Sam Flynn’s 7: The Week in Pop Culture – May 2-8

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.

NOTE: Apologies for my missed Friday deadline, for those of you who have no doubt come to rely on these digests as much as you depend on air (once again, no doubt). I am in the process of moving and at the same time my girlfriend became hospitalized. Obviously, not the best combination. Good news, she’s out and about and we’re happy at our new place. But you didn’t come to read about me. On to the news!

7.  Josh Trank departs second Star Wars Anthology film

How do you fuck up on a job like directing a Star Wars movie? Literally, every kid dreamed of that position, whether they knew it or not while they played with their action figures, crafting stories in the expanded universe. But rumors that were brought up back in January turned out to be true, recently reinforced by Trank’s “flu” that kept him from the Star Wars Celebration. Apparently his bad work ethic on Fantastic Four finally got his ass booted from the second Star Wars Anthology film.

Trank, who made his name on the 2012 sleeper hit Chronicle, became a hot commodity in Hollywood thereafter, taking (and-presumably-getting-kicked-off-of) jobs left and right before eventually settling on the Fantastic Four reboot as his sophomore effort.

The Hollywood Reporter dug deep after Trank and Lucasfilm released joint statements announcing their mutual separation (maybe they just need a good counselor?) and found a source that was quoted as saying “If you’ve got someone who can’t answer questions or who isn’t sure or is in hiding, that’s not good.” The person added Trank was “erratic” and sometimes “very isolated.”

Trank reportedly brought four dogs but didn’t feel the need to care for them, reportedly causing as much as $100,000 worth of damages to his rented home in New Orleans, where the film was shot. While on set, he was said to be “uncommunicative” and “indecisive.”

The first Anthology film, Rogue One, is set for a December 2016 release, to be directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and starring Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) and Ben Mendelsohn (Netflix’s Bloodline). The second’s story is under wraps but rumors resurfaced this week concerning a particular bounty hunter from the original trilogy: Boba Fett. While it’s described by TheWrap as an origin story, considering we saw his (shitty) origin in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, I have to imagine they mean his transformation from whiny kid to actual badass.

The F4 reboot remains promising and THR’s sources say, despite the trouble, FOX is confident in their film. In fact, it was screenwriter Simon Kinberg, a writer/producer who also writes the new X-Men and Star Wars films, that told Kathleen Kennedy he was reluctant to work with him again.

I find this hilarious. When these same rumors came up in January, Fox attempted to dispel them with a video commentary on the first trailer. That commentary was done by . . . Kinberg and Trank, the architects of the film but apparently not the best of friends. Having to act friendly must have been tough. Check out the video for yourself.

6. First photos of the Suicide Squad and Will Smith as Deadshot

Suicide Squad looks bananas. This pic prove it.

Notably missing is Leto, who had his pic released a couple weeks back to a typical Internet reaction – outrage mixed with mild anticipation. I’m liking Killer Croc’s look; more skin disease than outright crocodile like most modern incarnations. Surprised how dirty Cara Delevigne’s Enchantress looks. Maybe they’re going for swamp witch style? Most of all, I’m happy to see Will Smith actually doing an interesting movie for once but seeing his face is so not-Deadshot, oh wait . . .

Now THIS is what I’m talking about. Killer look (ha! I make myself laugh). He’s going to be on people’s minds again, and not in the After Earth or Focus kind of way.

This motley collection is your new Guardians of the Galaxy people. A band of arguably-insane outcasts forced to work together. In a classic example of the different approaches Marvel and D.C. have to film, Guardians is a space opera, a romp with more comedy than drama. This is a collection of supervillains, explicitly not-nice-people working for less-nice people on threat of death. Light and fun, dark and gritty, the modern superhero flavors. Squad even being released the same damn August weekend Guardians was two years ago.

5. John Wick 2 officially announced

http://www.omegaunderground.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/wick16x9.jpg

This is my favorite news all week. Last year’s best action movie (and the best action movie since The Matrix starring, oh yeah, also Keanu Reeves) was this hitman revenge thriller directed by stunt cooridinators David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. The action and cinematography are perfection, it delivers EXACTLY what it promises and it knows EXACTLY what kind of movie it is. A sequel is to be anticipated for greater fervor than for Jesus’ return. You heard that here first.

