Julia Emmanuele
  • Should Matt Damon Return to the Jason Bourne Movies?
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 20, 2014
    Universal Pictures via Everett Collection We might have to wait a little longer for the next installment in the Jason Bourne franchise, but if the rumors are true, it might just be worth the wait. Tentative reports over  at Latino Review say that the reason that the fifth Bourne movie was moved from its original August 2015 release date to one in July 2016 is because director Justin Lin is planning to bring back Jason Bourne himself: Matt Damon. Though the actor and national treasure has long said that he wouldn’t reprise the role without director Paul Greengrass on board, it seems that the revised script by Andrew Baldwin might have been enough to get him to change his mind. The site also states that Damon might be considering a return to the Bourne franchise as a way of bouncing back from recent poor box office performance, but considering that both Elysium and The Monuments Men did reasonably well, we think Damon’s still got what it takes to open a blockbuster. So, if Damon is looking to return, it seems more likely that his motivation is love of the character, rather than kick starting his career, which means that the real question isn’t whether Damon will make another Bourne movie. The real question is whether or not he should. There’s no denying that another Damon-fronted Bourne film would be exciting. Though The Bourne Legacy did its best to tell a new, interesting story, Damon is really the heart of the franchise. Without him as the lead, the films fall apart. Plus, Damon’s involvement with the new film would ensure that every single detail would be on point, since there’s no way that he would ever sign on for another Bourne adventure unless both the script and vision met the high bar set by the first three. It’s always rare to get a smart, well-crafted action film – let alone a trilogy! – but since Damon delivered them with the Bourne trilogy, it’s basically a guarantee that we’d have another exciting, high-quality blockbuster ready to hit theaters. But even though moviegoers might want one, Damon doesn’t need to make another Bourne movie. Elysium and The Monuments Men might not have done as well as predicted, but they were still very successful films, and his name still has a great impact on box office results. His career isn’t in a slump, and he’s got a few high-profile projects lined up, including The Martian, a Whitey Bulger biopic that he is producing with Ben Affleck, a role in Interstellar, and several big television projects. He has more than enough interesting, original works lined up to keep him busy, and allow him to explore other creative endeavors like writing and producing. Part of the reason that Damon has been able to have such a successful career is because he chooses diverse projects. Sure, he made three Bournes and three Ocean’s movies, but he followed each of them up with films that allowed him to play a completely different role. It wouldn’t make sense for him to now backtrack and go back to playing Jason Bourne now that he’s spent so much time and had so much success exploring different types of characters. Besides, Damon would be 45 by the time filming begins. If the fifth Bourne is a success, the studio will probably want him back for a sixth. That’s a long time to be tied to a franchise, and even though it’s not as intimidating as Affleck’s proposed tenure as Batman, it’s still going to interfere with a lot of the projects he has lined up. In the end, the Bourne franchise needs Damon much more than he need to step back into Jason Bourne’s shoes. He’s still one of the biggest stars in the world, still carrying major films to success and he’s still the most well-liked man in Hollywood. As much as we’d love to see more of Jason Bourne, Damon will be just fine if he stays away. At this point, that’s probably his best move. After all, if things ever do go downhill for him, he can just reboot it as an older-man action franchise, like Liam Neeson and Bruce Willis. They seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • All the Reasons 'The Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story' Is Going to Make a Great Movie
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 20, 2014
    NBC Between their grown-up adaptations of Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind and their upcoming biopic slate, which includes films about Whitney Houston and Aaliyah, Lifetime is re-establishing itself as the go-to channel for tactless entertainment. Sure, it’s not high art, but it is fun to watch with a few drinks and a carton of ice cream, and what else do you really need after a long week? Still, one of their upcoming films has the potential to take that absurdity and turn it into must-see TV: The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story. Based on multiple independently-conducted interviews – and not, thankfully, Dustin Diamond’s 2009 memoir – the film will chronicle all of Bayside’s dirtiest secrets, and promises to change the way you look at the classic teen comedy, if you’re one of the few who made it through Diamond’s press tour without being traumatized. Thus far, all that’s been revealed is the cast, who you can check out on BuzzFeed, but the network is keeping the lid on what kind of shocking secrets will make it into the film. Going by the rumors, speculation and secondhand gossip that have circulated over the years, though, we’d say the film has plenty of shocking revelations up its sleeve; the Saved by the Bell story has it all.  