Saturday, September 22, 2018
Movie News
Movie News

Courtesy of TIFF
‘The Predator’
The Predator is back on the big screen, and the reviews are in for Shane Black’s take on the iconic alien hunter. The critical consensus seems to be that the film is fun, funny and flawed — but mostly fun.

Having appeared as an actor in the original film, Black takes the director’s chair and co-wrote the screenplay for the fourth instalment of the Predator franchise. The Predator stars Trevante Rhodes, Sterling K. Brown, Boyd Holbrook, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn and Keegan-Michael Key.

In Black’s film, the alien hunters return to Earth after a boy in the suburbs triggers their return. Serving as the human race’s only line of defense are a group of former soldiers and a science teacher.

Jordan Mintzer  found the film to be “bigger, meaner, gorier, funnier,” and said the film was enthusiastically embraced by the Midnight Madness audience at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Mintzer praised Black’s comic approach to directing the film that “strays rather far from the original film.” “It’s a totally gonzo method that mostly pays off because of all the snappy dialogue, gross-out gags and tongue-in-cheek camaraderie of the cast, with Boyd Holbrook proving to be a capable lead and Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane and Olivia Munn providing worthy, and often funny, accomplices,” Mintzer writes.

Mintzer wrote that the film was vastly different from previous films in the Predator franchise in terms of tone. “While the other Predator films tried to remain dark and tense, tossing in a decent one-liner here or there, Black’s movie is so cleverly over-the-top that it’s easy and pleasurable enough to watch, though never exactly scary or suspenseful.”

Jim Vejvoda, writing for IGN, wrote that The Predator’s “bawdy sense of humor, disorderly cast of characters, and hardcore kills and action” goes a long way to reinvigorate the franchise. Vejvoda writes that the film brings a “humanity that’s been lacking in the series for some time, and the solid ensemble cast Black has assembled bring his (and co-writer Fred Dekker’s) battered creations and sharp dialogue to life with verve and conviction”

But, in what seems to be a recurring theme amongst critics, Vejvoda feels the film comes unglued in the third act. “The last half-hour is not only choppily executed at a breakneck pace, it just looks bad to boot. The visual effects take a noticeable dip in quality during an aerial battle and the climactic showdown is too easily resolved given all the buildup,” he writes.

Slash Film’s Chris Evangelista wasn’t entirely sold on The Predator, giving it a score of 6.5/10, and comparing the film’s reliance on humor to Thor: Ragnarok, feeling the film was fun while watching but flawed overall. “While there have been a handful of amusing moments in the Predator franchise as a whole, no single film goes for as many wall-to-wall jokes as Shane Black’s The Predator,” he writes. “Anyone worrying that Black wouldn’t bring his trademark quips and witticisms to the script (the trailers have been considerably light on this element) need worry no more: The Predator is loaded with jokes. In fact, there might be too many jokes.”

Evangelista isn’t entirely sure whether the cavalcade of gags will put off purists arguing that “some may long for the franchise to return to its serious roots.” He concludes by noting that “after you exit the theater into the real world, the flaws of The Predator become more and more apparent. The plot doesn’t make sense. A lot of the jokes fall flat. There’s a pointless sequel set-up. But while you’re watching the movie, it’s hard not to get caught up in all the fun. Black and company are having a blast here, and it’s infectious.”

Digital Spy‘s Hugh Armitage found that “Black’s smart script and a charismatic cast” make The Predator the best film in the series since the first movie. “Black is known for his witty dialogue and doesn’t disappoint, building the relationships between a large cast and making it look easy.”

Armitage concludes that the film is fun if you don’t take it too seriously. “The Predator is a flawed actioner, but a strong cast and some Shane Black magic give it a sparkle that has been lacking from recent attempts to revive the killer aliens. It’s not Black at his best, but it’s a fun diversion as long as you don’t think about it too hard.”

The Predator hits theaters on Sept. 14.

How does Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut fare? Reviewers give their take.

The reviews for A Star is Born have arrived.

The musical film stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga as alcoholic rocker Jackson and struggling singer-songwriter Ally, while Cooper is simultaneously making his feature film directorial debut.

Penned by Cooper, Eric Roth and Will Fetters, the remake centers on the showbiz love story, based on the original film from 1937, about a rocker (Cooper) whose career is in decline while the career of a female star (Gaga) he discovers catapults into stardom. The film was unveiled at the Venice Film Festival before traveling to Toronto.

With all eyes on Cooper’s directorial debut and Gaga’s venture into leading roles, according to David Rooney’s review, there’s “a lot to love” about the film. Praising Cooper’s “natural charisma,” Rooney writes that the actor gives a “convincing portrayal” of the alcoholic country rocker, so much so that it softens “the self-deconstructive edges” of his character.

The review also notes that Gaga “completely shed her pop persona” and instead embodies a “toughness and vulnerability” that her singer-songwriter character Ally needs. It is this vulnerability that Rooney writes “spares” the film from “falling into the vanity-project trap of the last remake” with Barbra Streisand.

Though the closing scene proves that Gaga’s “skill as an actor” doesn’t equal the same standards as her “impeccable voice,” Rooney writes that it is Cooper’s “fresh take” on the film that “finds plenty of mileage left in the well-trod showbiz saga.” Though Cooper’s “grasp of pacing” could be further improved, the film is a “durable tale of romance, heady fame and crushing tragedy” that is retold for a new generation with “heart and grit.”

