Posts in Category: Movie News

“Aladdin” Remake Accused of “Browning Up” Actors

The upcoming live-action remake of Disney’s Aladdin has been accused of “browning up” Caucasian actors to play extras.

The allegations come from Kaushal Odedra, a stand-in for one of the characters in the film. He claims to have seen about twenty “very fair-skinned” actors in line outside of a make-up tent in order to be made darker before filming, according to Dateline.

Disney issued a response about the issue, saying “Diversity of our cast and background performers was a requirement and only in a handful of instances when it was a matter of specialty skills, safety and control (special effects rigs, stunt performers and handling of animals) were crew made up to blend in.”

The statement also noted that they have somewhere between 400 and 500 background characters and specialists who were specially recruited from Middle Eastern, Indian, African, Mediterranean or Asian locations, while about 100 were recruited from around Surrey and London, where the movie is currently being filmed.

The film is a remake of the 1992 animated version. It stars Aladdin, a kindhearted street rat and thief, who gains three wishes from a wacky genie. He tries to use these to win the hand of Jasmine, a rebellious princess who is only allowed to marry a prince.

This is not the first racial controversy that has erupted over the film. While the title character is going to be played by Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud (Open Heart), some have protested to the casting of Naomi Scott as Jasmine. The actress, perhaps best known for her role as Kimberly the Pink Ranger in 2017’s Power Rangers film, is of mixed Caucasian and Indian heritage.

The film will also include a Norwegian prince named Anders, whom some believe will be a whitewashed version of Achmed, a minor antagonist from the original.

The 1992 film received its share of criticism. The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee objected to the fact that Aladdin and Jasmine had Caucasian facial features and voice actors while other characters looked and sounded more stereotypically Middle Eastern. They also objected to a line in its song (“they’ll cut off your ear if they don’t like your face”), which was changed in home releases.

“Solo” Trailer May Drop on Friday

It is possible that the first trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story will be shown on Friday, January 12 during Good Morning America.

The rumor was posted on the Twitter account Star War Legacy on January 7.

The second in the Star Wars Anthology stories, the film is set to tell the backstory of famed smuggler Han Solo (here depicted by Alden Ehrenreich) and his Wookie partner Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo). Also appearing are Han’s old friend from the previous movies, Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), and his criminal mentor Beckett (Woody Harrelson).

The film is set for release on May 25, which makes it strange that it has yet to release a trailer; big franchises like Star Wars often showing teasers up to a year in advance nowadays. For comparison, Rogue One’s first trailer also dropped during Good Morning America, but in April ahead of a release in December.

Some suspect that this delay is the result of problems during the film’s production. Originally the movie was being directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the duo behind The Lego Movie; however, they suddenly left the project when it was very close to being complete (meaning, by industry standards, shortly before they would have had the right to demand their own cut of the movie).

There were apparently several reasons for Lord and Miller’s clash with LucasFilm and Disney. For one, the pair prefer a more improvisational style, while the studios wanted them to stay closer to the script; also, while they were hired to bring a touch of humor to the movie, the pair apparently thought that Disney wanted something closer to a straight-up comedy set in the Star Wars continuity.

The pair has been replaced by Ron Howard, who has apparently done massive reshoots, and some worry about what this will mean for the final product. To be fair, Rogue One had similar (but less extensive) problems; but on the other hand, having an incoherent movie on their hands could explain why the studio has not released their trailer yet. For now, we will have to wait and see.

Psych: The Movie! USA’s Excellent Christmas Gift for Fan’s of the Classic Series

Psych fans received a gift under the tree this month when USA aired Psych: The Movie, with James Roday and Dule Hill reprising the roles of Shawn and Gus, and a variety of the show’s other mainstays showing up throughout. The new movie opens with Shawn in one of his trademark disguises (which we later find out is a Hagrid cosplay borrowed from Gus) searching for the engagement ring that was stolen during his proposal to Juliet in the series’ last episode. Now relocated to San Francisco, and aptly renamed Psychfrancisco, Shawn and Gus are still in business as a pseudo-psychic detective, and Magic Head, the less than enthusiastic partner. The new Psych movie is most certainly full of nods for fans of the series, and features enough fun for newcomers alike.

