Mysterious Look at Sundance Thriller 'Monos'

This Colombian film won the World Cinema Special Jury Award at Sundance and is being released in September by Neon. When studios cut trailers for foreign-language films, they either go ahead with the subtitles or cut together a bunch of scenes without dialogue. I prefer the former, this is one of the latter, but it has an effective, haunting feel to it nonetheless. Keep an eye out for this one.

Tom Cruise Returns as Maverick in New 'Top Gun' Sequel

Yeah, you read that right. They should start resurrecting his other old movies, see what happened to the guys from Risky Business, Cocktail, Color of Money. How about Jerry Maguire next? I would not be surprised if it happened. The original Top Gun is a really cheesy movie by the way. It dated very quickly, so this sequel isn’t really aimed at me. Not sure if there are a whole lot of die hard Top Gun fans out there waiting for this either, but I guess we’ll find out.

Brad Pitt Searches for His Father in New 'Ad Astra' Trailer

This looks interesting, but I already said I’m wary of James Gray as a director, so I'm waiting for reviews on this one. I’m also not sure about that release date- normally if studios think an adult driven drama like this is particularly good, they’ll release it in October or November for awards season. September, not so much. That’s usually reserved for movies they don’t think are quite good enough.

Judy Garland Brought Back to Life by Renee Zellweger

As good an actress as Renee Zellweger can be, I just can’t stop thinking about how little she resembles Judy Garland in any way here. She doesn’t look like her, she doesn’t sound like her, she doesn’t sing like her. Even though actors have given critically acclaimed performances as famous people before without really imitating them (Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe for example) that’s going to be too distracting for me here, I think.

Disney's Live-Action 'Mulan' Gets a Teaser

So, this trailer make Mulan look like it might not be a carbon copy of the cartoon, which means it has potential to actually be good. Even though you can hear the strains of “Reflection” in there, apparently this is not a musical, there’s no Mushu and no Shang, so it will be fairly different. That’s a good thing. They could do the same with properties like Hercules, Tarzan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame from their 90’s canon if they wanted to- maybe since those later ones are less culturally beloved than the big four (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Lion King), they might actually deviate from them and turn out better movies?

Franco Zeffirelli 1923-2019


Franco Zeffirelli died today at the age of 96. An Italian director best known for his Shakespearean adaptations like 1967’s The Taming of the Shrew and 1968’s Romeo and Juliet (which was nominated for four Oscars, including Picture and Director), he made films steadily from the late 60’s through the 90’s. Other notable entries in his filmography included The Champ (1979), Endless Love (1981), La Traviata (1983), Hamlet (1990), Jane Eyre (1996) and Tea With Mussolini (1999). He also directed the beloved 1977 miniseries Jesus of Nazareth, which became a huge success and is still a holiday mainstay on television. My favorite film of his is undoubtedly Romeo and Juliet, by far the best version of the play ever filmed, and the definitive one in my eyes.

1968 Trailer for Romeo and Juliet:

Keira Knightley is a Whistleblower in 'Official Secrets'

This political thriller showed at Sundance, about the forgotten story of a whistleblower who worked for British intelligence, and who tried to stop the Iraq War by leaking secret documents in 2003. These kinds of stories about fighting for the truth and against government propaganda are more timely than ever- especially coming from people who do the right thing from inside the government rather than bowing down to what they tell you to do, when you know it’s wrong. It bothers me that we haven’t had more patriots in our current government trying to save the country from the evil squatting in the White House. Everyone just seems to be sitting on their hands, paralyzed in fear or complacency.

Brad Pitt Goes to Space in 'Ad Astra'

I’ve only seen one movie of James Grey’s but I kind of hated it (2014’s The Immigrant- and it is hard to get me to hate a period costume drama romance), so I’m not that excited about this one. I’m also suspicious of the September release date- big studios usually release their adult dramas in October or November if they think they’re any good, and this one’s been delayed for a while now.