4. Will Poulter is Pennywise in two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s It

The first question when it comes to remaking It: who will be Pennywise? It speaks to Tim Curry’s indelible performance as the clown that personifies evil in the small town of Derry, Maine in the 1990 TV movie (which, outside his performance, is really quite bad). That question has been answered: Will Poulter will star in the two-part adaptation of the beloved novel, of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Maze Runner fame.  His next big role is in Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s upcoming follow-up to the Oscar-winning Birdman, The Revenant, a bleak western starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.

Poulter is a surprisingly young choice for the role, but his face is, well, surprisingly nightmarish on its own as well, so it’s not too baffling. He was said to have blown away writer/director Cary Fukunga in his audition. Fukunga is another reason to be excited; he is coming off the stupendous first season of True Detective, has the child soldier drama Beasts of No Nation with Idris Elba coming this year, and he is developing numerous other projects like another limited series “The Alienist” and an untitled drama film about the true story of father and son Joe and Jadin Bell.

Before Heath Ledger left his mark on the Joker, one of the most famous actors of his generation played him, Jack Nicholson. Fukunga’s work speaks for itself and he and Innaritu seem to see in Poulter something that we, the audience, should be very excited for.

3. Wolverine 3 to be Jackman’s last go-around as the superhero

At 46, even perpetually-youthful Hugh Jackman is having a hard time playing the ageless mutant and, despite early hints to the contrary, the long-assumed has been confirmed. Jackman told Dr. Oz on his show Thursday

“It is my last time. It just felt like it was the right time to do it. And let’s be honest, 17 years. I never thought in a million years it would last, so I’m so grateful to the fans for the opportunity of playing it. I kind of have in my head what we’re going to do in this last one. It just feels like this is the perfect way to go out.”

Hey man, I get it. It’s not easy maintaining that body at any age, let alone then. And, after 17 years of loyal service to the fans (despite or perhaps because of the atrocity of X-Men Origins: Wolverine), the guy deserves a break. We can only hope Robert Downey, Jr. sticks around as long.

Jackman has yet to be confirmed for an appearance in the currently-filming X-Men: Apocalypse and current rumors reported via El Mayimbe’s very active Instagram indicate that film and Jackman’s final turn will round out the Bryan Singer X-Men universe that began in 2000. What that means for the future of the franchise, whether a creative reboot or a passing of the torch, remains to be seen (though I hardly think Singer cast young versions of classic mutants with up-and-coming actors just to reboot in a few years).

2. Captain America: Civil War press release

After months and months of speculation, Marvel has finally officially announced their cast for Captain America: Civil War a.k.a. “Avengers 2.5.” Returning from previous MCU films:

  • Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
  • Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
  • Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
  • Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye
  • Don Cheadle as Col. James Rhodes / War Machine
  • Sebastian Stan as James “Bucky” Barnes / Winter Soldier
  • Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon
  • Paul Bettany as The Vision
  • Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
  • Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man
  • William Hurt as Gen. Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross
  • Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow / Crossbones
  • Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter / Agent 13

Being introduced in this film:

  • Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther
  • Daniel Bruhl as Baron Helmut Zemo
  • Asa Butterfield (or Tom Holland) as Peter Parker / Spider-Man
  • Martin Freeman as an unspecified character (rumor: Everett K. Ross)

It’s a massive ensemble to be sure. Freeman was announced just prior the release. In addition, Marvel released a new synopsis:

“Captain America: Civil War” picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.”

In an upcoming Hollywood Echo Chamber, I intend to do a preview piece on this film and its D.C. rival, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Clashing superheroes are all the rage nowadays.

1. Sense8 trailer

I’m a Wachowski fan. I love the Matrix trilogy – I am it seems the one person on the planet who likes the sequels – their lesbian thriller Bound is great for obvious reasons (also subtle reasons, it’s actually a good film) I love Cloud Atlas and I even like Speed Racer as through the lens of a live-action cartoon. But Jupiter Ascending? How do you blow $175 million that badly?

Anywho, that’s a long way of saying I like the Wachowskis and I still do, which is why I ‘m looking forward to their foray into Netflix with their series Sense8, premiering all 12 episodes June 5. The show is about eight strangers across the globe who suddenly become both aware of and connected to each other. Unfortunately, as is wont to happen, there are those who seek to harm them and they must work together to survive.

The descriptions so far have been pretty batshit in a good way (psychic orgies! live births!) and the first trailer, released Thursday, includes peeks of that. It’s short but what I’m most excited for, as with the John Wick sequel, is the action choreography going on here, along with the cool editing work done to synthesize these eight people’s lives.

 

 

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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