Christian Bale eyes ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’

Academy award winner Christian Bale is being considered for a role in the upcoming Marvel Studios sequel to Thor: Ragnarok.

Christian Bale is known for a great number of roles throughout his career like American Psycho, Vice and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and now, he seeks to add Marvel Studios to his growing list of films.

Bale is reportedly in talks to join the cast of Thor: Love and Thunder which is the fourth Thor film in the MCU and the second to be written and directed by New Zealand filmmaker, Taika Waititi. While negotiations are ongoing, there is no word on who Bale would be playing.

Waititi previously co-wrote and directed 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok which revitalized the character of Thor following 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Bale recently starred in Ford v Ferarri from director James Mangold which grossed $203mil in its 7 weeks in theatres and ran in just over 3,700 theatres.

Thor: Love and Thunder will release on Nov. 5, 2021 and will star Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson and Taika Waititi.

‘The Grudge’ fails to scare up earnings

The Grudge, a 2020 remake of the famed Japanese horror story, hit theatres on Jan. 3 but has so far failed in all aspects of its release.

On a budget of $10 million USD, The Grudge sought to remake the original Japanese horror story about a woman who was killed, and in her anger and hatred, remained as a vengeful spirit to torment those who live in her home.

The film opened to a dismal $1.5mil on Thursday night previews and has, so far, earned about $5.3mil with Saturday evening and Sunday numbers still to be added.

Critics have torn the film down, citing it as a lazy remake/sequel that doesn’t add anything to the world or story of the originals. The scares are unimaginative, and put plainly – is boring.

What hasn’t helped The Grudge along is going up against Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker which has continued to dominate the box office since its Dec. 20, 2019 release.

The Grudge is written and directed by Nicolas Pesce and produced by iconic horror filmmaker Sam Raimi. The Grudge is now in theatres.

Seles: Top 10 movies of 2019

As the year draws to a close, Nicholas Seles takes a look back at his favourite films of the past twelve months.

10. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

It’s hard to think of a Tarantino movie that’s ever been truly bad. The Hateful Eight was a movie that I had to sit on for a bit after I saw it, but after subsequent viewings, ended up loving it the most out of his filmography. …In Hollywood doesn’t have an overall story like most of his other films, but the characters of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) are ever so likeable and all of the character interactions are engaging.

Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

9. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

The end to the Skywalker saga didn’t hit all the notes I wanted it to, but it was far from a terrible ending. The cast deliver strong performances and Rey is given the opportunity to finally find a name for herself when family was what she sought. John Williams never failed to deliver a terrible score and that rings true with this instalment as well, calling on themes from the original trilogy and continuing to build on themes like Rey’s, the Resistance and Kylo Ren.

Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)

8. Captain Marvel

Haters will hate, but Captain Marvel was far from a bad movie. It certainly felt like a phase one film, in retrospect, but as a fan of Carol Danvers in the comics beforehand, I did not leave feel disappointed. Being brainwashed into having no thought or emotion for herself, it’s understandable that Brie Larson gave the performance that she did, and I felt it worked. It developed the world pre-Avengers and gave us one of the strongest heroes moving forward.

Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel

7. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

While it’s been a few years since Breaking Bad concluded on AMC, the story of Jesse Pinkman remained open. El Camino brings Jesse back to give us his conclusion and it wraps things up incredibly well. The tension and style that made Breaking Bad so famous returns with no hiccups and instantly draws you back into the world of Pinkman. Vince Gilligan wrote and directed the film, and there could honestly be no better send-off for the character and story.

Aaron Paul returns as Jesse Pinkman.

6. The Irishman

Martin Scorsese has tried to make this film for years and he’s finally found an outlet for it with Netflix. Starring legendary actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, The Irishman tells the story of Frank Sheeran, an Irish hitman who worked for the Bufalino crime family and was tied up with the infamous Jimmy Hoffa. The performances are all beyond exceptional, the writing and editing is as tight as ever with not a moment of screen time wasted, and Scorsese has not lost his edge with using crime stories to make you contemplate mortality.

Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Ray Romano in The Irishman.

5. Joker

Starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, Joker shows us how Gotham’s clown Prince of crime could come to be in a realistic setting. Phoenix’s performance as Joker is stellar and the entire movie would lose its notoriety had his performance not followed through. Hildur Guonadottir’s score is haunting, beautiful and overall incredibly effective at demonstrating the peaceful chaos within Arthur. It can be a difficult movie to watch at times, but overall, incredibly well made, acted and hit all the right notes a live-action standalone Joker movie needed to hit.

Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker.