Sex If you believe even a fraction of what Diamond wrote in his memoir, everyone was hooking up with one another behind the scenes at Bayside. And we do mean everybody: all three girls are rumored to have slept with Mario Lopez and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffany-Amber Theissen slept with a few of the show’s memorable guest stars, and Diamond was apparently picking up girls left and right at Disneyland. What else would you expect to happen with a bunch of teenagers stuck together for hours on end? Drugs Despite the gang’s memorable refusal of drug use on the show, Diamond maintains that everyone was actually getting high off-camera. Apparently, Theissen's dressing room was the place to hang out if you were interested in lighting up. The actor formerly known as Screech also alleged that Gosselaar was using steroids during his time on the show, which the latter had since denied. Whether it’s true or not, you can bet it’ll show up in the movie. Scandal Between the rumors of NBC paying hush money to a girl who accused Lopez of sexually assaulting her, Diamond’s revelation that he had a relationship with Linda Mancuso, the network’s Head of Children’s Programming, and the speculation that executives and producers were abusing their power over the stars of the show, there are more potential twists and turns in this story than all of V.C. Andrews’ novels put together. Falls From Grace After spending five years as straight-laced Jessie Spano, Elizabeth Berkley decided to branch out with a role in the NC-17 cult classic Showgirls, a move that sent her career into a tailspin for years afterwards, even if it did give the world a new way to pronounce “Versace.” Thanks to his father’s mishandling of his Saved by the Bell earnings, Diamond went broke as an adult. Although, if he hadn’t needed the money, he might never have written his wonderfully terrible memoir, and there would so much less juicy Saved by the Bell gossip in the world… In-Fighting With this many teenagers in one place, there must have been plenty of drama. Though there haven’t been too many fights or feuds at Bayside, Diamond does maintain that he was picked on and left out of things by the rest of the cast. Maybe they were just trying to help him get into character? Sweet '80s Fashions Saved by the Bell was on during the finest period in American fashion: the late '80s and early '90s. Since everything is more ridiculous in hindsight, expect plenty of acid-washed denim, teased hair, garish print and color combinations, crop tops and bows – and that was just Kelly’s wardrobe. We don’t even know how they’re going to tackle every ridiculous thing that Slater wore. The Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story premieres on September 1 at 9pm on Lifetime. We're so excited, we're so scared!  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • Can Ken Jeong Carry a Movie on His Own?
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 19, 2014
    Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection He’s been an eccentric gangster, a perpetually annoyed doctor, and a Spanish teacher-turned-student-desperate-for-friends-turned-power-hungry-cop-turned-enraged-dictator-turned… whatever Chang is these days, but Ken Jeong is about to tackle a brand new role: leading man. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the comic actor is attached to front International Incident, a film about five United Nations delegates who embark on a road trip in order to rediscover a lost love. Jeong is the first cast member to sign onto the project, which was penned by Daily Show writer David Javerbaum and will be produced through former Daily Show correspondent Steve Carell. Though he’s had major parts in both Community and The Hangover  trilogy, Jeong is still primarily known for being a supporting player. His characters tend to be over-the-top, unpredictable, and unstable, all of which are great in small doses, but exhausting in large quantities. The closest he has ever come to playing a straight man was his debut role in Knocked Up, in which he portrayed a rude, dismissive, and incredibly frustrated doctor who frequently insulted his patients. However, every comedy needs a straight man, and the lead usually fulfills that role. We’ve never seen Jeong play a straightforward role; even when his characters start out normal, their quirks and eccentricities become more and more pronounced until they become caricatures of their former selves. With five lead characters, there are going to be plenty of outlandish personalities present in International Incident, which means Jeong would need to dial back the insanity in order to give the film a central focal point, or else the result is a bunch of weirdoes screaming at each other for two hours. It’s a role that requires restraint, which is a quality that Jeong has never really shown before. Any time that Jeong’s characters have become the focal point of an episode or film, things tend to go off the rails, both in terms of plot and tone. The more screen time Chang got on Community, the more the episodes fell apart around him, and the more unhinged and ridiculous his character got, to the point where he staged a coup to take over Greendale – and that wasn’t even his most insane plot. The more time The Hangover  films spent on Chow, the more they became about outrageous stunts and shocking reveals, which lost the undercurrent of friendship that was more important to the first film. That doesn’t bode well for International Incident, which will need someone to anchor the comedy in some kind of reality. If Jeong can manage to keep a lid on his trademark craziness, there’s a chance that he could be a likeable, funny and compelling leading man. But since we’ve yet to see him dial his performance back enough to let the jokes and the character shine, instead of the screaming, nudity and deranged facial expressions that have come to characterize his work, we’re a little skeptical about whether he’s ready to carry a whole film on his shoulders. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • All of the Questions We Have About Chelsea Handler's Netflix Talk Show
