Tom Hardy is a web-slinging anti-hero!

A few weeks ago, Sony Pictures announced that the Marvel character and Spider-Man antagonist Venom would be featured in a standalone spinoff set to arrive in theaters sometime next year. The fan-favorite character has already made his big-screen debut in the disappointing blockbuster Spider-Man 3, portrayed by Topher Grace, but this project is seen as an opportunity for Sony to get the character right and potentially usher in a new anti-hero universe based on Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.

News has broken that names have now been confirmed to sign on for the spinoff. Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer will direct and Oscar nominee Tom Hardy is set to star in film.

Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, the latter of whom worked on 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, wrote the script for Venom. Plot details are being kept in the black but Hardy, who is said to be a Venom fan, will play Eddie Brock, the character who first became Venom.

Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are producing along with Amy Pascal.

The internet is calling this casting a coup and I can’t help but agree. Hardy is an excellent actor who is a year removed from his first Oscar nomination in The Revenant and has starred in action and drama movies a plenty including Inception, Warrior, has a superhero movie under his belt already portraying the sinister Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, rode through the wasteland in Mad Max: Fury Road and will star in the upcoming Dunkirk; I can’t help but be impressed by Hardy’s body of work thus far and I look forward to seeing him give life to this tragic and deadly character. Venom is set to snare an audience on October 5, 2018.

Jimmy Kimmel will host the Oscars. Again.

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Image by Angela George, via Wikimedia Commons

A few months ago, a moment which I like to believe was the greatest upset of all time occurred under the watch of Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel, obviously, was not at fault for the controversial mix-up at the Oscars but the consequences for the Best Picture mix-up have led to shakeups. Fortunately, Kimmel will avoid said shakeups. That’s right, Kimmel is back for a second tour of duty as Oscars host!

Jimmy Kimmel will be back as host of the Oscars when the 90th edition of the annual Academy Awards ceremony is held March 4.

The Academy and ABC announced Tuesday that the late night host will reunite with producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd for the 2018 show.

I welcome this news since I found Kimmel an entertaining and refreshing Master of Ceremonies during the 89th Oscars. He fueled his “feud” with Oscar nominee Matt Damon, he arranged for cookies and doughnuts to parachute from the ceiling upon the audience, he had a Lion King moment with Lion star Sunny Pawar, he made sure the President was watching, he arranged for tourists to stop by and have photo moments with the nominees; he certainly kept the show interesting and I look forward to his encore on March 4, 2019.

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

As entertaining as Guardians of the Galaxy was, writer and director James Gunn left a very important question in the film unanswered: who is Star-Lord’s father? In the comics Peter Quill is the son of the Spartoi monarch named J’son, who would go on to become the villain Mister Knife, but Gunn wanted to take Star-Lord’s parentage in an entirely new direction and dedicated a significant amount of the plot to exploring this subject in the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

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Image by Marvel Studios

Essentially, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Baby Groot finally discover the truth about the heritage of their leader when they encounter a man named Ego, who saved them from retaliation after one of their own slighted and stole from Ayesha, the high-priestess of a very pompous and arrogant race of beings called The Sovereign. Ego happens to be much more than a man; he’s an actual sentient planet. Yes, you read that correctly.

Throughout the film, the Guardians of the Galaxy find answers to questions and delve into some deep issues about themselves and each other. Suffice to say, the first film introduced who these characters are but this sequel explores who these characters are and what makes them tick; the film takes the initiative to delve into Star-Lord’s issues of resentment toward Ego’s absence in his life and his upbringing by Yondu, Gamora and his sister issues with Nebula, Drax’s…um…”forthcomingness” and his new “friendship” with Ego’s empathic aid Mantis, Rocket “raising” Baby Groot and his new kinship with Yondu and it all leads to some very dark revelations about Ego and what his plans for his son hold.

I found Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to be a thrill ride! There was laughter, depth, dazzle, emotion; this movie was a quality blockbuster brilliantly orchestrated by James Gunn and I dare say that this was the most fun I’ve ever had watching a Marvel Studios motion picture.

Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn with the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper were simply on point from start to finish and the newcomers including Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki, Sylvester Stallone, Pom Klementieff, Chris Sullivan and Tommy Flanagan, their contributions only bolstered the appeal of this film for me. Everyone involved in the performance aspects in this movie, I could feel the fun they had with this picture and that only made me enjoy this more.

Tyler Bates’ music, Henry Braham’s cinematography, Fred Raskin and Craig Wood’s editing, Scott Chambliss’ production design, the art direction, the make-up, Judianna Makovsky’s costumes and the outstanding visual effects, everything I saw in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was pure eye-candy and sensory bliss!

If I had to zone in on one particular flaw it’s that it felt like the film was juggling the subplots of the picture for most of the second act, particularly because the majors players of the film were separated for most of the picture but when they are finally united in the face of Ego’s grand design, it’s a satisfying payoff.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 is bigger, bolder, brighter and braver than it’s predecessor and I believe that it did enough to set the stage for the galaxy’s band of a**holes outlaws for what is to come in Vol. 3. This is a must see movie IMO.

Movie of the Week: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Finally, they’re back! Marvel’s rag-tag team of intergalactic outlaws rides again and audiences could not be more excited! After saving the universe from the wrath of Ronan the Accuser, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and now, Baby Groot, traverse the spaceways for the second installment of their adventures doing a bit of good, a bit of bad and/or a LOT of both! This time, their adventures lead this team to old and new friends and foes. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is on of my most anticipated films of the year and the perfect film to kick off the summer season IMO.