4. Knives Out

Coming off the heels of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson resurrects the classic murder mystery genre in a way it desperately needed. The ensemble cast which features Ana De Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette and Daniel Craig (among many others) is exceptional and the twists and turns that the story takes makes it an even more enjoyable experience. The cast seem to be having such a fun time with the characters and story which only furthers the immersion and enjoyment of this excellent whodunnit.

The star-studded cast of Knives Out.

3. Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi delivers another hit in the form of a World War II satire that shows us love is the strongest combatant against hate. The entire cast is spectacular; Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi, Scarlet Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and Thomasin Mckenzie all deliver touching and hilarious performances. It’s a film that came at such an important time, but Waititi never planned for it to release at a time of political turmoil with leaders like Donald Trump in power – it just happened.

Thomasin McKenzie, Roman Griffin Davis and Taika Waititi in Jojo Rabbit.

2. Spider-Man: Far From Home

The prologue to Avengers: Endgame took Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his classmates to Europe for a class trip where they’re interrupted by the sinister Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). What makes this film so enjoyable is the chemistry between Holland and Gyllenhaal and the opportunity that Parker is given to grow into his own hero in the wake of Tony Stark’s sacrifice, as well as the sequences which help develop his spider sense and Mysterio’s illusions.

Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Peter Parker (Tom Holland) confide in each other.

1. Avengers: Endgame

Anyone who knows me could see this one coming a mile away. Endgame brought about the end of the first arc of stories for the Marvel universe. 2008 to 2019 was building up to this moment, where the heroes would put an end to the chaos and destruction brought about by the infinity stones. It brought it all together in an exhilarating, captivating and emotional (and I mean emotional) end. While the franchise is far from done, it signalled the end for heroes like Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).

“Avengers!… Assemble.” The heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe team up once more.

Honourable mentions: Frozen II, Bombshell, Toy Story 4, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

Yet to see: 1917, Parasite, Marriage Story, The Lighthouse

Review: ‘The Witcher’, season one

In the adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy series, Henry Cavill trades in his red cape for a white wig, broadsword and the gift of hunting monsters – but does that make for a good series?

Trailer for Netflix’s The Witcher

8.5/10

One of the first things we need to cover is that no, the show is not a 1:1 adaptation of the video game series. The Witcher 3 which saw a release on the Sony Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch, is part of Sapkowski’s book series that has existed long before the games. Another disclaimer I’m going to put forward is that I have not yet read the books, but, this show has certainly turned me towards wanting to read them.

What this show does well is make you think for yourself. It does not hold your hand through the narrative. Characters come and go and you are tasked to remember who is who and their importance in the story. It may take some one episode and others will need the entire season (consisting of eight hour-long episodes).

The story takes an interesting turn in its narrative by not telling it linearly. I can’t say much more without spoiling the surprise as the timeline for the show comes together around episode 4 titled ‘Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials’, but when everything begins to click, it takes an interesting turn because what seems like separate storylines turns into a game of cat-and-mouse of sorts.

Sapkowski gave his blessing for showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich to take the characters of Geralt of Rivia, Ciri, Yennefer and others to the small screen, and Netflix didn’t spare the expense to help.

The battles and magic are not skimped on in terms of money which is surprising for fantasy shows in their first season. HBO even held back on financing large-scale battles for their now-hit show Game of Thrones until late into its second season.

The sword choreography is also on a different level. It’s brutal, fast and pulls no punches in going for the most gruesome kills it can. Every swing of Geralt’s broadsword is felt and every battle is filmed with enough breathing room to see what’s going on without being too far from the core of the action.

Henry Cavill was a bit of head-scratcher to play to Geralt initially, but after the first episode, he falls into place very quickly. Anya Chalotra, for me, was the breakout star of the first season as Yennefer of Vengerberg. Her story starts out very hard and emotional, but by the end of the first season, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Freya Allen plays Ciri, or Princess Cirilla of Cintra. She doesn’t get as much powerful material to work with as Cavill or Chalotra, but she’s far from underused and boring. Part of the charm of knowing she’s Ciri is it’s only a matter of time before her and Geralt come into contact with one another.

Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli score the show and their accompaniments fit the gothic fantasy world of The Witcher, however it lacks any memorable themes or motifs that help bring the world and characters to life.

All in all, for a first season, the show came out swinging and kept me thoroughly engaged from start to finish. Where other studios may have played it a lot more safe and downplayed the magic, Netflix has delivered right out of the gate with spells, dragons, monsters and battles.

The Witcher has been renewed for second season which is expected for 2021.