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 19, 2014
    E! Just when the late night shakeup was finally starting to settle down, Chelsea Handler throws everyone for a loop. Since she announced plans to leave her E! talk show Chelsea Lately a few months ago, rumors and speculation regarding her next move have mounted. On Thursday, the comedian revealed that instead of moving to a different network or show format, she had instead inked a deal with Netflix (via Hollywood Reporter). The deal includes a stand up special, which will be released on October 16, a documentary comedy miniseries that will chart her attempts to learn more about a variety of topics, and the streaming platform’s first ever late night talk show. That’s right: Handler and Netflix are planning to take the television format with the shortest possible shelf life – a talk show really only exists on a day-to-day basis – and present it on a platform designed to allow people to watch both old and new content whenever they please. Since neither Handler nor the network have revealed exactly what their plans are for a talk show on a site designed for binge watching, we can only assume that they have just as many questions and concerns about the project as we do. And we have a lot of questions… -How is Netflix planning to release the talk show? Are we talking a nightly or weekly basis, or just full seasons all at once, like they do with their other original programming? If it is full seasons, how will they manage to keep things topical and up-to-date? -If the show isn’t tackling topical issues, is it still a real late night show? -Can they even call it a late night show if most people won’t be watching it late at night, but instead at whatever time of day they please? -How is Netflix, which mostly traffics in heavily serialized shows, going to get people to watch a show that is often digested in individual segments and viral clips? -If they do decide to release it on a daily or weekly basis, does that undermine the entire Netflix model? -If they release things daily, will the episodes go up at night, when a late night show would usually air, or in the morning, when people are likely to be catching up on everythign they missed the night before? -Would they be released at the same time everywhere, regardless of time zones, or would Netflix roll them out at different times for different zones, the way that late night shows on television would air? -If Netflix releases episodes on a weekly basis, would they be doing one episode a week, or a week’s worth of episodes at one time? If the latter, how will they be able to keep things fresh and topical? -No matter how the network rolls it out, how important will current events and pop culture news be to a show that doesn’t air on a timely basis? -We're all in agreement that booking the guests is going to be the easiest part of this show, right?  -Will Handler still be able to rely on segments and bits from her show going viral in order to help gain the show attention, since the whole thing will be easily viewable on the Internet anyway? -Is Handler going to be competing with the other late night hosts in terms of topics, ratings and content? Or is she just in a league of her own right now? -Will she have to completely overhaul the format of her show for a new medium? -Will she continue to ignore the questions that people give her for the people she’s interviewing? -Will she finally be allowed to come up with a new way of interacting with and interviewing her guests, since she clearly hates the traditional routine? -Is the show going to be filmed in front of an audience, or will it only be Handler in the studio? Is it still a late night show without an audience present? -Is Chuy moving with her?  -Does moving to Netflix show that we don’t need any more late night talk shows, since both network and cable channels are filled to the brim with them? -If Handler is going to Netflix, who’s taking Craig Ferguson’s spot?   Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • 8 Classic Hanna-Barbera Cartoons That Deserve Movies Before 'Scooby Doo'
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 18, 2014