The narrative focuses on a new villain for the Psychverse known as The Duke. The Duke is obsessed with publishing a manifesto known as ‘The Crimes of Juliet O’hara,’ which paints Shawn’s long time love interest and fiancé, Juliet, as a corrupt cop and ultimately criminal. Not knowing the details of the manifesto, and with Juliet vying to solve the case herself, Shawn and Gus are left to wonder just what crimes of Juliet, The Duke may be fixated on providing to the public. With the arrival of a bigger and popular Psych villain, things take an accelerated twist, which may end up splitting the Psych-O’s just as everyone was coming back together for a holiday reunion celebration.

Making use of Psych’s years of canon and lore, the Psych movie, at the same time, doesn’t bog new viewers down with a lot of historic exposition, and allows action and humor to drive the movie’s story. That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty her for long term Psych fans, however. Several moments throughout the movie hearken back to beloved scenes, in-jokes of the series, and rest assured, a pineapple or two make an appearance. By applying just enough fan service, and just enough new and motivating content, Psych: The Movie manages to be just what all Psych fans wanted for Christmas, and a welcome surprise in the stockings of new viewers. You can find out more about Psych: The Movie, and stream the film on USA’s Psych devoted webpage:

Justice League’s Lackluster $600 Million Worldwide Figure

Justice League might be one of the few films in motion picture history to pull in $600 million at the worldwide box office and be considered a dud. Upon looking at the reported production budget, fans can see why $600 million equals a flop. The film reportedly carried a $250 to $300 million production budget. Advertising costs easily were in the nine-figure range as well. After the theaters get their cut, Warner Bros. won’t come close to breaking even.

Other revenue streams such as cable television, DVD/Blu-ray, and more exist. The less-than-hot reception to the hero film doesn’t exactly indicate big sales on these fronts. The film did poorly and fallout remains likely. How Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment choose to handle the next slate of film’s is anyone’s guess

Several reasons have been given for Justice League’s lackluster results. Replacing the original director led to very difficult and uneven reshoots. Rushing the film into the production pipeline before seeing how well previous films performed didn’t help either. A poor script isn’t exactly beneficial to box office help. Batman v. Superman didn’t leave audiences clamoring for more.

$600 still is a huge amount of money for a film that had so much going against it. Millions of tickets were sold around the world. Regardless of negative reviews and poor word of mouth, a large audience turned out. Granted, millions upon millions of dollars in promotional advertisements should result in a lot of tickets being sold.

Few positive ways to spin the $600 figure exist. Justice League did poorly. Still, a decent audience does exist for DCEU film projects. Questions linger about how much more this audience will dwindle. Continual releases of bad films definitely won’t help the franchise. Good films will as Wonder Woman revealed.

Justice League should be a turning point in the Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment’s approach to their superhero films. Something must change or else anything not a flop may be called an outlier.

Avengers, Spoilers and Phase 4

2018 is shaping up to be a big year for the Avengers with the upcoming Avengers Infinity War. However, there is already potential spoilers being revealed for the movie coming after Infinity War. This spoiler has a lot to do with the fate of Tony Stark. There has been a lot of speculation that Tony Stark is going to be one of the characters that are not going to return after Avengers 4. For one thing, Phase 4 is going to bring in a lot of changes, especially with the buy out of 21st Century Fox by Disney.

One example of a spoiler is an image shown on Pepper Potts’s poster that shows her holding a severely damaged Iron Man mask. This gives a strong hint to the possible death of Tony Stark. Also, the original source material that Infinity War and Avengers 4 are based on does depict one of the characters sacrificing themselves for the world not through death, but through being trapped. Either way, Avengers 3 and 4 are going to be a couple of the largest events of the coming years. The magnitude of these films are going to compete with the Star Wars films.

Then Phase 4 is when it gets even more interesting because there are a ton of characters that are available for the MCU to use. It is highly likely that X-Men is going to join the MCU as early as Avengers 4. Then people get the chance to experience their favorite mutants on the screen like never before. This is going to be another big period in the MCU. However, there are people that are speculating that at some point, it is going to be time for comic book movies to step aside because the audience is going to be looking for something different. Perhaps after the MCU version of X-Men has run their course is when the movies start to wind down for the comic book characters.

