Sam Flynn’s 7: The Week in Pop Culture – April 25 – May 1

The week is long and hard, that’s why every Friday, you can relax and catch up on everything you need to know in Hollywood and beyond with Sam Flynn’s 7, my breakdown and analysis of the week in film and TV.

7. Anime & Video Games: The Final Frontier

With comic book movies accelerating toward a singularity (a black hole usually follows), there are two adaptation frontiers that remain for Hollywood: classic anime and video games. News that set my inner child alight was a brand-new Dragon Ball series titled Dragon Ball Super, made in cooperation with the manga’s creator Akira Toriyama, would be premiering in July in Japan.

Hollywood hasn’t been able to crack that nut (Dragonball Evolution doesn’t count). The Akira film has floundered with budget woes for years and its director Jaume Collet-Serra isn’t optimistic. But a side effect of the Marvel/Sony partnership on Spider-Man was movement on an adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. Scarlett Johansson, hot off Avengers: Age of Ultron (read my review), is already set to star and its release, originally April 14, 2017, was just moved to March 31 in the wake of Vin Diesel’s announcement that Fast & Furious 8 would also release on April 14.

Another long-gestating anime adaptation, Robotech, is inching closer to production and Furious 7 helmer James Wan is in negotiations to direct. He is hot off that film’s billion dollar success and has been rumored to be sought for Aquaman as well. Next up immediately for Wan is a Conjuring sequel set to film this fall for release next June.

Another long-gestating adaptation is one of the Assassin’s Creed video games. Long attached has been star and producer Michael Fassbender, which has been the main reason to pay attention to this film when video game adaptations vary little, usually between bad (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time) and worse (Alone in the Dark). However, talking to ComingSoon for his indie western Slow West, Fassbender said it was all part of the necessary development to make the best adaptation and best film possible. Filming is set to begin in September after Fassbender wraps X-Men: Apocalypse. Speaking of . . .

6. X-Men: Apocalypse – more details, photos, and concept art

Well, there he is. Don’t know exactly why exactly 20th Century Fox decided to first reveal the new (definitely not improved) emo-Nightcrawler. Honestly, they should have just stuck with this pic from writer/producer Simon Kinberg’s Twitter feed, that’s how bad the above picture is:

Thankfully Bryan Singer took matters into his own hands and published a photo of Lana Condor (Jubliee) and Sophie Turner (Jean Grey) as the 80s-era versions of the classic mutants on his personal Instagram.

Fun second day with @sophie_789 @lanacondor #JeanGrey #Jubilee #XMEN #XMenApocalypse

A post shared by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on

Singer also spilled a bunch of art and details to Empire about the new castmembers.

“They’re as much a part of the movie as our main cast. Scott is not yet the squeaky-clean leader. Storm is a troubled character who is going down the wrong path in life. And Jean is complex, interesting and not fully mature. It’s fun to see someone struggling with their powers when you know one day they’ll become the most powerful person in the world.”

Check out the concept art at SuperheroHype. Last tidbit: the always-reliable and awesome El Mayimbe posted a spoiler on Instagram regarding the future of the X-Men franchise. Check it out, if you dare.

5. TRAILERS: Batman: Arkham Knight, Legend

I’m no master gamer but I certainly enjoy them, particularly RTS and RPG ones like the Total War games and Bioware’s Mass Effect and Dragon Age series. Another that has become a fixture in my cycle for the past couple years is the Batman: Arkham series and now, the end is nigh.

The final installment (for producer RockSteady anyway), Arkham Knight finds Batman in the fight for his life against the Arkham Knight and Scarecrow’s united front of villains. The best trailer yet to display the gameplay also introduces a new feature called Dual Play and emphasizes Batman’s allies like Robin and Nightwing that he can call on to aid him in real-time combat. They’re pulling out all the stops and it is by far my most anticipated game of the year.

“All Who Follow You” trailer

One thing I am a master of though is unrequited heterosexual manlove and I have it in spades for Tom Hardy. Now, there’s a movie, Legend, where Tom Hardy’s co-star is . . . Tom Hardy. He plays both Kray twins, Ronald and Reginald, violent gangsters who ran the British underworld in the 1960s until their inevitable downfall. The film was called “aggressively sexual” by one of its co-stars. So, there’s that too.

4. Hannibal Season 3 details

As you will know if you read my Summer’s 7 Preview (hint: you should read my Summer’s 7 preview) I love Hannibal and True Detective like they’re my own children i.e. in different ways. But a lot of what Hannibal creator and showrunner Bryan Fuller is saying about Season 3 has me confident that True Detective has a steep hill to climb to match it.

Fuller reveals to DigitalSpy the season is essentially split into two parts. The first part borrows heavily from Ridley Scott’s Hannibal (2001) detailing Hannibal abroad in Italy, hiding from the law in the wake of the bloody Season 2 finale. His relationship with his therapist Dr. Bedelia de Maurier (Gillian Anderson) is also heavily explored.