    CBS Proving that there’s nothing Hollywood won’t reboot if given then chance, a new Scooby Doo movie is reportedly in the works at Warner Bros. According to Variety, the studio is looking to send Scooby, Shaggy, and the gang on another spooky adventure, which will be written by Randall Green. The news comes just a year after Warner Bros. also announced plans for an animated Scooby Doo movie, which is reportedly still on track. Though the last live-action Mystery Gang outings, 2002’s Scooby Doo and its sequel Monsters Unleashed, did well commercially, they weren’t received well by critics and fans of the series, which is why it’s surprising that Warner Bros. would be so intent at taking a third shot at big-screen adventure. After all, the live-action Scooby Doo’s were only slightly better than Yogi Bear. There are plenty of other great classic Hanna-Barbera properties that would make for great films, so why does Scooby get a third shot at big screen success? Think about all of the possibilities that are open… Wacky Races Concept: Think The Lego Movie meets Speed Racer, with a touch of Mega Mind thrown in. Plot: Set at the Wacky Races Grand Prix, a sprawling, dangerous race that spans three days and covers a variety of terrains, the film charts the highs and lows of all your favorite racers, from Penelope Pitstop to the Ant Hill Mob to the Gruesome Twosome, and sees Dick Dastardly’s desperate attempts to finally experience the glory for himself. Starring: Charlie Day as Dick Dastardly, Isla Fisher as Penelope Pitstop, Bill Hader as Clyde the leader of the Ant Hill Mob, Amy Poheler as the Red Max, and Tom Hanks as the Narrator. Directed By: Edgar Wright. Inch High, Private Eye Concept: The Maltese Falcon meets Osmosis Jones.Plot: The city is being terrorized by a robber who keeps stealing priceless works of art and jewels from museums and homes. The police are understaffed, and the detectives are at their wits’ ends, and the case has reached a dead end. Then, Mrs. Gotrocks hires Inch High, Private Eye, the most brilliant and tortured detective around to look into the case. But she might not like what he finds… Casting:  Casey Affleck as Inch High, Kate Mara as Lori, Josh Brolin as Gator, Tommy Lee Jones as Mr. Finkerton and June Squibb as Mrs. Gotrocks. Directed By: The Coen Brothers. ABC Hong Kong Phooey Concept: Think 22 Jump Street, but sillier.   Plot: Penry Pooch has always wanted to be a cop, but his enthusiasm for the job doesn’t quite balance out his complete incompetence. After failing out of the police academy, he takes a job working as a janitor under the watchful eye of the constantly frustrated Sergeant. One night, when he’s the only one at the precinct, he stops and apprehends a robber, which inspires him to take up crime fighting as Hong Kong Phooey. Luckily, he’s got Spot to help him out of whatever jams he finds himself in. Casting: Will Arnett as Penry, Keith David as Sarge, Anna Kendrick as Rosemary, the telephone operator, and Nick Frost as Spot. Directed By: Shane Black. The Jetsons Concept: August: Osage County in space. Plot: George Jetson is an ordinary man, living an ordinary life. He loves his family, endures his job and spends his time relaxing with his dog, Astro. But when he catches his wife having an affair with his boss, his world comes crashing down around him, and he’s forced to re-evaluate everything he knew about his life, and decide whether to move forward or move on. Starring: Joaquin Phoenix as George, Sandra Bullock as Jane, Hailee Steinfeld as Judy, and Steve Buscemi as Mr. Spacely, with Art Parksinson as Elroy and Scarlett Johansson as Rosie. Directed By: Spike Jonze. ABC JabberJaw Concept: Almost Famous meets Jaws, with a dash of Star Trek .Plot: The Neptunes were on their way to becoming the hottest rock band under the seas, until their drummer abruptly left. Then, they discovered Jabberjaw, a 15-foot-tall shark with the skills of Keith Moon, and it seemed like they had it made. But the path to rock stardom is paved with dangers and it’s time for the Neptunes to face them. Starring: Chris Pratt as Jabberjaw, Adam Levine as Clamhead, Malin Ackerman as Bubbles, Zoe Kravitz as Shelly, and Oscar Isaac as Biff. Directed By: John Carney. Quick Draw McGraw Concept: A better homage to Blazing Saddles than A Million Ways to Die in the West .Plot: The Wild West is a dangerous place, thanks to outlaws, frequent dueling and a lack of modern medicine, but one man is there to keep order in place, and uphold justice where ever he goes… Sherrif Quick Draw McGraw. Unfortunately, he might have finally met his match when the deadliest outlaw in the west rides into his town. Starring: Damon Wayans Jr. as Quick Draw McGraw and Fred Armisen as Baba Looey.Directed By: Mel Brooks, in an ideal world. CBS Space Ghost Concept: It’s basically Guardians of the Galaxy, but with a monkey instead of a raccoon. Plot: After Zorak, Space Ghosts’ nemesis, escapes from prison, he recruits Black Widow (no, not that Black Widow) and Brak and Sisto in order to form a league of villains that will take over the galaxy and allow chaos to reign, but in order to do so, they need a gauntlet of power, one that only Space Ghost’s sidekick Jace possesses. Can Space Ghost and Jan rescue him and save the universe before it’s too late? Starring: Channing Tatum as Space Ghost, Emma Stone as Jan, Miles Teller as Jace, Idris Elba as Zorak, Dwayne Johnson as Brak, Jason Statham as Sisto, and Nicole Beharie as Black Widow (see, told you she was different!).Directed By: Joss Whedon, of course. Top Cat Concept: Dancing on the Edge meets GoodFellas.Plot: Set in the 1940s, a group of rag-tag musicians are groomed to become a proper jazz sensation. But in order to do so, they’ll have to overcome prejudice, corrupt managers, in-fighting, and substance abuse and stick by each other through everything. Starring: Anthony Mackie as TC, Lamorne Morris as Brain, Albert Tsai as Choo-Choo, Michael B. Jordan as Fancy-Fancy, Josh Gad as Benny the Ball, Ruth Negga as Trixie, and Sean Penn as Officer Dibble.Directed By: Martin Scorsese. You're welcome, Hollywood.  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • Is There Any Hope For 'Jersey Boys,' 'Annie' and 'Into the Woods?'