Director: James Gunn

Writer: James Gunn

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan and the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper.

What am I expecting to see?: Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t perfect but it was entertaining enough to win me over and I for one could not be more excited for Vol. 2, especially with all of the glowing acclaim the film has received earlier this year. I go into the week, ready for what Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has to offer, the surprises, the obvious, and the unexpected. BRING IT ON A-HOLES!

Review: Free Fire

It has most certainly been a while since my last review but I had a good reason for not writing one: there was nothing of interest for me to see lately, so I passed the time by posting news articles. On Friday, I managed to see something interesting in theaters and I thought I think this might be worth a review, so let’s jump right into Free Fire shall we?

From director Ben Wheatley, who wrote this with Amy Jump, Free Fire is a rousing, absurd but moderately entertaining shoot-em-up set in 1978 Boston, where a transaction to procure firearms between two criminal organizations goes horribly, horribly wrong!

Basically, you take a collection of good actors in Arnie Hammer, Sharlto Copely, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Enzo Cilenti, Michael Smiley, Babou Cessay, Sam Riley, Jack Reynor, Noah Taylor, Patrick Bergen and Mark Monero, put them in a very volatile situation, put a gun in each of their hands, douse the situation with proverbial gasoline and have one gun go off to light the situation up. Then just sit back and revel in the carnage and let this one thought occupy your mind as you watch the bullets fly: “These people are the worst shots EVER!”

Free Fire won’t make a lot of critical noise, but it certainly isn’t a quiet picture because Wheatley allows the action and pacing of the simple plot to take center stage and the action is enough to keep its audience satisfied. These characters are all shooting at each other, getting shot, squirming around on the ground covered in glass, debris and one guy who is crawling around on the ground gets stuck with a used syringe at one point, but what’s happening and what develops is stimulating enough to keep you engaged with the picture.

I think Ben Wheatley made a very rugged and respectable film. The action is simple but welcome and the pacing of the film is also commendable. The writing is also very refreshing; this was my first time sampling something from Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley and I like what I experienced.

This isn’t exactly a movie to evaluate the actors since no one performance stands apart from the rest but the cast is definitely fun to watch.

Laurie Rose’s cinematography definitely lets you feel like you are in the middle of the action, the editing of Jump and Wheatley are precise; they don’t use any cut or jump to waste a moment, Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury’s music takes something of a backseat to the picture but the use of John Denver music is cool, Emma Fryer’s costumes are on point, Paki Smith’s production, Paul Frost and Nigel Pollock’s art decoration and Liz Griffiths’ set decoration all add to the rich mise-en-scene of the film.

Free Fire may be a low-budget movie, but the action is top-shelf and its overall value is worth the price of admission. I had fun watching Free Fire, and if you have an afternoon to kill and would like to see something silly and surprising, I’d recommend Free Fire to change your pace.

Captain Marvel Will Have Two Directors

The lineup for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will lead to The Avengers: Infinity War, set for release on May 4, 2018. Captain Marvel, starring Academy Award winner Brie Larson figures to be a part of this lineup somehow but Marvel Studios has significant plans for the superheroine. It was announced that Larson landed the role late last year and Marvel Studios would search for a director to helm the film starring Larson and written by Meg LeFauve and Nicole Perlman. It was a widely held belief that Captain Marvel would have a female director since she would be the first Marvel heroine to lead her own movie but now the search has concluded and the film does indeed have a female director but with a twist. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck got the job!

Image by Vanity Fair

I confess, this has certainly caught me by surprise since I have no idea where these two came from but judging by Marvel’s hiring process, it makes sense.

Execs met with the duo many times before the studio decided to go with them and the pair impressed the studio time and time again with their vision for the heroine. The two have experience in both the TV and film world, which Marvel sees as a strength.

Best known for their character-study dramas like Ryan Gosling’s “Half Nelson” and Ryan Reynolds’ “Mississippi Grind,” Boden and Fleck directed episodes for such popular TV shows as “The Affair” and “Billions.”

Considering how Kevin Feige and Marvel have gambled and won on talents such as the Russo Brothers, Peyton Reed and James Gunn and trusted filmmakers like Jon Watts, Taika Waititi, Ryan Coogler and Scott Derrickson with leading productions on their pivotal heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Boden and Fleck follow a pattern that has served Marvel well in the past. I’m not familiar with their work together to this point but I’ll certainly have my eye on where Captain Marvel will go from this point forward. Captain Marvel set for release on March 8, 2019.

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Image by Marvel Studios

It’s time for the Jedi…to end?! The Last Jedi trailer

The next chapter of a new generation is on the horizon. When last we left the Star Wars universe, the scavenger Rey was swept up into the fray between the First Order and the Resistance and at the center of this conflict was one individual: Luke Skywalker. The legendary Jedi Knight, who once proved pivotal in the overthrow of the sinister Galactic Empire, suddenly vanished in the galaxy’s most turbulent hour and the quest to locate him has delivered gains and losses on both sides. At the conclusion of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Rey made her way to come face-to-face with the mythic Skywalker and where this encounter goes from where the last film left off, forebodes a grim outcome. This is the teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Jimmy Vee, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Mark Hamill, Laura Dern, Benecio Del Toro, Billie Lourd, Gwendoline Christie and the late Carrie Fisher. The fate of the galaxy will be revealed on December 15, 2017.