Stephanie Zacharek of TIME Magazine also praised Cooper and Gaga’s performances, writing that it is conspicuous that the audience will empathize with the leads who are “flawed individuals who are trying to hold their cracked pieces of self together — or to mend the cracks of those they love.” Zacharaek doesn’t compare Gaga to those who portrayed her part in previous versions — including Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland and Streisand — but rather emulates Liza Minnelli for channeling “fragility” with “pluckiness.” Gaga is also “charismatic” and showcases vulnerability without hiding behind stage makeup, something Zacharek notes is like “discovering a new country.”

Zacharek writes that Cooper simply “fades into the corner at just the right moments” throughout the film, allowing Gaga to take center stage instead. Zacharek also applauds Cooper’s venture into directing, writing that the actor’s version exemplifies that “there’s always a way to freshen up old material.” “Cooper has succeeded in making a terrific melodrama for the modern age,” Zacharek adds.

Meanwhile, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian writes that Cooper also embodies his own “huge moments of emotional agony” where he “de-machos the role” throughout the “outrageously watchable” film. Though Bradshaw writes that Cooper is “arguably prettier than Lady Gaga,” the pop star is the one that “commands” the audience’s attention during the film’s duration.

Bradshaw also argues that the film’s title could be altered to read “A Star Is Dying” for the film “alludes tactlessly to something pretty real.” “For one star to deliver the shock of the new, another one has to receive the shock of the old,” Bradshaw argues. “A Star Is Born turns that transaction into a love story.”

Screen Daily’s Jonathan Romney also seems to be impressed by Cooper and Gaga’s portrayals that emerge with “honour” but questions where the secondary characters stand alongside the main leads who “keep the show respectably afloat.” Critiquing that “characterization is thin all round” Romney notes that veteran comic Andrew Dice Clay takes on a “cookie-cutter role as Ally’s doofus Italian-American dad” and Dave Chappelle gives “more grit that the role demands” as Cooper’s Jack’s friend.

Gaga is once again praised for her performance, as Romney writes that her acting “transcends the clichés” and further proves that “a star has been rebooted.” Though enjoyable for many, Romney writes that the film may not “be for everybody” and that the original music performed by Gaga and Cooper, are “unmemorably generic.” Romney also argues that the film can be “sketchy on the mechanics of fame today” including a lack of social media existence.

“A Star Is Born‘s heartwarming aura is owed less to Cooper’s own directing (assured and judicious a debut as it may be) than to the freshness and credibility brought by his fellow superstar. Believe the pre-premiere hype: Lady Gaga is nothing short of extraordinary,” writes the The Film Stage’s Leonardo Goi. Despite the film being Cooper’s directorial debut, Goi credits Gaga’s “goosebump-inducing performances” for taking center stage of the film’s spectacle.

Consistently praising the pop singer for her acting chops, Goi writes that the film simply “showcases oodles of Gaga’s preternatural musical talent, but also confirms — if there was ever a need to prove it — her magnetic stage presence.” Goi acknowledges that the film “is not innovative” for it does not aim to “offer some radical twists” to depart from the story that’s been “dissected and visited for over 80 years,” but Cooper and Gaga’s “miracle of stage chemistry” creates a “touching portrait” for a Hollywood classic.

Entertainment Weekly‘s Leah Greenblatt also praised the performances in the film, including those of supporting actors Chappelle and Clay, which she calls “great unexpected supporting turns.” She notes, “Their characters read much realer and more textured than the ones designed to move the plot along, like Ally’s smooth, ruthless manager Rez (Rafi Gavron), a textbook music-industry Machiavelli.”

On the technical side, Greenblatt praises Cooper’s choice to hew more closely to “the naturalistic New Cinema style of his ’70s predecessor.” She writes, “His camera works with a kind of feverish intimacy, closing in as Ally’s profile rises and Jackson stumbles back toward the bottle.”

Ultimately, Greenblatt concludes, “If the ending is telegraphed from miles away, and the central romance feels more like a gorgeously patina-ed imitation of life than the real thing, maybe that’s because Star is less a story now than a myth — not so much reborn as recast, and passed on to the care of the next generation.”

Though the film stars both Cooper and Gaga in the leading roles, IndieWire’s Michael Nordine writes that the film is more of a “coming-out party” for the singer whereas “Cooper is a co-lead” and has the onscreen goal of playing “second fiddle.” “It’s his co-star whose magnetism most draws you into their world — and keeps you there even when the film hits the occasional wrong note,” writes Nordine.

Meanwhile, Nordine argues that Cooper is “hobbled by the source material” which consist of alcoholism, recovery and “the perils of overnight stardom” ultimately failing at being “as adept” as his predecessors at tackling the character’s troubles. Despite having their own individual stories, Nordine emphasizes that “the film itself feels like a kind of duet, and suffers when the two aren’t sharing the screen.” “Star is less compelling as it expands its focus beyond their central relationship and toward its overarching ideas, some of which can’t help but feel like the plot contrivances they are.”