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 18, 2014
    Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection Clint Eastwood, famous for gritty westerns, intimidating squints and asking punks if they’re feeling lucky, wouldn’t be the first person you’d think of to direct a glitzy movie musical. He’s about as far removed from the world of production numbers and intricate choreography as you could possibly get, so it’s something of a surprise that he’s the director bringing the hit musical Jersey Boys to the big screen. Though the film is based on the lives and careers of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the film’s real star power is behind the camera, which should help it stand out in an unusually crowded field of movie musicals.  Though it's been a few years since we've seen a full-blown spectacular on screen, 2014 has three iconic musicals receiving the Hollywood treatment. After Jersey Boys has gotten moviegoers warmed up, December will bring a new, modern take on Annie as well as the star-studded film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's iconic Into the Woods. But which of these upcoming musicals are the real show-stoppers, and which are you better off skipping? We've run down the year in movie musicals, along with their potential for greatness, both critically and commercially.    //   Jersey Boys Opens: June 20 What It’s About: The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and their journey from being four guys harmonizing under a streetlight to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world, including the gambling debts, mob threats and personal crises that almost stood in their way. Star Power: Director Clint Eastwood and Christopher Walken in a supporting role. The main cast is made up of primarily unknowns, although John Lloyd Young won a Tony Award for playing Frankie back in 2006. How Good It Looks: Thus far, it’s gotten mixed reviews, with many critics taking issue with its by-the-book approach to an interesting, conflict-filled story. That weird, grey filter that Eastwood uses can’t be helping matters, either. Box Office Potential: The film hasn’t gotten a lot of promotion ahead of its release, but the Four Seasons are a recognizable enough name that Jersey Boys should be able to pull in a decent amount of money. The show’s still going strong on Broadway 8 years later, after all. Awards Potential: It’s being released too far from awards season, and the early reviews aren’t strong enough to make Jersey Boys a real contender, but we’d be surprised if Eastwood or Young’s name didn’t come up in conversation once or twice - but only once or twice. Number Worth Waiting For: “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” of course.   //   Annie Opens: December 19 What It’s About: Business tycoon Benjamin Stacks takes in Annie, a foster child who has been living in the evil Miss Hannigan’s orphanage since she was born, in order to help his Mayoral campaign. Star Power: A pretty star-studded cast, including Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne, and of course, Quvenzhane Wallis. How Good It Looks: Every production of Annie lives and dies by its hero and its villain, and while Wallis seems to be a charming and entertaining Annie, Diaz’s Miss Hannigan seems downright terrible. This is definitely a film that can go either way. Box Office Potential: A beloved, classic, family-friendly musical with a Christmas release date and a big-name cast? It’s probably going to rake in the cash. Awards Potential: Very little. Unless it’s animated, the Academy doesn’t really pay attention to child-friendly films, and anyway, this Annie is more about spectacle than substance. Number Worth Waiting For: “Hard Knock Life.” We’d say “Easy Street,” which everyone knows if the best number in the show, but it’s probably best to wait and see some more of Diaz’s Miss Hannigan before we get too excited for it. Into the Woods Opens: Christmas What It’s About: Set in a fairy-tale forest, a witch attempts to teach various characters important lessons about  life and love. Star Power: Off the charts: Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt and Christine Baranski, to name just a few. How Good It Looks: Not much has been released about the film yet, so it’s hard to tell, although Streep does look fantastic as the Witch. Box Office Potential: If the A-List cast or theater pedigree doesn’t bring in a big audience, the massive marketing push that Disney will inevitably roll out should do the trick. Expect this one to do very well with moviegoers. Awards Potential: Of the three films on this list, Into the Woods has the best shot at any awards recognition, even if it’s just because Streep gets nominated every time she leaves the house. We’d be surprised if Sondheim’s new music doesn’t become a major contender in the Best Original Song race, and depending on how well the film is received, Kendrick, Blunt and director Rob Marshall – all former nominees – could have a decent shot at a nomination as well. Number Worth Waiting For: “No One is Alone,” which is not only the most well-known song from the show, but will also be sung by Kendrick, everyone’s dream best friend. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • Jared Leto Has Completely Changed Our Perception of 'Brilliance'
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 17, 2014
    WENN/WENN Imagine a typical Jared Leto film: serious and independent, helmed by a critically-acclaimed director and requiring Leto to undergo some kind of drastic transformation. Now, imagine a standard Will Smith movie: action-packed and exciting, stocked with an equal amount of laughs and explosions, and featuring Smith as the wisecracking hero. Until this point, their filmographies had very little, if any, common ground, but that might be about to change. Deadline reports that Leto is in talks to replace Smith as the lead in the upcoming sci-fi thriller Brilliance, based on the book by Marcus Sakey. With the exception of their shared ability to stave off aging, and each actor's claim to a lead role in a great ‘90s series, Smith and Leto are polar opposites, which is why it’s a surprise to see him possibly step into the shoes that Smith has so recently vacated. However, it’s even stranger that Leto’s rumored involvement in Brilliance actually has us excited for the film, whereas a Smith-led version only left us lukewarm at best. Our perception of Brilliance has completely shifted based on this small piece of casting news. Most of that has to do with the kind of films that Leto and Smith tend to choose. The former is notoriously picky about his projects, often waiting years between