The Suicide Squad Cast Hails the "Genius" of James Gunn and Geeks Out Over King Shark and Polka-Dot Man Plus, the team behind the acclaimed DC film breaks down some of the movie's most epic scenes and talks about the wildest version of Harley Quinn we've seen on screen yet. by RT Staff | July 29, 2021 | Comments
The CW s iZombie, now in its fifth and final season, proved to be the little comic book TV show that could.Based on the DC/Vertigo comic by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred, it tells the tale of Liv Moore (Rose McIver), a medical resident who ends up becoming a zombie at a party. But unlike the typical walking dead of other movies, TV shows, and comics, Liv can keep her wits about her thanks to a steady diet of brains, whose personalities and memories she absorbs. Abandoning her old life — and ditching all-American heartthrob fiance Major Lilywhite (Robert Buckley) in the process — she realized her affliction could be an asset. After getting a job at the county morgue to feed her new brain habit, she and her boss, Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli), team up with Seattle police officer Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) to solve murders by eating the brains of victims and accessing their memories to find out who killed them.The show grew from there with an ongoing arc about the origin of the zombie virus and, eventually, the world learning of their existence. By renewing the series for a fifth and final season, The CW allowed executive producer Rob Thomas the chance to wrap up Liv’s story and reveal the fate of New Seattle.(Photo by Michael Courtney/The CW)When Rotten Tomatoes visited the set of iZombie last November, co-star Robert Buckley joked that he had not heard the series was coming to an end.“This day keeps getting worse and worse,” he quipped. At the same time, his joke was somewhat based in truth: “This is the first year where I haven t asked ahead for what s going on. In previous seasons, the writing staff clued him in on their plans for Major, who was eventually also turned into a zombie. This time around, he (and star McIver, too) wanted to be in the dark and enjoy the suspense as the series built to its ultimate ending.“I don t know how it ends. I don t know if we re going to leave the door cracked [for a revival],” Buckley said.Although the ending was still unknown to both actors at the time of our interview, which took place in the middle of season 5 s filming schedule, McIver said she hoped Liv and Major were finally able commit to one other — at least in a more permanent fashion than the way the show has toyed with reuniting the couple in the past.“I think most romances — most relationships that I ever seek to believe in — have some sort of chaos that have led into them,” McIver said. “I think it makes you know each other that much better. You ve been friends as well. The kind of fairy tale illusion is shed, and that s good, because I think you don t really know somebody when you think that they re perfect.”Buckley recalled talking to Thomas about Major and Liv’s rapport before they shot the pilot. At the time, the executive producer compared them to Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelly Long) from Cheers, a.k.a. one of TV s all-time great “will they or won’t they?” couples. When he pressed his boss further about getting the two characters together for real, Buckley recalled Thomas saying that perhaps the two would finally make a go for it somewhere down the line, like in season 5.(Photo by Michael Courtney/The CW)Of course, romance is never an easy thing for the two characters, particularly in light of the insane obstacles they ve faced over the last several years. In season 4, Major killed Chase Graves (Jason Dohring) to save Liv s life, and ascended to the head of the Filmore-Graves private military corporation. With him as the new commander and Liv continuing on as Renegade, the two make an uneasy alliance to ensure brain matter continues to flow into New Seattle and prevent a zombie holocaust. And though it might be McIver’s wish to see them together, Liv and Major still have plenty to work through.“We ve forgiven each other, but you don t forget all of the difficulty that you ve gotten through,” she said. “So it s not like, ‘Oh he s straight back in, best friends, everything s smooth.’ It s a very complicated thing.”Beyond the characters personal issues, though, both have a keen interest in keeping the U.S. government from nuking New Seattle and its zombie population off the map.“We both want what s best for the people around us and the people we love,” McIver said. “I wouldn t say we ve banded together at every turn, but there s a definite respect for the way that we re handling it and the information that s shared between us.”Buckley agreed with that assessment.