Glenn Kenny of RogerEbert.com writes that he viewed the remake as a film that is “very smart about both contemporary showbiz and issues of addiction and abusive behavior.” Cooper, Kenny notes, is an “able” director, whereas Gaga is the epitome of a “breakout performance.” Apart from praising Gaga for offering a “credible update” to Esther Blodgett, Kenny writes that Cooper’s character is given “more of a back story than he’s ever had” in previous versions. Meanwhile Cooper’s directing skills are “at his best” when he positions the camera “close to his performers and captures their intimate interplay.”

Viewing the film as a “Big Movie Studio Craft” that is “well-thought out,” Kenny writes that A Star is Born will please the “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore” crowd.

The film hits theaters Oct. 5.

After initially announcing plans to hike prices and limit users from attending first-run blockbusters, MoviePass offered a silver lining to disgruntled patrons of its silver screen subscription model.

Citing community response, a desire to create a “sustainable business model,” and combatting a small number of users viewing “a disproportionately large number of movies” as the reasons for its decision, MoviePass — which currently allows customers to see one theatrical release per day for a monthly price — confirmed Monday it will not increase its recurring fee to $14.95 per month. A new pricing plan instead will keep the cost at $9.95 per month, though users will only be able to view three films across the subscription frame.

Peak Pricing and Ticket Verification policies are also being suspended.

MoviePass estimates that 85 percent of its current customer base of more than 3 million users will be unaffected by the shift, as its data shows only 15 percent of existing subscribers see more than four movies per month.

Monday’s announcement does not specify limitations on titles, though it does confirm the new plan “will include many major studio first-run film” when changes take effect with renewals on or after Aug. 15. Annual subscribers won’t be affected until their respective renewal dates.

“We are well aware that during our journey to innovate moviegoing — a form of entertainment that over time has become unaffordable and broken — we’ve encountered many challenges. However, any industry-wide disruption like MoviePass requires a tremendous amount of testing, pivoting, and learning,” CEO Mitch Lowe said in a press statement. “We discovered over several months of research that our customers value a low monthly price above nearly everything else, so we came together to create a plan that delivers what most of our loyal MoviePass fans want, and one that, we believe, will also help to stabilize our business model. While most of our loyal subscribers shared the passion for this new accessible movie experience and experimented fairly, the fact is that a small number have used our business model to a point where it was compromising the business’ long-term stability.”

Fall movie preview: Exclusive looks at the films we can’t wait to see

STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga

DIRECTED BY: Bradley Cooper

RELEASE DATE: Oct. 5

STARRING: Jennifer Garner

DIRECTED BY: Pierre Morel

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 7

STARRING: Taissa Farmiga, Demian Bichir, Bonnie Aarons

DIRECTED BY: Corin Hardy

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 7

STARRING: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding

DIRECTED BY: Paul Feig

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 14

STARRING: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Trevante Rhodes, Sterling K. Brown

DIRECTED BY: Shane Black

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 14

STARRING: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache

DIRECTED BY: Panos Cosmatos

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 14

STARRING: Chloë Sevigny, Kristen Stewart

DIRECTED BY: Craig William Macneill

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 14

STARRING: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Richie Merritt

DIRECTED BY: Yann Demange

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 14

STARRING: Ken Watanabe, Julianne Moore, Christopher Lambert, Ryo Kase

DIRECTED BY: Paul Weitz

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 14

STARRING: Peter Dinklage, Elle Fanning, Charlotte Gainsbourg

DIRECTED BY: Reed Morano

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 14

STARRING: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Laia Costa, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Antonio Banderas

DIRECTED BY: Dan Fogelman

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 21

STARRING: Quincy Jones

DIRECTED BY: Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 21

STARRING: John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Riz Ahmed, Jake Gyllenhaal

DIRECTED BY: Jacques

STARRING: Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Denise Gough, Eleanor Tomlinson, Fiona Shaw

DIRECTED BY: Wash Westmoreland

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 21

 

STARRING: Gilda Radner

DIRECTED BY: Lisa Dapolito

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 21

STARRING: Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, Kyle MacLachlan

DIRECTED BY: Eli Roth

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 21

STARRING: Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Taran Killam

DIRECTED BY: Malcolm D. Lee

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 28

STARRING: Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren

DIRECTED BY: Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 2

STARRING: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Joel Edgerton

DIRECTED BY: Joel Edgerton

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 2

STARRING: Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan

DIRECTED BY: Matthew Heineman

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 2

STARRING: John Huston, Oja Kodar, Peter Bogdanovich

DIRECTED BY: Orson Welles

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 2

STARRING: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield

DIRECTED BY: Fede Alvarez

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 9

STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons

DIRECTED BY: Jason Reitman

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 7

STARRING: Benedict Cumberbatch

DIRECTED BY: Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 9

STARRING: Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Stephen Dillane

DIRECTED

STARRING: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler

DIRECTED BY: David Yates

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 16

BY: David Mackenzie

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 9

STARRING: Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Michelle Rodriguez

DIRECTED BY: Steve McQueen

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 16

STARRING: Bill Heck, Aesop Aquarian, Charles Ash

DIRECTED BY: Joel and Ethan Coen

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 16

STARRING: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silvrman, Taraji P. Henson

DIRECTED BY: Rich Moore and Phil Johnston

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 21

STARRING: Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Sylvester Stallone

DIRECTED BY: Steven Caple Jr.