each film, and his selectivity has paid off in terms of the overall quality of his movies. Smith, however, is in the middle of a downturn, with many of his recent films coming off as unoriginal, formulaic blockbusters. Until now, there was no reason to believe that Brilliance, which centers on a group of people born with extraordinary gifts and the FBI agent who must use his to track down an equally brilliant terrorist, would be anything other than another schlocky Smith vehicle, all flash and no substance. But Leto wouldn’t pick just any old thriller; if he’s looking at Brilliance, that must mean there’s some hidden originality or depth to the film that isn’t evident based on the summary. Our change in perspective is helped along by the fact that the premise of Brilliance is general enough that it could go either way. With Smith on board, it seemed like another action film attempting to make a deeper point along the way, but with Leto, it has the possibility to go darker, deeper, and smarter. Leto’s coming off of an Oscar win, after all, and he wouldn’t pick just any generic action film as hid follow-up. He’d want something with some substance and grit, something that would live up to his award-winning performance. And while Smith’s films are generally fun and entertaining, they’re not quite on the same level as Dallas Buyers Club. That doesn’t mean that the depth and substance we’re now seeing in Brilliance wouldn’t have been there with Smith in the lead, but adding Leto’s name to the cast holds a different kind of weight than Smith’s does. It’s usually easy to predict whether one of Leto’s films will be good based on only the description, but Smith’s career has been so hit-or-miss lately that it’s generally better to hold off on making a judgment until the first trailer is released. Audiences have a different set of connotations and expectations for each actor, and those affect the way that we see the same project. Of course, there’s still a chance that the movie will turn out terrible, even with Leto on board, and Smith’s new project about NFL-related concussions will be the better of the two, but either way, it seems like Legendary has finally found a way to get people talking about Brilliance. Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • It's Too Soon To Make a Bowe Bergdahl Movie
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 17, 2014
    Getty Images/U.S. Army It’s not shocking that the media frenzy surrounding Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Army Soldier who was controversially traded for five Guantanamo Bay prisoners after spending five years as a prisoner of the Taliban, release is still going strong. But it is somewhat of a surprise that just three weeks after he was freed, two separate films have already been launched about his story, one by Zero Dark Thirty helmer Kathryn Bigelow and the other by relative newcomer Todd Field. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the former will center her film on the events leading up to his extraction from the Taliban, while the latter has optioned the Rolling Stone article, “America’s Last Prisoner of War,” as the inspiration for the project.  But while the conversation regarding these projects seems to be centered on whether Bigelow or Field will finish their film first (or whose final product will be better, or who will finally option the rights to Berdgdahl’s life), one fact is continually overlooked. Namely, that it is way too soon for Hollywood to make a movie about Bergdahl and his release. There’s no denying that his story has all of the makings of a great film, and both Bigelow and Field will likely do an excellent job with the material, but now is not the time for that film to be made. Though there are countless articles, opinion pieces, comments and exposes available about Bergdahl’s time in the Army and his rescue from the Taliban, very little of those contain any actual facts about the case, because there simply aren’t very many available. Most of the Army’s investigations and findings are classified, and they haven’t released much to the media other than general statements. Almost everything that is known about Bergdahl’s case is conjecture, which means that there is very little objective truth for Bigelow and Field to base their films on. Basing a film primarily on conjecture and evidence that has been pieced together by the media will result in a movie that is heavily biased, no matter which way it leans. Admittedly, all films are biased in some way, but Bergdahl is such a controversial figure that whatever the films’ biases are, they will be used by the media to support or refute any points they want to make, which will color the public’s consciousness towards the situation, and make it more difficult for the truth to come out. And since the government and the Army are still looking into the circumstances that surrounded Bergdahl’s release, those perceptions could impact the outcome of those investigations. Whatever impact these projects have on the public consciousness could help sway the decision in Bergdahl’s case, rather than allowing the objective facts to decide. In addition to the public implications that Bigelow and Field’s films could have, making them now is just insensitive. Bergdahl hasn’t even been out of captivity for a month, and already Hollywood is attempting to capitalize on his story. He has yet to return to his home and his family – he hasn’t even returned to the United States at all yet – and already directors are circling to try and profit off of him. No matter your personal feelings on Bergdahl or his actions, the fact remains that he should be allowed to recover from a traumatic experience before people attempt to turn those experiences into other people’s entertainment. At the very least, consider his family and loved ones, who deserve the right to spend some time with Begdahl and celebrate his return home before they have to work through their feelings about the films. We’re not saying that a film should never be made about Bergdahl; we’re just saying that it doesn’t need to be made now. Hollywood should wait until we, as a nation, have some perspective about the situation, or at least until the 24-hour news cycle has found something else to focus on. Wait until the ongoing investigation has concluded, wait until we have some answers to support the media’s endless theories, or even just wait until Bergdahl arrives back on American soil. It doesn’t matter when the film finally does get made, as long as it's not right now.  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • Why Is the UK 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Trailer So Serious?