Review: ‘Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker’

In the conclusion to a 40-year journey, director J.J. Abrams returns to helm the film as well as write alongside Chris Terrio as we bring the stories of Luke and Leia Skywalker, Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron and Chewbacca to a close.

The final trailer for the rise of skywalker.

7/10

Since 2015’s The Force Awakens – the Star Wars films have been very divisive. From utter praise and admiration for Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One to sheer disappointment and disgust with Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.

J.J. Abrams had a difficult task with creating not only a conclusion to the sequel trilogy (The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi) but to tie in the other six films as well – and that’s where this film starts to fall apart in some regard. While the obvious connections are made to the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith) are largely ignored outside some minor (and I mean incredibly minor) cameos.

What doesn’t help the film either is its pacing, which alternates from fast-paced, nonstop action to immediately hitting the brakes for a shot at an emotional moment which then slows down a bit too much. The first half hour of the film, quite literally, jumps from world to world and makes it feel as if there’s at least another chunk of story left on the cutting room floor that gave it some breathing room.

The writing also lends itself to some incredibly repetitive and cliched beats that end up removing any sense of emotional weight or impact in moments where there should be just that. It’s not as similarly plotted out as Return of the Jedi (as many like to point out that The Force Awakens is a beat-by-beat retread of A New Hope) but the self-contained writing for the story can’t seem to make a decision on what it wants to do with certain characters.

With all of that said, it makes it seem like a horrendous movie, which it is not. The Rise of Skywalker ends up being highly entertaining with some very hard-hitting emotional moments which will be explored in our in-depth spoiler review.

When the action is happening, it is crisp, clear and very entertaining to watch. The sabre choreography has been stepped up in a major way and Abrams has brought back the colourful visual palette he had in The Force Awakens.

With this film being his last time scoring a Star Wars film, composer John Williams gives it his all and provides plenty of throwback themes to films gone by, however not all of his iconic motifs are utilized to their fullest extent and it’s mildly disappointing.

The cast get much more time to shine and showcase their ability to act in a massive franchise such as this one. Daisy Ridley gives her best performance yet as Rey as she struggles to battle the conflict within her and remain true to the teachings of the late Jedi, Luke Skywalker. Oscar Isaac provides the second best performance of the film as Poe Dameron, who for me, has always been a highlight of this trilogy.

John Boyega’s Finn takes a backseat (as does Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico) and it feels like a knee-jerk reaction to the reception of The Last Jedi. Finn is present in battle and on the journey, but nothing about his arc is overly memorable because wherever he goes, he’s either with Poe or Rey.

At the end of the day – this is Star Wars, and even the worst movie in the franchise, which is agreed to be Attack of the Clones, has entertaining moments. The Rise of Skywalker feels more like a direct sequel to The Force Awakens than The Last Jedi, which isn’t really how trilogies work, but this is far from a bad movie.

U.K.-based Cineworld acquires Cineplex Cinemas

Cineworld, a U.K.-based theatre company, has just finalized a deal to buy out Cineplex Cinemas.

In a deal worth $2.8 billion, Cineworld will buy out Cineplex, the Toronto-based theatre chain that has dominated the Canadian market for a movie going experience.

The acquisition of Cineplex comes almost two years after Cineworld acquired the U.S.-based theatre chain, Regal Cinemas.

Cineworld offered to buy out Cineplex at $34 per share and saw a rise of about 1.4% in their own stocks by the end of the business day yesterday.

The company will add 165 cinemas which adds 1,695 screens across their current 786 sites and 9,498 screens.

While rebranding the Canadian theatres, Cineworld will continue to refurbish the Regal theatres in the U.S.

The Skywalker saga: End of an era

Star Wars, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theatres this Friday, and with it, ushers in the end of a 40 year journey.

“We’ve passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now…” is what we hear Jedi master Luke Skywalker say in the trailers for The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth and final chapter in the sprawling Star Wars saga that began in 1977 with A New Hope and focused on the powerful Skywalker family.

As the franchise looks to close the door on one of the most beloved families in pop culture, we can also look ahead to what the galactic series has to offer.

What started in 1977 as a space opera that nobody had heard of, and the stars of the film were unsure of, soon became an unstoppable force. Star Wars debuted and introduced the world to the likes of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and Darth Vader. In the decades following, characters like Chewbacca, R2-D2, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Cassian Andor and countless others are beloved in one of the largest and most passionate fanbases.

Dec. 20 will see the final piece of the puzzle release: The Rise of Skywalker. Episode IX concludes not only the sequel trilogy (comprised of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi) but also the entire saga.