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 21

STARRING: Jennifer Lopez, Milo Ventimiglia

DIRECTED BY: Peter Segal

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 21

STARRING: Mahershala Ali, Viggo Mortensen

DIRECTED BY: Peter Farrelly

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 21

STARRING: KiKi Layne, Stephan James

DIRECTED BY: Barry Jenkins

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 30

STARRING: Haru Kuroki, Moka Kamishiraishi

DIRECTED BY: Mamoru Hosoda

RELEASE DATE: Nov. 30

STARRING: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie

DIRECTED BY: Josie Rourke

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 7

STARRING: Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Courtney B. Vance

DIRECTED BY: Peter Hedges

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 7

STARRING: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson

DIRECTED BY: Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti, and Rodney Rothman

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 14

STARRING: Kawthar Al Haddad, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, Nadine Labaki

DIRECTED BY: Nadine Labaki

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 14

STARRING: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda

DIRECTED BY: Rob Marshall

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 19

STARRING: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman

DIRECTED BY: James Wan

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 21

STARRING: Hailee Steinfeld, Angela Bassett, Justin Theroux

DIRECTED BY: Travis Knight

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 21

STARRING: Jennifer Connelly, Rosa Salazar, Eiza González

DIRECTED BY: Robert Rodriguez

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 21

STARRING: Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Janelle Monáe, Merritt Wever

DIRECTED BY: Robert Zemeckis

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 21

STARRING: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Ralph Fiennes

DIRECTED BY: Etan Cohen

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 21

STARRING: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux

DIRECTED BY: Mimi Leder

RELEASE DATE: Dec. 25

Official First Look at the Women of the New TERMINATOR (from left to right) Natalia Reyes as “Dani Ramos,” Mackenzie Davis as “Grace,” Linda Hamilton as “Sarah Connor”

Now it’s Linda Hamilton‘s turn to say, “I’ll be back.”


The OG Sarah Connor from James Cameron’s Terminator movies is suiting back up for the upcoming sequel, and in the film’s first photo, she’s joined by Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049) and Natalia Reyes (Birds of Passage).

Production has already begun on the untitled Terminator installment, which instead of branching off of Terminator: Genisys is described as a follow-up to Cameron’s original sci-fi saga.

Hamilton, obviously, returns as Sarah and has been spotted around the production location in costume by paparazzi. Davis, in the new leading role for the franchise, will play a character named Grace and Reyes will play Dani Ramos (who works at “Arius Motors,” per the logo on her mechanic shirt). A closer look at Grace reveals markings covering her flesh. Might this mean she’s actually an android, some sort of traveler, or none of those things?

This will mark a reunion for Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, while newcomers Gabriel Luna (reportedly playing the next Terminator) and Diego Boneta join the fold.

Plot details for the next Terminator are still a mystery, but Deadpool‘s Tim Miller is directing the film, based on a script by David Goyer. Cameron produces with David Ellison.

This continuation comes after Terminator: Genisys was meant to launch a new era for the franchise. A sequel to the Emilia Clarke-led chapter had already been in the works until poor critical reception and poor box office sales prompted the studio to re-adjust.

Now, this Terminator, whatever it may be called, will hit theaters on Nov. 22, 2019.

Chiabella James/Paramount; Clay Enos/Warner Bros.

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Mission: Impossible — Fallout. Read at your own risk.

In Mission: Impossible — Fallout, Henry Cavill plays CIA agent August Walker. He’s paired with IMF all-star Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) for a skydiving mission. Cruise looks smaller next to Cavill, but so does everyone. Director Christopher McQuarrie cleverly films Cavill’s height like a running joke, his big, brash mustache the shape of a lesser man’s toupee.

The visual treatment of Cavill reveals a deeper rift. Walker represents brute force, and the brutality of force. He always kills the bad guys, and is okay killing good guys. It’s a philosophical distinction from Hunt and his IMF kin, a chill crew of adventure heroes. They prefer old-fashioned espionage, the deep-cover character work. Walker looms, towers, hulks. You can’t imagine him pretending to be anyone but himself.

Hunt notices a thunderstorm beneath their plane: skydive canceled. But Walker jumps anyway, and is immediately struck by lightning. Cruise works overtime, performing 10 Point Breaks’ worth of aerial melodrama, whooshing Cavillward, defidgeting oxygen tanks, shunting last-minute parachutes. Cavill is unconscious, splendidly limp, limbs hanging weightless above his plummeting bulk. If you’ve tracked Cavill’s career closely, it’s hard to miss the meaning. In Fallout, Superman doesn’t fly; he falls.

Cavill rocketed to blockbuster prominence in Man of Steel, and has played the Last Son of Krypton in two movies since. All bad films, in my opinion. Statuesque Biceppery is the main note Cavill’s hitting. His muscles make Brad Pitt in Troy look like Roger Moore in a turtleneck. It’s less a performance than an exertion (though that’s how DiCaprio won his Oscar).

Not much chance for emotional range, is what I’m getting at. My favorite Cavill performance this decade came between Supermans, in 2015’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Unquestionably the best film Guy Ritchie has ever made, U.N.C.L.E. stars Cavill as Cold War spy Napoleon Solo, opposite also-tall Armie Hammer (plus Alicia Vikander before she won her Oscar and Elizabeth Debicki before she basically played an Oscar.)