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 17, 2014
      // Thus far, all of the marketing for Guardians of the Galaxy has played up its goofy insanity, with trailers that focus on Rocket’s bloodlust and Peter Quill’s lack of badass reputation, and big action moments timed to the beat of cheesy classic rock songs. All in all, the trailers give off one clear message: these aren’t your typical superheroes.  That’s not to say that the Guardians of the Galaxy can’t be serious, but rather that it’s hard to evoke a gritty, dramatic atmosphere when your team of heroes includes Andy Dwyer, a gun-toting, chain-smoking raccoon, and a tree creature with a limited vocabulary. These are true losers, people who would just as soon save the planet as they would accidentally blow it up. This is a group of funny, strange, deadly misfits, and this film is going to be a hell of a good time. Which is why it’s so surprising that the new UK trailer has taken such a different approach to the Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead of introducing this band of weirdoes one by one and playing up the things that make them so strange, the new trailer focuses squarely on the plot of the film, the origins of Star Lord, and everything that’s at stake for this group of former outlaws. Sure, there are jokes, but they take a back seat to action, explosions, and dramatic speeches. And there isn’t a single note of Blue Swede to be found. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still a great trailer, and it still has us counting down the days until August 9. But it’s so far from the tone of the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy promos – and, we assume, from the tone of the film itself – that we’re confused as to why Marvel would choose such a drastically different route for its international marketing. The lack of music can be explained by copyright and licensing fees, but where has all of the humor and insanity gone? Marvel Studios Is Marvel concerned that the jokes in Guardians of the Galaxy won’t translate to an international audience? Do they think that the rest of the world will be more enticed by the standard action/adventure superhero fare? This trailer certainly offers a more traditional blockbuster than the earlier Guardians clips did, so perhaps Marvel is looking to play on audiences’ familiarity with the genre, rather than win them over with everything that makes these guys different. The studio could simply be trying to use its connection to Thor, Captain America and The Avengers  to bring in moviegoers, as this trailer has a lot more in common with Marvel’s established cinematic universe than the other ones suggest. Or, perhaps they’re just concerned that the rest of the world doesn’t recognize Chris Pratt as the comedic gift that we in the U.S. hail him to be. Whatever the reason for Marvel’s abrupt shift in tone, one thing still remains, and it is of such vital importance to the film as a whole that even the lack of banter, obscene hand gestures and classic rock can’t take it away. Above all else, the Guardians of the Galaxy are going to save the universe, and they’re going to show you a damn good time while doing so.  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //
  • What to Watch in 2014 Now That 'Game of Thrones' Is Over
    By: Julia Emmanuele Jun 16, 2014
    HBO After weeks of watching, re-watching, live-tweeting, recapping, analyzing, and debating, the fourth season of Game of Thrones has finally come to an end, leaving a void in both our hearts and our Twitter feeds. Once the fanfare and discussions about the shocking deaths and the major changes from the books finally die down, we will be faced with an unbearable winter without Westeros. How will we carry on without Dany and her dragons? How can we stay calm when we don’t know what’s happening with Tyrion? How will we survive the long months before we get new episodes? Well, by watching TV of course. Game of Thrones may have ended, but there are plenty more shows with all of the fantasy, politics, blood and nudity that we have come to rely on David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for, and we don’t even have to wait until next year to enjoy them. We've run down all of the shows airing in 2014 that will help fill the Westeros-sized hole in your heart, and how long you have to wait to get your fix. And if that doesn't work, there's still several thousand pages of George R.R. Martin's writing available for you to read. That should help pass the time.  