Bennett Campbell Ferguson

‘Paddington 2’ Trailer: The Beloved Bear Is Back

The live-action/animation hybrid “Paddington,” which starred Ben Whishaw as the voice of the title bear from Michael Bond‘s book series, made a big impression when it moseyed into theaters in 2015. While it cost $55 million to make, it earned over $268 million at the worldwide box office and a 98 percent Rotten Tomatoes score (and yes, for those of you who are counting, that’s one percent better than “Boyhood”).

Under normal circumstances, January’s “Paddington 2” would be an easy breeze into the multiplex. But was attached to the beleaguered Weinstein Company, the studio that’s now on the brink of bankruptcy in the wake of sexual-abuse allegations against the man who has long been the face of the company, Harvey Weinstein. Bob Weinstein, the Weinstein Company executive who is Harvey’s brother, made a statement indicating that the scandal would not affect “Paddington 2.” But that was before Bob himself was also accused of sexual abuse, which has put his future with the company in doubt. Thankfully, “Paddington 2” has been rescued from all that ugliness by Warner Bros., who will be releasing the movie in North America.

In addition to returning cast members Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins, the sequel features Richard Ayoade and Brendan Gleeson. With a cast of that caliber, the movie should at least be bear-able.

“Paddington 2” opens on January 12, 2018.

‘Journeyman’ Trailer: Paddy Considine Fights For His Life

We’ve been waiting a while for Paddy Considine to get back behind the camera following his excellent and underrated BAFTA-Award winning “Tyrannosaur.” Well, the time has finally arrived as he’s pulling off triple duty writing, directing, and starring in “Journeyman.”

Also featuring Jodie Whittaker (“One Day”), Faraz Ayub (“Honor”), Tony Pitts (“War Horse”) and Paul Popplewell (“’71”), beneath the boxing drama surface of the movie lies the story of a pugilist who has to rebuild his entire life after suffering a traumatic brain injury in the ring. Here’s the official synopsis:

Journeyman is a powerful and beautiful story about loss and, ultimately, triumph. It’s about our identity, and how in life we sometimes have to dig deep into our soul to discover who we really are.

Matty Burton is the middleweight boxing champion of the world. Now, coming towards the end of his career, he knows that he must make his money and get out of the game. His aim is to secure a home with his wife Emma, and a future for their baby daughter Mia. His opponent is the brash and controversial Nassar Ali. A big puncher that courts controversy with his outlandish statements. Nassar’s intent is to rip the title from Matty, a task that Nassar feels is going to be easy. After a titanic battle, Matty returns home to Emma, but moments later collapses on the living room floor from a delayed reaction to a devastating punch. When Matty awakes from the coma, the real fight begins. Suffering from memory loss and with his personality altered, Matty must begin to piece his life back together as his world disintegrates.

“Journeyman” opens in the U.K. on February 16, 2018. No word yet on a U.S. date. [Empire]

Exclusive: Denis Villeneuve Admits He’s Been In Contact About Next James Bond, But ‘Dune’ Is Next [Podcast]

Denis Villeneuve is recovering from the long production process on the critically acclaimed “Blade Runner 2049” not by taking a vacation, but working on the script of his upcoming adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel “Dune.” While Villeneuve is still a potential Best Director nominee for his incredible work on the unexpected Sci-Fi sequel, the biggest unanswered question of the day remains whether he’s potentially directing the next James Bond film.

In September, a report claimed Daniel Craig’s first choice for the follow up to “Spectre” was Villeneuve. The Canadian filmmaker was also listed as one of the producer’s top three picks. When I asked him about whether he’d be directing the new 007 flick Villeneuve kept the door open, but seemed to infer his priority was “Dune.”

READ MORE: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ To Lose $80 Million

“The thing is I don’t now about that, but listen,” Villeneuve says. “Daniel Craig is a very inspiring actor and I had some contact and the thing is that I’m busy right now doing ‘Dune.’ But, I will say to have the privilege to work with him it would be a dream. I would love to work with Daniel and a Bond movie for me would be a treat. It’s a matter of timing, I guess.”

