear that there is no way you can pull off a movie about "Venom" without the horrific carnage that comes with this symbiotic character. 

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in "Tomb Raider"



First image of Michael Keaton in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" as The Vulture

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"Venom" starts filming this fall, described as "Action/Horror/Sci-Fi"



My Entertainment World has just posted Venom's production listing. It says that the film will start shooting this fall. It also posits the genre of the film to be “Action/Horror/Sci-fi,” a sure sign that this will all lead to a much wanted R rating. 

There's also no word yet on whether this film will, somehow, find its way into the MCU, given that this is a property of the currently struggling Sony, and not Marvel's usual go-to, Disney, and that Sony has, so far, been rushing this project to the top of the heap gives off  a sign of desperation on the part of the studio. Fingers are crossed that there will be enough time to make a quality product with a venerable director attached to the film. They did well with the first two Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, so there's no reason to believe they have it in them to make a great Venom movie, maybe with Raimi directing?

Last week I wrote:

"The fact that R rated Marvel movies such as "Deadpool" and "Logan" did so well at the box-office has probably helped "Venom" get a quicker than expected release date. There is a large market out there for R rated Marvel films done with more creative freedom than the PG-13 juggernauts we're so tirelessly accustomed to getting. One thing's for sure though, "Venom" will be bloody violent.  If you remember, Topher Grace played Venom in Spider-Man 3, although the actual symbiotic villain must have had, what, around 5 minutes of screentime?"

Marvel has dated the movie for October 5, 2018!

Disney planning Star Wars movies well until 2030



“We’re starting talk about what could happen after Episode IX. About what could be another decade-and-a-half of Star Wars stories.” Bob Iger (Disney CEO),  The Hollywood Reporter

I guess Disney are going to run this thing into the ground with every last breath left in them. Milk it until it's dead and then milk it some more. It has turned into a total cash cow for them. Remember folks, too much of a good thing can be unintentionally harmful. Might as well mention my wish list: A Darth Vader origins story, post "Revenge of the Sith," and they should also just do the old republic stories. I don't know how you can continue doing this series until 2030 and not lose any integrity left in your artistry, but, hell, might as well wait and see. You need time to savor a great movie, to make it have a lasting impact, audiences were given time to savor the original SW films, to revisit them etc. Looks like Disney is doing to Star Wars what they are currently doing to Marvel, do you seriously think anybody will remember even 2/3 of the Marvel movies coming out today? Does anyone remember even a scene of the rushed-up jobs that were "Thor: The Dark World," "Iron Man 2" and, hell, even "Avengers: Age of Ultron" ??? Of course not.

UPDATE: 

I wrote this on Facebook: "This is only another reason why I'm loving the way Netflix has been so aggresive in building up their own movie branch. Most great directors are saying fuck it, let's all get out of the Hollywood studio system and make a new home over at Netflix. It's the only way to go."

Box-Office: "Beauty and the Beast" stays at the top with $88M intake, "Power Rangers" impresses, "Life" disappoints & "CHIPS" flops



1. “Beauty And The Beast” — $88.3 million ($316.9 mil.)
2. “Power Rangers” — $40.5 million
3. “Kong: Skull Island” — $14.4 million ($133.5 mil.)
4. “Life” — $12.6 million
5. “Logan” — $10.1 million ($201.4 mil.)
6. “Get Out” — $8.6 million ($147.4 mil.)
7. “Chips” — $7.6 million
8. “The Shack” — $3.7 million ($49 mil.)
9. “The Lego Batman Movie” — $1.9 million ($170.8 mil.)
10. “The Belko Experiment” — $1.8 million ($7.5 mil.)


"Beauty and the Beast" can probably maintain the top spot until late April when "The Fate of the Furious" debuts. That could be four straight weeks at #1 for the film. Unheard of these days. It stands a good chance at even cracking top 5-10 of all-time if it continues in this furious pace. That's a $316 million intake for the film in just two weeks. It also stands a good chance at cracking that prestigious worldwide billion dollar mark. Its global intake is $500 million at the moment. Nostalgia reigns!

Movie Studio Logos Through The Years



I love it whenever a movie nowadays uses one of the old logos, it really sets a certain mood for the film. Recent examples include: Argo, Magic Mike, The Good German, Inherent Vice. I know Tarantino has done it with his past couple films. I believe Django Unchained has the classic Columbia logo, and Inglourious Basterds with the classic Universal logo. My favorite of these is probably the red Warner Bros. logo. Reminds me of the seminal time where American movies actually mattered back in the '70s.

"Justice League" Official Trailer Is Released



Between this, Wonder Woman, and The Amazing Spider-Man, we have entered a new phase of marketing where the studio is actually not showing the entire plot thread. I believe this movie is going to have the ultimate slo-mo shot in a movie, Zack Snyder currently wetting his pants in anticipation of us watching his ultimate money shot. God bless him. Oh, and Batman still looks like he can't move his head. It's starting to get ridiculous.

“Justice League” arrives on November 17th.

"Five Came Back", a Netflix documentary about five major American directors who went off to help the war effort in WWII and the films they made when they came home



Marvel's Underappreciated Gem: 2004's "The Punisher"



The 1989 adaptation of Marvel's "The Punisher" was a cheesy, action-packed, B-movie starring Dolph Lundgren. It wasn't good. It didn't nail the spirit of the comic book and was badly cast. The 2004 version, on the other hand, slyly directed by Jonathan Henseligh, is an under appreciated gem from the Marvel cannon. It's a film that is neither cliched nor plays it safe, an intense ride from beginning to end that had me pinned to my seat. The fact that this film came out before the start of MCU, 2008's "Iron Man" probably the starting point, makes it take risks and go into endeavors that would have otherwise never been possible post-2008. 

Terrence Malick is officially a lost auteur, stuck in limbo, trying to find his way back













The Terrence Malick "witch hunt," that has been happening ever since "To The Wonder," which then continued with "Knight of Cups" and now has hit a peak of animosity with "Song to Song," has finally hit its goal of de-legitimizing the once legendary director. I finally caught up with "Song to Song" this week and, sadly, the term "unwatchable" comes to mind. What happened? The last three films Malick has conceived, although original in structure, have the most cliched love stories imaginable. They all, more or less, have to do with romantic yearning and feature some of the biggest names in the business: Ben Affleck, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams. That's also another problem. Having star wattage, well known faces, does a disservice to what Malick is trying to achieve here. You don't buy the yearning these big stars actors are performing on-screen. Maybe, having unknown actors would have benefited the story a little more. Which brings me to Malick's next film which, God help me, I'm actually very much looking forward to: The WWII film "Radegund," which stars unknown German actors and seems to be a departure from his recent trilogy from hell. Hopefully I'll get to see it at Cannes this coming May, if Cannes hasn't given up on the venerable writer-director, which I fear they might have.

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