Netflix’s El Camino Christmas a Action Packed Christmas Must See!

If you’re a fan of the not-so-traditional Christmas classics, like Diehard, Reindeer Games, and Harold and Kumar Christmas, Netflix has a present under the tree for you this year with El Camino Christmas. A bullet ridden, desert Christmas, standoff action movie meets drunken comedy meets Miracle on 34th Street, El Camino Christmas is a one of a kind film, and doesn’t relent in action, humor, or, in all honesty, its brilliant Christmas moral tale, from the movie’s opening frame set to a humble and reverent Silent night to its action packed ending. Featuring a variety of notable actors, including Tim Allen, Jessica Alba, Vincent D’Onofrio, Kurtwood Smith, and Emilio Rivera, El Camino Christmas boasts outstanding performances by all involved, from seasoned pro to new comer alike, and promises something for everyone looking for something a little different to celebrate the holiday season this year.

The tale opens with the arrival of a traveler to the town of El Camino, Nevada, a town that hasn’t had snow on Christmas for forty years. Eric Roth, played by recent mainstay Luke Grimes, pulls into El Camino, in appropriately, his El Camino, in search of a father he hasn’t seen since childhood. Thanks to a local, inept, and corrupt, police department, and one particularly drunk and disorderly deputy, portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio, Eric ends up in a standoff with police, unwittingly becoming trapped with five others in a local liquor store. When guns start to go off, will a Christmas miracle save Eric from taking a bullet for Christmas, or will the local El Camino P.D. end up gunning him down before the mystery of his missing father is ever solved?

Though everyone involved in El Camino Christmas pulls through with incredible performances, Tim Allen, no stranger to Christmas franchises, shines in a juxtaposing role to his usual jolly self. As a local drunk, who introduces himself to Eric as Charles Bukowski, Allen showcases a transformation in character not unlike that which we see of him in the Santa Claus movies, but housed in a very different kind of narrative. Allen is allowed to showcase his acting chops in a way that he hasn’t been able before, making El Camino Christmas a must watch this holiday season. You can watch El Camino Christmas right here, with your Netflix account:

Alita Battle Angel and the Anime Eyes

People who have seen the trailer for Alita: Battle Angel may have noticed something about the main character. One particular thing they may have noticed is her eyes. Her eyes are slightly larger than usual. This is a call back to the Manga as well as the typical anime where characters have eyes that take up a large portion of their faces. The current director, Robert Rodriguez has given Alita her large “anime eyes”. He also offers an explanation for the artistic choice. His explanation is that this is how James Cameron has always wanted to show Alita.

James Cameron has always wanted to be the director of the film. However, his schedule with the upcoming Avatar sequels leave very little room for him to do it. This seems to be a common occurrence with James Cameron. He has films that he wants to make, but is waiting until the technology is advanced enough to allow him to do it. He takes the right approach with films. He aims for quality over quantity. For one thing, pretty much all of his films are timeless. Even Terminator 2 has special effects that still exceed films made in recent years like Terminator Genisys.

Even though Robert Rodriguez has taken over the job as director, he has consulted James Cameron so that he can keep his vision alive. One thing that Robert has managed to do is bring the world to life. He has shown a lot of respect to James Cameron’s vision that it is safe to say that this is going to be another hit. Even though James Cameron is not going to direct this one, it is going to have his signature all over it. At the same time, it is safe to expect Robert Rodriguez to put his own spin on the technique. Alita: Battle Angel is expected to hit theaters sometime in the next year. It is going to be an achievement in visual effects and storytelling.

Hugh Jackman Not to Return as Wolverine in Future MCU Movies

There have been tons of talk about Fox being bought by Disney. There are plenty of franchises that Disney is going to be in control of. One of the franchises is X-Men. This means that there is a possibility that one of the beloved mutants could appear in the universe as early as Avengers 4. While this is exciting for many fans, there is one disappointing piece of information to come with this. Hugh Jackman, who has played Wolverine for more than 15 years has stated that he is not likely to return as the raging mutant with healing abilities.