True Blood How Long We Have To Wait: One week until June 22. What It’s About: The seventh and final season of the Southern vampire drama picks up with most of the characters dead or seemingly dead, an outbreak of Hep-V terrorizing the vampire population and everyone gaining and losing characters quicker than alliances shift on Game of Thrones. How It Will Fill the Void: True Blood and Game of Thrones have two key elements in common: blood and nudity. Expect plenty of both in the upcoming season.Airs: Sundays at 9 PM on HBO. Tyrant How Long We Have To Wait: A week until June 24.What It’s About: The second son of a dictator leader of a foreign country returns from a self-imposed exile in Los Angeles, and must deal with the conflicts that arise between the culture of his homeland and the US and his oppressive father. How It Will Fill the Void: If you’re looking for political intrigue, culture clashes, a struggle for power and a father/son dynamic reminiscent of Tywin and Tyrion Lannister, this is the show for you.Airs: Tuesdays at 10 PM on FX. The Leftovers How Long We Have to Wait: Two weeks until June 29.What It’s About: Set two years after 2 percent of the population disappears in the rapture, the series follows the rest of the world as they struggle to understand what happened to their loved ones, and attempt to move forward with their lives. How It Will Fill the Void: Like the White Walkers, the Children, and everything Melisandre is doing with the Lord of the Light, The Leftovers centers on a strange, unexplained supernatural phenomenon, and explores the personal drama that results.Airs: Sundays at 10 PM on HBO. The Strain How Long We Have to Wait: Four weeks until July 13.What It’s About: Created by Guillermo del Toro, The Strain is about a viral strain that turns people into horrifying, bloodsucking monsters that are terrorizing the population. It’s also based on a trilogy of books by Chuck Hogan, in case you’re all caught up on A Song of Ice and Fire. How It Will Fill the Void: It’s got horror, terror, suspense, excitement, supernatural elements and – we’re assuming – plenty of gore. Plus, it has Walder Frey himself, David Bradley, presumably on a mission to traumatize as many viewers as humanly possible.Airs: Sundays at 10 PM on FX. Showtime Masters of Sex  How Long We Have to Wait: Four weeks until July 13.What It’s About: The pioneering work on human sexuality done by William Masters and Virginia Johnson in the 1950s. The second season will see Masters and Johnson grow closer, and the challenges it presents their personal and professional relationships. How It Will Fill the Void: All of the nudity and explicit sexual situations, but presented in a way that not only serves a narrative purpose and raises important questions about society and the human body, but also isn’t degrading towards women. What a novel concept!Airs: Sundays at 10 PM on Showtime. Outlander How Long We Have to Wait: Two months until August 9.What It’s About: Based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, the series follows Claire, a World War II nurse who is mysteriously sent back in time to the 1700s. There she is forced to marry Jaime Fraiser, a romantic and chivalrous Scottish soldier, and she is torn between two very different lives. How It Will Fill the Void: It’s a sweeping period epic that incorporates sci-fi, adventure, war, and romance that should help you move on from the tragic ending of Jon and Ygritte’s relationship.Airs: Saturdays at 9 PM on Starz. Sleepy Hollow How Long We Have to Wait: Four months until September 22.What It’s About: The surprise hit of last year centers on Ichabod Crane, who is sent forward in time to 2014, where he solves supernatural crimes with Det. Abbie Mills, and the two of them attempt to stop the apocalypse. How It Will Fill the Void: Witty banter, well-matched partners, a supernatural threat, colorful characters, a spooky witch you should probably be wary of and some truly gruesome crimes – throw in a giant and it’s practically Game of Thrones’ fourth season.Airs: Mondays at 9 PM on Fox. Gotham How Long We Have to Wait: Indeterminate, although it’s likely to premiere in September or October.What It’s About: Before Bruce Wayne grew up to be Batman, it was Det. Jim Gordon who cleaned up the crime and corruption on the streets of Gotham, even if that meant taking on some super villains of his own.   How It Will Fill the Void: Like Ned Stark in King’s Landing, Jim Gordon is a noble man trying to bring justice to the murder, manipulation and scheming that runs amok in the city. Let’s hope he fares a bit better.Airs: Mondays at 8 PM on Fox. Better Call Saul How Long We Have to Wait: Six months until November. What It’s About: A spinoff of Breaking Bad that focuses on Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman, a lawyer who will do anything to keep his operations running smoothly. How It Will Fill the Void: You’ll probably become addicted to it, just as you were to Breaking Bad, which will help pass the time until Game of Thrones returns. Airs: On AMC, although a night and time hasn’t been revealed yet.  Follow @hollywood_com // Follow @julesemm //