During our conversation, Villeneuve went in-depth on how the film’s biggest secret remained one, his feeling about reviews, the passion Harrison Ford still has for acting and details of the extremely complicated hologram lounge fight, among other topics.

You can listen to this episode in the Soundcloud embed below or on iTunes. If you do listen on iTunes please rate, subscribe and share it with your friends!

Look for upcoming podcast episodes featuring “Darkest Hour” screenwriter Anthony McCraten and two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz, among others. And check out previous episodes with “Thor: Ragnarok’s” Taika Waititi,“The Florida Project’s” Sean Baker, “Detroit’s” John Boyega, get behind the scenes T with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” producers and more on Soundcloudor on iTunes.

For more movie and Oscar insight follow me on Twitter @TheGregoryE.

  • Daniel Thron

    Beyond excited to see his version of Dune .

  • Knight Rider

    Bond probably won’t start shooting for another year. So, I think he’ll have time to complete his work on Dune.

Are We Sure There Are No More Heroes Left In The World? [Adjust Your Tracking Podcast]

Seriously, are there any heroes left? We think so…

On this episode of Adjust Your Tracking, Joe and I fall in to a more free-flowing, long form discussion about the gnarly reality of an ever-changing Hollywood that seems to have finally been woken up to its own awful history, and may even be heading to a better future (we can only hope). Though, of course, we can’t help but reference, and champion, three new films out in the world that make a great argument, even in this troubled current movie landscape, that heroes do still exist.

READ MORE: “Why We Have To Separate The Art From Artist, And Why We Can’t”

One of them, “Jane,” a fantastic documentary about legendary Chimp researcher Jane Goodall that’s also an utterly beautiful cinematic experience, shows us a real-life hero that followed her dreams into life — and scienc e —altering success. The other two films we discuss exist online, both heavy-on-action genre pieces that are well worth catching up with soon: “Brawl In Cell Block 99” available on most VOD services and “Wheelman,” a Netflix original.

LISTEN: AYT Talks ‘Lady Bird’ & ‘The Square’

Just a heads up listeners, my choice for our special segment HOLD UP, in which we look back at a movie to see if it, in fact, holds up, is coming on next week’s planned episode. We’re still going to discuss David O. Russell‘s 2004 misfire (or masterwork?), “I Heart Huckabees,” so watch it if you want to follow along with us.

All episodes of Adjust Your Tracking are part of The Playlist Podcast Network and can be found on iTunes,Soundcloudand Stitcher. You can stream or download the podcast via the Soundcloud embed below or up top. You can also subscribe on iTunes to get them on the regular. Leave us a review and rating there if you’re so inclined and help spread the word on our podcast.

As always, thanks for listening!

Clearing ‘The Fog’ & Getting Lost in ‘The Mist’ [Over/Under Movies Podcast]

Welcome to another edition of Over/Under Movies, the podcast in which we choose one overrated film and one underrated film — similar in tone, genre, style, or however we may see fit — and we discuss them.

Every year during Autumn, each of us go through a round of horror-themed or horror-inspired picks. We usually do them throughout the month of October, but as usual, life gets in the way. But, because it’s still fall, and because we love horror films and watch them all year long anyway, we’re still trekking forward. This first round is my co-host Oktay Ege Kozak‘s picks, fitting together as a precipitation-themed double bill. We start with the overrated pick, which is John Carpenter‘s “The Fog,” the director’s 1980 follow-up to “Halloween.” The film’s reception was mixed during its release, but has slowly started to become appreciated as a cult classic. While we find a lot to like about it (the score is one of Carpenter’s very best), we also note how the movie is kind of a mess and how the different types of horror within the film rarely gel together.

The underrated pick is Frank Darabont‘s 2007 Stephen King adaptation of “The Mist,” which has also garnered appreciation in the decade since its release. But upon rewatching it, we ponder why this isn’t as well regarded as Darabont’s other King adaptations (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Green Mile“), and assume it is because of the genre-bent that have some people looking down on it. We argue that it manages to be both an effective horror film, a social commentary, and a bleak outlook that couldn’t be more appropriate to our current times.