While a lot of fans are protesting this, it is probably for the best of the franchise. As a matter of fact, Hugh Jackman’s return could actually dull the impact of Logan. Also, it is not necessarily the case the Wolverine is going to be the one to appear in the Avengers 4 film. There are plenty of other characters that can take the spotlight. Even though Wolverine has been the fan favorite in the films, the comics were filled with interesting characters that have been sidelined for the films. Fortunately, one thing that is certain is that Phase 4 might be even bigger for the MCU.

One thing that is interesting to note is that some of the stories that have been adapted to the big screen actually involved the X-Men in their comic book incarnation. When putting this into perspective, the X-Men are actually late to the party. Also, a lot of the major stories in the X-Men comics have already been told, and to retell them even in rebooted form could leave an underwhelming experience for the audience.

One good thing is that there is going to be a lot of creativity involved in bringing the X-Men to life. There would be other characters that have not been utilized in the X-Men movies to bring them to life. It is also expected that the characters will actually bear more resemblance to their comic counterparts.

The Last Jedi Faces Questions of A Couple of Characters

There are a ton of questions that have been directed towards the beloved Star Wars franchise, particularly the characters Poe and Finn. Many people have been hopeful for something more than a friendship. John Boyega and Oscar Isaacs have both gave their answers without giving anything away about the story. The one person who gives the most away about the story when he answers is Rian Johnson. His answers suggest that there is nothing unusual about the relationship between Finn and Poe. This may come as some kind of disappointment to some of the people who were really pushing for this “bromance”, but there has been a few scenes in The Force Awakens that suggest that Finn has a crush on Rey.

Another thing to consider is that this Star Wars saga is more about the battle between good and evil. It would be rather tricky to insert some kind of social pandering into the film in the saga without it being tacky at this point. Maybe in later installments this type of relationship can be explored, not as some kind of major celebration, but more like something that occurs in the universe.

The real thing to look for in The Last Jedi is in the story of Rey and Kylo Ren. Even though the trailers didn’t really give anything away, they do give hints to what may happen in the film. For instance, the trailers may have shown a pivotal point in the Rey and Kylo Ren story without using the exact scenes where it occurs.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on December 15, and it is most likely going to be an exciting thrill ride filled with twists and turns. According to the early reviews, it is almost as good as The Empire Strikes Back. Unlike The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi is not that likely to be a full on shot for shot remake of another Star Wars film with different characters.

No Spoiler Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review

Friday December 15th, marks the date Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters, and the moment many Star Wars fans have waited for since the release of The Force Awakens, the seminal reemergence of the classic space saga. The film deals with young Rey beginning her training with renowned Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, while Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, Leia, and the rebel squadron fight back against the First Order, led by the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke. With the world premiere of The Last Jedi having happened on Sunday the 10th, many critics’ reviews are already hitting the internet and heralding what will more than likely become the hit of the holiday season. Without giving away anything that may spoil your opening night screening, below is our short Spoiler Free review for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The Last Jedi serves as the series’ longest addition by far at just over two hours and thirty minutes. Along with this, it also stands out as the strangest of the now eight films, when it comes to narrative and overall direction of the story. This is not a bad thing. As Luke says himself in the trailers for the film, ‘This is not going to go the way you think.’ From start to finish, The Last Jedi is filled with twists and turns that make The Empire Strikes back big father reveal seem bantha fodder in comparison. Where it diverges from other Star Wars films in narration and story however, everything else here is pure, classic, Star Wars. Lightsaber battles dazzle, intense space combat leave you spinning, and answers to questions you’ve been waiting for since the end of The Force Awakens are given, while a few more are added on to keep you coming back.

Rian Johnson, director of The Last Jedi, has successfully carved out a film that will at once provide fan service, and speaks in a signature tone all its own. The stars and newcomers of The Last Jedi provide the film with performances to draw you in, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Issac, and John Boyega all hold their own as the films main draw, while Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher knock it out of the park in a way only Luke and Leia Skywalker could. For tickets to The Last Jedi in your area, and for further information on the film, and opening night, visit