Ritchie was the first filmmaker to figure out that Cavill, post-Superman flexation, was so huge that filming him doing normal human things would always be a little funny. See Cavill, wearing an apron. Or Cavill, eating a sandwich. It’s the polar opposite of his Man of Steel performance, eternally unperturbed. He seems to float. His American accent is midcentury modern, what Cary Grant would sound like if Cary Grant was a bass drum.

Grant Morrison, one of the great Superman writers of our time, once described his vision of the Man of Steel. “A man who was invulnerable to all harm would be always relaxed and at ease,” Morrison wrote. “He’d have no need for the kind of physically aggressive postures superheroes specialized in.” This perfectly describes Cavill in U.N.C.L.E. and not-at-all describes Cavill in the Superman films; fair to say Zack Snyder enjoys physically aggressive postures.

And I’m convinced McQuarrie cast Cavill in Fallout because of U.N.C.L.E. Like Solo, Walker is preternaturally untroubled. (Lightning storm? No problem!) Like Solo, Walker’s rather heartless, not a man who seems to feel much of anything. And in both movies, Cavill has a fight scene in a bathroom. (One more and it’s a trend!) Cavill was, famously, filming Fallout around the same time as Justice League reshoots. There are moments in Fallout where I started to wonder if McQuarrie (who also wrote the film) was up to a clever bit of stunt casting. Walker has a secret identity, just like Clark Kent. The final act of Fallout turns on the revelation that the CIA agent is secretly John Lark, writer of a death-cult manifesto proclaiming, “There cannot be peace without, first, a great suffering.”

Lark’s big idea is to upend the old world order, kill some third of the global population, thus shall peace reign supreme. This plan is oddly identical to the big idea Thanos had in Avengers: Infinity War. (Population control, so hot right now!) And it seems notable to cast Cavill in the part. His Superman films became talking points from their mass destruction, whole cities leveled in his holy, red-caped wake. His journey there drifts a lot off messianic imagery. You wonder if you missed the Gospel where Jesus punches people, but perhaps “the perversion of a peaceful philosophy into the cause of great suffering” is an important part of the Messiah’s epilogue.

In Fallout, this is all a big problem. Lark’s world-changing philosophy is that of a mass-murdering maniac, killing women and children with smallpox. The film praises ingenuity, teamwork, the possibility that everyone can be saved. Walker is a loner who will kill anyone. He thinks that makes him tough. In Fallout’s estimation, he just lacks imagination. “Why the f— do you have to make everything so complicated?!?!” he screeches, a villain confused by this plot he’s in.

It’s a wonderful performance by Cavill, secretly complex. He’s playing a relaxed evil, unfussy evil, corporate evil. His physicality sells the action setpieces, makes you wonder why anyone would ever hide him behind digital superpowers. His smirk is so punchable, but there’s a sharp humor you can’t ignore. Yes, you think, this is probably what it would look like if a horrible egomaniac narcissist had some nuclear bombs.

Is this Cavill’s way forward, a heel turn from bland hero to deadpan villain? Maybe. You wonder if there’s a looming James Bond reboot that could one-up Mission: Impossible for stunt casting. Imagine Cavill as the very vision of 007hood, tall, chiseled, tuxedoed, monstrously uncaring — and he’s the bad guy opposite whatever anything-but-a-white-dude plays James or Jane.

Or maybe the next step is a do-over of the first step. Justice League was two bad movies mashed together, and corners of the internet exist to highlight the certain fuzzy quality of Superman’s ’stache-less lip. And yet, a few scenes are the best Cavill’s ever been. He looks happy to be alive, stoked to hang out with other superheroes, sweetly concerned about inspiring goodwill amongst the children. The weight of the world might still be on his shoulders, but that’s what super-strength is for.

Is there still a future for Henry Cavill’s Superman? Fallout suggests one marvelous possibility. We know he can play a bad guy now. Imagine Cavill’s Superman staring down his own hilarious evil duplicate: Bizarro rebooted, with a mustache.

Kim Kardashian flaunts newly gym-honed figure as she goes braless in a skintight bodysuit for date with Kanye

She’s been sweating it out at the gym on the daily.

And Kim Kardashian flaunted the results of that single-minded commitment in a skintight bodysuit on Saturday night.

For date night with husband Kanye West the reality star went all out, taking inspiration from Barbarella in the sparkling, sheer number.

Working it: Clinging to every inch of Kim’s braless figure, the long-sleeved white suit highlighted her new and improved shape

Clinging to every inch of Kim’s braless figure, the long-sleeved white suit highlighted her new and improved shape.

Kim threw on a silver skirt in a matching metallic shade as the couple attended an event for fashion photographer Marcus Hyde.

Sunglasses, despite the late hour, completed her look.

Kim has been hitting the gym for hours each day, coached by Instagram star fitgurlmel. And the results are impressive, with the 37-year-old toning her figure while preserving her curves.

Night owl: Sunglasses, despite the late hour, completed her look Kanye’s girl: Her husband kept a protective arm on Kim’s back

Sparkling: Kim threw on a silver skirt in a matching metallic shade as the couple attended an event for fashion photographer Marcus Hyde

Meanwhile Kanye went for paint splattered jeans, work boots and a few gold chains.

He kept an arm on Kim’s back, as the two walked past photographers outside the event.

The 41-year-old looked to have recovered from his recent bout of flu, which saw him land in the emergency room.