All shows and episodes are part of The Playlist Podcast Network, and can be found on iTunes, Soundcloud, or Stitcher. To listen on this page, you can stream the podcast via the SoundCloud embed below or up top. Subscribe to us on iTunes, and you’ll get this podcast as well as our other shows regularly. Feel free to leave us a comment or rating if you are so inclined.

As always, thanks for listening!

Ryan Oliver

Does ‘Justice League’ Live Up To Its Mighty Gallery Of Heroes? [Podcast]

Welcome to another edition of The Playlist Podcast, a discussion about film news and other film and television related items.

On this episode, I’m joined as usual by Playlist Editor-in-Chief Rodrigo Perez to discuss the big movie this weekend, and one of the most anticipated films of the fall movie season: “Justice League.”

Given that this podcast is usually dedicated to “state of the industry” talks, we have spoken ad nauseam about “Justice League” and the DCEU as a whole — all year. We’ve discussed Joss Whedon s “Batgirl that is supposedly in the works, the reshoots that “Justice League” underwent (overseen by Whedon), the back-and-forth rollercoaster about whether or not Ben Affleck will continue playing Batman, the standalone Joker movie that is being produced, et cetera, et cetera. There’s been a lot to cover, but all of it has cumulated into a film that unites Earth’s mightiest heroes under one roof. So for this episode, the industry chatter is put on the back-burner as we discuss the film itself, and whether or not it lives up the the years-in-the-making hype that has been building.

Fair warning: We do get into a ***SPOILER DISCUSSION*** around the 23:28-minute mark. So, if you are planning on catching “Justice League” later this weekend or later in its theatrical run, be sure to come back to listen to the back half of the episode after you have seen the film.

All shows and episodes are part of The Playlist Podcast Network, and can be found on iTunes, Soundcloud, or Stitcher. To listen on this page, you can stream the podcast via the SoundCloud embed below or up top. Subscribe to us on iTunes, and you’ll get this podcast as well as our other shows regularly. Feel free to leave us a comment or rating if you are so inclined.

As always, thanks for listening!

Talking The Good & The Bad In ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ [Adjust Your Tracking Podcast]

Sometimes a filmmaker just misses the forest for the trees…

On this episode of Adjust Your Tracking, Joe and I start things off by riffing on problematic filmmakers, especially in the light of the now-it’s-official Louis C.K. sexual harassment allegations, and his subsequent admission to the wrongdoing. I had a chance to see his latest, now-forever-buried “I Love You, Daddy,” and it ain’t pretty. Regardless of his public persona and awful misdeeds, this movie is just terrible. Plain and simple.

What’s not so clean cut and easy to dismiss, though, are our thoughts on “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” The film, a surefire Oscar-contender with a strong cast — led by Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell — and the third feature from writer/director Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges“), is already gaining strong numbers at the limited box office. The audience is clearly hungry for this odd mix of prestige picture and righteous, brutally comic melodrama. And that’s a good thing, as we get into what works about the confrontational, timely film (a lot), but we do have some strong complaints about it as well.

LISTEN: AYT Talks ‘Jane’, ‘Brawl In Cell Block 99’ & ‘Wheelman’

At the back half of the podcast, we discuss my choice for our special segment HOLD UP, in which we look back at a movie to see if it, in fact, holds up: David O. Russell‘s 2004 misfire (or masterwork?), “I Heart Huckabees.” We get into it, so tune in.

All episodes of Adjust Your Tracking are part of The Playlist Podcast Network and can be found on iTunes,Soundcloudand Stitcher. You can stream or download the podcast via the Soundcloud embed below or up top. You can also subscribe on iTunes to get them on the regular. Leave us a review and rating there if you’re so inclined and help spread the word on our podcast.

As always, thanks for listening!