The second part ditches the cuisine-based titles that have ruled since the first episode and instead use the names of William’s Blake’s Great Red Dragon paintings that inspire the serial killer Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage) in what uses the Red Dragon storyline from the books and films.

Production of this season has been hard and led to the scheduling delay that made Hannibal a summer series but he says it has been worth the time to craft almost an entirely new show.

“It felt like a breath of fresh air not being in Quantico, and not having FBI scenes talking about the murder clues. It was so liberating that if we do get a fourth season, there’s going to be a lot more of that than there will be anything FBI-oriented. It will probably be our most serialised season thus far, and the first half of season three was really an experiment of ‘does this work on our show?’ As an audience member and Fannibal, I loved it.”

Hannibal returns Thursday, June 4.

3. RELEASE DATE JUMBLE:

Lots of new dates coming out of Cinema Con and studio announcements, among them Universal and Lionsgate.

DATE SHIFTS:

Criminal – August 21, 2015 to January 22, 2016

– Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, and Tommy Lee Jones star in this action pic

Gods of Egypt – February 12, 2016 to April 8, 2016

– A supernatural adventure set in ancient Egypt a la Clash of the Titans (the original, not the shitty remake)

Warcraft – March 11, 2016 to June 10, 2016

– An adaptation of the World of Warcraft video game from Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code)

The Mummy – June 24, 2016 to March 24, 2017

– A reboot of the famed Universal monster, aiming to start a ‘monster cinematic universe’

Power Rangers – July 22, 2016 to January 13, 2017

– Lionsgate cinematic reboot of the popular children’s action show

Pacific Rim 2 – April 7, 2017 to August 4, 2017

– Guillermo del Toro’s sequel to his 2013 robots vs. monsters epic

Untitled Universal Monsterverse Film – April 21, 2017 to March 30, 2018

– See The Mummy

NEW DATES:

American Ultra – August 21, 2015

– An indie action comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart

La La Land – July 15, 2016

– Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in this musical from Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)

Ouija 2 – October 21, 2016

– A sequel to the microbudget horror film

Mena – January 6, 2017

– A drug-running thriller from Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) starring Tom Cruise

The Magnificent Seven – January 13, 2017

– Antonie Fuqua’s remake of the classic film starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke etc.

Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed on February 13, 2017 and February 14, 2018

– The sequels to this year’s $500+million grossing erotic hit

The eighth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise on April 14, 2017

– The sequel to last month’s billion dollar earner Furious 7

2. Asa Butterfield the favorite for new Spider-Man

Butterfield takes the lead, no, wait Holland is riding up from behind. It’s neck and neck. Who will win? It’s the battle of the 18-year-olds! Make these bitches Hunger Games the shit out of each other. Or, you know, audition. Same difference.

 

We’ll be finding out this month definitively who will play the MCU Spider-Man as Devin Faraci of Badass Digest reports his scenes in Captain America: Civil War (which just started filming) are scheduled to be shot in June. Of the previously rumored names, only Nat Wolff was also mentioned but it is said he is since out of the running. Holland was back in the mix as of today as another contender.

Butterfield seems the obvious choice to me, not only in looks but in experience. He’s worked with Scorcese (Hugo) done big-budget sci-fi (Ender’s Game), and has a YA adaptation coming next year with Tim Burton (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children). Dude’s popping in all the right career ways. Spider-Man seems a natural next step. Holland, previously in the tsunami flick The Impossible, will next fight the waves again in Ron Howard’s whaling feature In the Heart of the Sea.

1. Leto as the Joker, Affleck as Batman

Last Friday, David Ayer, director of Suicide Squad, unveiled the new revisionist look of Jared Leto’s Joker. Heath Ledger’s past performance was so legendary, so accentuated by his tragic and untimely death, that following it up has been a task few have dared.

But I had it to Ayer and Leto, they swing for the fences and I have to say it works for me. I like gangster, street criminal motif, particularly the grill and the implication that Batman punched out his real teeth long ago. The tattoos are a little too on the nose, yes. I wish they looked more crude or ill-finished. You know what we should have seen? Joker in a cell carving into his own skin his tattoos. Now that would have made a statement. But presented here in a white vacuum, the context doesn’t come across and I think that’s why it was met with more suspicion than anything else, with some even denying the official photo was real.

Meanwhile we were also treated to a rumor that the Joker will pop up in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, according to Latino Review, in a flashback showing his murder of Jason Todd a.k.a. the second Robin. This would set up the Red Hood storyline for future D.C. films, likely the forthcoming Batman solo adventure.

About Sam Flynn

Wasting oxygen since 1992, Sam thanks the gods he doesn't believe in everyday his parents didn't discard him as an infant. It would have been the sensible thing to do.
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