The rapper turned fashion designer took to Twitter this week to share his thoughts after watching Showtime documentary McQueen, a documentary on tragic fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who took his own life in 2010.

Futuristic: For date night with husband Kanye West the reality star went all out, taking inspiration from Barbarella in the sparkling, sheer number

It’s working: Kim has been hitting the gym for hours each day, coached by fitgurlmel

He wrote: ‘I saw the Alexander McQueen documentary and I connected with his journey. I know how it feels to want to take your life back into your own hands even if it means taking your own life.

‘To make this clear and not weird I’ve had these kinds of thoughts and I’m going to tell you things I’ve done to stay in a content place.’

Kanye then went on to share what has helped him.

He wrote: ‘How to NOT kill yourself pt 1 Avoid being around people who make you want to kill yourself.’

Mom of three: The reality star has daughter North, five, son Saint, two, and five-month-old daughter Chicago

Sheer beauty: Kim went without a bra to preserve the clean lines of her top

Kanye – who has daughter North, five, son Saint, two, and five-month-old daughter Chicago, with Kim, 37 – recently admitted he has had suicidal thoughts in the past but decided not to take action after thinking it through.

He explained: ‘Oh yeah, I’ve thought about killing myself all the time. It’s always an option.

‘Like Louis C.K. said: I flip through the manual. I weigh all the options. I’m just having this epiphany now, ’cause I didn’t do it, but I did think it all the way through. But if I didn’t think it all the way through, then it’s actually maybe more of a chance of it happening.’

Paramount Pictures
[This story contains spoilers for Mission: Impossible — Fallout]

There’s a moment in Mission: Impossible — Fallout after a particularly nice twist, in which IMF secretary Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) says, “I’m starting to see why you guys enjoy this so much.” He’s addressing his field agents, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg). But the remark is meant more for the audience than the characters, as Hunley acknowledges why the Mission: Impossible movies are still so successful after more than 20 years at the box office: they’re fun.

Each installment delivers on thrills, laughs, and intrigue. More than most long-running franchises, it’s also not particularly self-referential, only rarely looking back at what’s come before, ensuring that each installment can stand strongly on its own. Fallout changes that, not only looking back the most, but using the past to forge something new. In many ways, Fallout feels like the end of an era and the beginning of something else.

One way writer/director Christopher McQuarrie accomplishes this is through Vanessa Kirby’s White Widow, a Parisian-based arms dealer who, in a surprising reveal, turns out to be the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave’s Max from the 1996 film that started it all; she even kind of resembles a young Redgrave.

That Ethan should be working with this link to the past is a recognition of the passage of time, while also tying up the first six movies up in a neat bow. This kind of universe building is something that the James Bond franchise didn’t understand with 2015’s Spectre. Trying to keep up with the trend of cinematic universes, it brought in classic villain Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), hoping that the presence of such an iconic character would be enough to justify the tenuous explanation that all of the Daniel Craig movies were connected via the machinations of one bad guy. It fell flat because it wasn’t organic; it wasn’t familiar to the reality established since Craig’s first Bond film, 2006’s Casino Royale.

But the callback to the Brian De Palma’s Mission: Impossible via Kirby’s character works, because there’s a sense of familiarity there. We enjoyed the repartee between Cruise and Redgrave back then. And now, we enjoy the repartee between Cruise and Redgrave’s cinematic daughter, with the characters mirroring the ages and personalities of Cruise and Redgrave in the mid-1990s. Max was a seasoned and cynical arms dealer while Ethan was a young and bright-eyed IMF agent. Today, Hunt has seen some shit and is the seasoned veteran, while the White Widow is a doe-eyed criminal. Vanessa Kirby as The White Widow in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT, from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.

Paramount Pictures
Vanessa Kirby as White Widow in Mission: Impossible — Fallout.

A major theme of Mission: Impossible — Fallout is tearing down the old world order, the major ambition of Syndicate founder Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) and his followers (known as “The Apostles”). His plan is simple: contaminate a major water source for a third of the world’s population by detonating two nuclear devices. The idea is to create terrible suffering so that there can be great peace. But that’s not enough, he also wants Ethan Hunt to suffer and therefore, puts his wife Julia (Michelle Monaghan) right in the middle of the blast zone.

Monaghan’s character has been a dangling emotional thread since the end of J.J. Abrams’ Mission: Impossible III. She was meant to be Ethan’s exit strategy from the spy game, but he kept getting drawn in, to the point where they had to fake her death so she wouldn’t be in danger from Hunt’s many enemies. She had a small cameo at the end of Ghost Protocol, but pretty much had nothing to do until Fallout, which finally resolves her complicated relationship with Ethan, allowing both characters (and the franchise) to finally move on.

When Ethan and his team arrive at the location where Lane plans to detonate the bombs, they discover it be a smallpox medical camp in the Kashmir region. Julia works at the camp as a nurse (via the machinations of Lane), but that’s not the most shocking thing about her appearance. As we learn, she has since remarried a doctor, played by Wes Bentley. Naturally, this piece of information comes as a jolt to the audience.Left to right: Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust and Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT, from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.

Paramount Pictures
Rebecca Ferguson and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible — Fallout.