In chronological order (including the spinoff films), your viewing order is:
1. The Phantom Menace
2. Attack of the Clones
3. Revenge of the Sith
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
6. A New Hope
7. The Empire Strikes Back
8. Return of the Jedi
9. The Force Awakens
10. The Last Jedi
11. The Rise of Skywalker

In recent years, however, fans have produced what’s known as ‘The Machete Cut’ which is an altered viewing order that mixes up the original and prequel trilogies in order to better tell the story of Anakin’s downfall into Darth Vader.

The Machete Cut removes The Phantom Menace entirely from the viewing order as, in the grand scheme of Anakin’s story, it’s not overly relevant. The Machete Cut order would be:
1. A New Hope
2. The Empire Strikes Back
3. Attack of the Clones
4. Revenge of the Sith
5. Return of the Jedi
6. The Force Awakens
7. The Last Jedi
8. The Rise of Skywalker

What this order now provides is the Luke/Vader conflict up until the big info bomb that Vader drops in Ep. V which delves into Anakin/Vader’s backstory immediately after and we get the explanation for everything Obi-Wan tells Luke in original movies.

Now of course, there’s always Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the animated series that fills the (substantially) large gap between Ep. II and III. In this time, Anakin helps lead the Galactic Republic against the Separatists, has a Jedi padawan (Ahsoka) and also just builds the entire galaxy as an actual warzone, one more potent than what we see at the end of Attack of the Clones.

The Clone Wars also sets up the conflict between the Jedi and the Separatist droid leader, General Grievous, as a backstory was hinted at in Ep. III yet nothing was shown.

With The Rise of Skywalker also closing out the story of the sequel trilogy, it will be interesting to see how director JJ Abrams will pick up the reigns from Rian Johnson and The Last Jedi. Ep. VIII was, without a doubt, the most polarizing Star Wars movie. It took a number of daring risks, more so than any previous Star Wars movie, yet, it also seemed to derail the story that Ep. VII was building.

It subverted expectations in a number of ways, like who Rey’s parents really were, who Supreme Leader Snoke was and how important to the story he was, who Luke had become, what the Force can actually do… and not all of these landed for everyone. Disney had to reassess their strategy for Star Wars not long after the release of The Last Jedi in order to not lose the fanbase completely.

The Rise of Skywalker aims to bring back the tone and visual style of The Force Awakens, but also return to the story Abrams was originally telling. A recent TV spot hints at the fact that the story of Rey’s parentage is not yet over, and of course now we’ll have Emperor Palpatine returning as (apparently) the true puppet master behind Snoke and The First Order.

Whether or not The Rise of Skywalker can reel the alienated fans back is yet to be seen.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker hits theatres on Dec. 20.

Rainn Wilson coming to Humber College

Rainn Wilson, the actor who played Dwight Shrute on The Office will come to Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus in January 2020 for an in-depth look at his time on the popular TV series and to provide advice for students, as part of IGNITE’s Real Talks series.

Although The Office has been off the air for a few years at this point, the legacy of Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. still has a strong grip on pop culture and television as a whole. The jokes of Dwight Schrute, Michael Scott, Jim Halpert, Pam Beasley and all of the wild and wacky employees from Scranton, PA can still be heard quoted both in-person and online.

Wilson won the SAG award for Performance in an Ensemble Cast for comedy series for The Office in 2004, 2007 and 2008 which he shared with his costars of the show.

In the time since The Office left TV, Wilson has founded the website and YouTube channel SoulPancake. The channel tackles the human experience and focuses on those who have the ability to change the world.

Wilson has also been part of numerous movements that focus on the betterment of the planet and has recently switched to a vegan lifestyle. He was involved with Justin Wu’s UN Climate Change project in order to bring aware to the crisis that we, as a global community, are facing for the foreseeable future. You can check out SoulPancake’s YouTube channel here.

Tickets for the event go on sale on Jan. 2 and will be $5 for Humber and Guelph-Humber students and $15 for non-Humber students and guests. Only one guest will be allowed per Humber/Guelph-Humber students.

First trailer for ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ arrives

Set in the tubular 1980s, Diana Prince returns in her first appearance since Justice League.

With CCXP underway down in Brazil, Marvel, Star Wars and now DC have all had a presence in showcasing some of their upcoming projects, with Wonder Woman 1984 being one of the biggest pieces of media being shown off.

Set in the year 1984, Diana Prince comes into conflict with the Soviet Union and also finds a powerful adversary by the name of Cheetah (Kristen Wiig).

You check out the first trailer for the film below.

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