‘This Is Congo’ Is A Gripping Look At Congo’s Troubled History [DOC NYC Review]

There’s a pliability to the title of Daniel McCabe’s documentary “This Is Congo”: It’s both a contract between the author and his audience and an apathetic shrug of the shoulders. McCabe immediately announces his purpose in making the film, a primer on the status of the Democratic Republic of Congo, while also capturing the surrender his subjects give to that status. DR Congo is a land in flux and has been for centuries thanks to incursions from foreign interlopers as well as corrupt Congolese rulers. Its inhabitants know this. “This is Congo,” we’re told toward the end of the film. The phrase isn’t meant as an introduction. It’s meant as acceptance. This is Congo, torn by conflict, ever at war with itself. The film packs the nation’s awful history into just three words.

If we give McCabe sole credit for “This Is Congo,” the title feels like a brilliant orchestration of wordplay. If we give the people he and his crew interview credit instead, and likely he’d prefer we do that rather than giving it to him, it’s an expression of mourning. “This Is Congo” crams an incredible amount of background into just under ninety minutes, telling the story of how Congo came to be, well, Congo, a country colonized and demolished and looted over the passage of eras and countless lifetimes by wicked people at the expense of the rightful beneficiaries to its bounty of natural resources. At the same time, the film has the perspective to complement its three-pronged narrative. It’s more than an info dump. It’s an honest to goodness story.

You might also describe it as an act of daring. McCabe spends a good chunk of the movie in the company of Mamadou Ndala, a Colonel in the DRC’s armed forces and a hero in the eyes of its people. (Some of them, at least.) By the time “This Is Congo” reaches its third act, Mamadou has repelled soldiers of the March 23 Movement, or M23, or the Congolese Revolutionary Army if you prefer; he has attained heroic status and won the hearts of the villagers in Goma, the capital city in DR Congo’s North Kivu province, bordered by Rwanda with the edge of Uganda looming over it. We hear a lot about Goma from McCabe’s coterie of participants. Every Congolese tribe is represented in Goma. Violence makes itself at home here, too; it’s said that Goma’s main power is the power of the gun. We’re convinced well before McCabe films Mamadou and his men thwarting M23’s advance.

It’s not every day that a documentary shakes the ground as surely as the average blockbuster, or keeps us on the edge of our seat like a good thriller. “This Is Congo” doesn’t care to entertain us, but it does grip us. McCabe’s proximity to Mamadou is impressive enough when he’s merely an interviewee. His willingness to keep filming even in combat is jaw-dropping. “This Is Congo” drops us right into war’s center. It isn’t pretty. We’re spared gory details, of course; McCabe isn’t a vulture. But he’s able to get the point across regardless. DR Congo is a shattered country.

Amazingly, the film’s devotion to its truth lets us sympathize with Mamadou when we might not otherwise feel inclined to. We first meet him as his troops administer a severe beating to one of their comrades; the man walks away intact, but “This Is Congo” lets his cries for mercy pierce us without hesitation. They claw at us. The experience is horrible. McCabe doesn’t take a side here, really, other than the side of “the people” as an abstract concept. He’s clearly sympathetic to the plight of the Congolese caught betwixt the schemes of men eager to claim the Congo for its vast resources. To think of the country’s inborn wealth in contrast to the extreme poverty McCabe’s camera shows us is to confront the worst human horrors head on. The legacy of the Congolese is not prosperity but greed, embodied here by politicians who find both clandestine and overt ways of lining their pockets as everyone else suffers and starves.

But that greed extends to Mamadou, too. After he wins the day on behalf of his superiors, those very same superiors swoop in and start gobbling up the glory for themselves. Whatever you feel about the mechanics of the Congo’s seemingly endless wars, and the actors involved in them, it’s hard not to feel pity for Mamadou as he, too, is victimized by the avarice of the country’s rulers. Their hunger is absolute and insatiable. The film never quite asks us to take a side, preferring to merely document and let the viewer decide where they stand. All the same, it’s impossible not to feel anything other than disgust for the military brass and for the bureaucrats, not to mention the colonists and the slavers, who callously, selfishly take from the many to benefit the few.

“This Is Congo” has a point to prove and a righteous fury with which to prove it. But it’s focused and precise, which makes the sheer breadth of context required to understand it much easier to digest. If you know nothing about the Congo, McCabe has you covered — though nothing he does will prepare you for the shock of seeing firefights and artillery strikes this up close. [B+]