By the end, however, it’s clear that Ethan is not meant to be with Julia, but with MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). We’re brought back to a conversation Luther has with Ilsa earlier in the movie, where he explains that Ethan and Julia couldn’t be together because the world needed him more than she ever could. But if Ethan can have a relationship with his equal in espionage, he need not compromise on matters of the heart.

For most of Rogue Nation, Ilsa was portrayed as an impressive femme fatale, who definitely had a connection with Ethan that wasn’t yet fully explored. Fallout ends with Isla whispering something in Julia’s ear (Lost in Translation style) and then basically getting Julia’s permission to be with Ethan. This opens up intriguing possibilities for the Mission: Impossible series, which could now follow the exploits of super-spy couple Hunt and Faust.

After preventing yet another worldwide catastrophe once more, Ethan gets asked by his teammates how close to the wire they cut it this time around. His response is short, but self-aware; a nod to fans who have stuck around for the wild ride up until this point: “the usual.” Fallout closes a chapter on the series, the chapter about Ethan Hunt as a one-man, world-saving show. He now has someone in his life to bear the burden he’s carried for six movies. Solomon Lane may not have blown up the Old World as he had planned, but he certainly helped achieve the impossible: breathing new life and possibility into a 20-year-old movie franchise.

Left to right: Henry Cavill as August Walker and Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT, from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.

Chiabella James/Paramount Pictures

Henry Cavill nearly got to work with Tom Cruise before joining Mission: Impossible — Fallout. The two were in talks to costar in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., but Cruise dropped out to focus on producing and filming Fallout‘s predecessor, Rogue Nation.

So, when Cavill got the call to join Fallout as CIA agent August Walker — a man who ends up butting heads with Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, thanks to their “different ideals about how to achieve things” — he couldn’t be more pleased to follow through after their “near-miss” years ago. “I was very excited to finally get the chance to work with Tom,” he says. “Tom remembered very precise details of our previous conversation, which I did not remember. He’s excellent at that.”

It’s not the only thing the Mission: Impossible franchise’s star is excellent at. In Fallout, directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Cavill and Cruise star in several set pieces, including a helicopter sequence shot over the Southern Alps for four weeks in frigid New Zealand. Cruise, McQuarrie marvels, had no trouble pulling off the “incredibly difficult, incredibly challenging” stunt, despite everything he was asked to do. “When we call action, he has to haul the other helicopter into the frame, so he’s actually flying the helicopter, operating the camera, and acting all at the same time, while maintaining a situational awareness of all the helicopters around him,” the director recalls. “It required Tom to be performing multiple functions at the same time.”

Cavill, meanwhile, remembers struggling with the temperature and intensity of the stunt, which he says was the toughest but most memorable one he worked on. “We’d go up for half an hour to an hour at a time, and when you’re at that altitude with the doors open, and you can’t hear anything apart from the rotor blades going,” he says, “all you have is your own inner voice saying, ‘I’m cold, I’m cold, I’m cold.’”

Watching Cruise work, though, helped him pull through. “Tom’s tirelessness is definitely encouraging,” Cavill says. “I have never come across someone who can live in both the space of an actor and the space of a producer at the same time. In the middle of a take, he’ll be producing the movie in his head as he’s performing — he’ll just suddenly stop and repeat something because in his head, he knows that thing isn’t gonna cut well with what he wants to cut with in a scene later.”

“His brain must work at a million miles an hour,” he concludes. “It makes you want to push yourself.”

Mission: Impossible — Fallout is in theaters now.

Paramount Pictures
[This story contains spoilers for Mission: Impossible — Fallout]For nearly 20 years and five films, the Mission: Impossible franchise always had several consistent elements. They each starred and were produced by Tom Cruise, who would throw himself (as literally as possible) into all sorts of crazy stunt work; they each featured Cruise’s heroic secret agent Ethan Hunt ferreting out moles among his fellow spies; and they were each directed by a different person. Each Mission: Impossible movie has felt distinctive because of the ever-shifting filmmaker behind the camera, until Fallout, the sixth and latest entry, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who had similar duties on 2015’s Rogue Nation. In working together again, Cruise and McQuarrie have bucked the trend and made the best-reviewed Mission: Impossible yet.

When Fallout begins, Ethan is on his own in Belfast, brought back into the IMF fold when he learns that his still-living nemesis Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) has influenced a group of disavowed agents known as the Apostles to try and wreak anarchy upon the world by detonating a trio of nuclear weapons. Ethan then works with his IMF cohorts along with the enigmatic MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and a mysterious CIA agent named August Walker (Henry Cavill) to stop the Apostles at all costs. The plot, as is often the case in Mission: Impossible movies, isn’t intricately detailed because it doesn’t need to be; instead, it partially functions as a clothesline on which to hang an impressive amount of jaw-dropping, relentless action sequences.

Fallout, much more than other entries in the series, functions as a direct sequel. It’s not just that cast members such as Ferguson, Harris, Ving Rhames, and Simon Pegg return; as opposed to other entries like Ghost Protocol, it helps to know more going in aside from just “Tom Cruise does crazy stuff for two hours.” Ethan remains haunted and remorseful for his failed marriage with Julia (Michelle Monaghan, also returning), and struggles to accept the greater good as opposed to saving just one member of his team. McQuarrie leans into how these character-based choices have a global impact; both in how the action is constructed and how Ethan’s burden feels heavier than usual, McQuarrie has made as close of an equivalent to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight for this franchise. Fallout, to its credit, is the weightiest film in the series.

McQuarrie has also grown as an action filmmaker in between Rogue Nation and now. One of the franchise’s biggest selling points is that Cruise does as many stunts as he can himself; McQuarrie, even more than in the previous film, does an excellent job of making it eminently clear that Cruise is really doing everything on screen. There’s almost a tactile quality to each of the major setpieces, in part because there’s either a complete absence of CGI or seamlessly integrated effects so it all feels practical. Seeing Ethan Hunt desperately climb a rope dangling off the bottom of a helicopter becomes even more terrifying when you accept that it’s really Tom Cruise hanging for his life, thanks in part to the clear, coherent, never-blinking directing style from McQuarrie.

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So much of Fallout succeeds because it’s exceptionally thrilling without ever being monotonous. Clocking in at 147 minutes, it’s the longest entry in the franchise yet manages to feel as fleet of foot as its hero. (McQuarrie, wisely, creates a lot of scenarios where Ethan has to run from Point A to Point B, because there are few things more hypnotic and viscerally entertaining on film than watching Tom Cruise run like there’s no tomorrow.) McQuarrie perhaps deserves the most credit for finding variations within familiar themes. Fans of the franchise may not be too terribly surprised by the reveal that the burly August Walker is an anarchist in disguise, if only because he wouldn’t be the first American agent to betray our hero. But the way Cavill is employed throughout the film creates a genuinely fascinating foil. Even before he’s revealed his true colors, in a brutal and intense bathroom fight, Cavill shows that he’s not to be reckoned with.

These days, the only true competition that the Mission: Impossible franchise faces with long-running action series is the Fast and Furious films. (While there have been more than four times as many James Bond films over more than five decades, the character has been played by so many actors that it’s unfair to make a one-to-one comparison.) Certainly, it’s easy to joke about imagining what insane things Ethan Hunt will have to do in future entries; maybe if Dominic Toretto doesn’t go to outer space, Ethan will get there first. But in the first entry of this franchise to rely on more story-based continuity than ever before, returning director McQuarrie has proven himself to be the most capable person to make Mission: Impossible movies yet. After Fallout, he ought to make as many of these movies as Cruise’s Energizer-Bunny-like body and spirit will allow.

Type: Movie; Genre: Comedy; Release date: 12/19/80; Runtime: 110 minutes; Performer: Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, Dabney Coleman; Director: Colin Higgins; Distributor: 20th Century Fox; MPAA: PG

The women of 9 to 5 are going back to work.

Jane Fonda confirmed Wednesday that a long-awaited sequel to her hit 1980 comedy is moving ahead, with the screen legend poised to again appear opposite Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin.

“My role is as an executive producer, and I’m working with the writers, with Lily, and talking to the writers,” Fonda told reporters at the Television Critics Association panel for her new HBO documentary, Jane Fonda in Five Acts. “Right now, Dolly, Lily and I are all intending to be in it.”

News that a 9 to 5 follow-up could be in the works broke earlier this year, when Rashida Jones became attached to co-write a script with original screenwriter Patricia Resnick. At the time, Parton expressed interest in reprising her role in a sequel that would update the beloved workplace comedy for modern times, reflecting contemporary conversations around the wage gap and sexual harassment.

Fonda suggested that the sequel could explore how technology and corporate voyeurism have complicated modern-age workplace dynamics, adding that it will take place at the same office of Consolidated Companies.

“I’m sorry to say the situation is worse today,” she said, teasing how a follow-up could expand on the story of the first film, in which the central trio went to war with their brutish bigot of a boss (Dabney Coleman), eventually ousting him. “Today a lot of the workforce is hired by an outside company. Who do you talk to if you have a problem?”

The actress was asked at the panel about sexual harassment — key to Coleman’s character in the first film — more broadly, and expressed optimism in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. “I do think sexual harassment will tend to drop,” she said, smiling. “Guys are scared.”

If a 9 to 5 sequel does come together, it will see Fonda and Tomlin heading back to theaters together after starring on Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, which is set to return for its fifth season next year. All three actresses have remained friends since joining forces in the first 9 to 5.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander

The trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald already hints at this. But star Eddie Redmayne says your suspicions are correct: The sequel to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is firmly a “darker” story.

“The most riveting aspect is the tonal change,” Redmayne tells EW (and, yes, that’s a new photo from the film above). “It’s darker and more rigorous and weaving in the Potter lore we’re much more familiar with. So these characters you met in the first film are now in the wizarding world you understand more thoroughly. When I read [the script] it had these cryptic elements to it and it played like a thriller that made it a page-turner.”

Given the script was written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, that page-turning aspect is hardly a surprise.

Redmayne, who reprises his role of magi-zoologist Newt Scamander in the film, also gave us some story details which gives us a few new hints. Obviously, the dark wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured in the last film. In the new story, he’s being sent back to Europe to be tried and manages to escape.

“I’m enlisted by Dumbledore (Jude Law) to try and track him down and capture him,” Redmayne says. “What’s happened is Grindelwald’s belief that purebloods should reign over all non-magical beings is a political thing. He’s rallying more and more people and it causes divisions across families. He’s pretty hypnotic.”

Hmm. That description sounds a bit like … You Know Who.

Here’s the teaser trailer as a refresher:

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens Nov. 16.