“We re both just trying to protect people and champion justice and all that, but we both found ourselves beginning on different paths and we ve just stayed on them,” he said, adding, “I think our common goal is the same.” He also added that the death of Chase will allow Major to be less rigid. “I think Major was being a good soldier in some of that, which was a bit extreme. [Now] there s a bit more flexibility.”(Photo by Bettina Strauss/The CW)The situation in New Seattle as season 5 begins is intense, but McIver promised the show will still find the funny.“[The] stakes are really high. The humor, though, is still really high, which I think is great,” she said. And despite Liv holding onto her role as Renegade and smuggling people into New Seattle, she will still have time to help Clive with cases.“I feel like I m pulling out all the stops,” she said of Liv’s transitions into other people’s personas this season, one of which she teased as “Salsa Brain.”“You re not metering yourself anymore. You re not playing this long game If we ve got ideas, [we] use them,” she continued. “If we have things that we haven t played with the other characters we re using them now. It s been pretty full-on, like, full gung-ho.”While being a zombie is a now an important facet of Liv s existence, there is always the possibility that the cure Ravi discovered in Isobel’s (Izabela Vidovic) brain could lead to a new way of life for the New Seattle zombies. But McIver is ambivalent about using the cure to offer Liv and Major a human ending.“It doesn t serve all of our metaphors,” she said.On the show, zombies symbolize “minorities or people who ve been marginalized” and offering a widespread cure would suggest that marginalization is like a disease to be eliminated and not a condition to be understood.(Photo by Jordon Nuttall/The CW)“I think it s great for the zombies to still be able to exist,” McIver said. “At this point, I feel like [it s] similar about humans eating meat. It would be great if an alternative came that was grown. You know how they re trying to make fake meat? An equivalent of that would be a really good thing, I feel like, for zombies — a fake brain compound.”Buckley said he would prefer for Major to remain a zombie as well.“I think when he became a zombie it sort of gave him a sense of purpose again in advocating for the less fortunate,” he explained. “Leave him in the minority and have him be their champion.”The two actors both reiterated that these are merely their hopes for the conclusion, as neither had seen the finale script. Nonetheless, it seemed McIver may not be ready to let Liv go. While McIver wore a wig while playing the character, she mentioned that she had recently dyed her hair blonde and cut it short, her character s trademark look. I didn t look anything like Liv the whole time I shot, she said. Now I m, like, clearly finding it hard to say goodbye.”iZombie airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.
Disney’s live-action reimaginings of their animated classics have been hit or miss, and those involving Tim Burton as a director and/or producer have particularly been on the lower end of the Tomatometer. His latest, Dumbo, is no exception, even if critics are calling the remake his best movie in years. According to the first reviews, there are bits and pieces to like about the new version, including some of the visuals and performances and the digital wizardry behind the titular flying elephant, but otherwise this Dumbo lacks the heart and magic of the original.Here’s what the critics are saying about Dumbo:How does it compare to the original?Dumbo does hit some of the familiar beats of the original film… but does so in ways that simply serve as reminders of how much better the animated film does it. Josh Spiegel, SlashfilmBurton and his collaborators took the beautiful and moving Dumbo and somehow managed to turn it into a throwaway kiddie adventure like Gus or Million Dollar Duck. Alonso Duralde, The WrapThis remake is still easier to take than the 1941 version. Stephanie Zacharek, TimeCartoon or live action, Dumbo remains a hero for the ages. Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-TimesWhere does it fit within Disney’s live-action remake trend?I found Dumbo to be the most successful of Disney’s recent slew of live-action adaptations. Anne Cohen, Refinery29In the realm of Disney s live-action remakes of or sequels to its various animated IP, Dumbo is squarely in the middle of the pack. Scott Mendelson, ForbesIt’s almost certain to be the most creatively inspired of the live-action remakes the studio is releasing this year. Dave Ehrlich, IndieWireDumbo has the look and atmosphere of a sincere blockbuster that’s trying too hard… to justify its existence as another live-action version of a fabled Disney cartoon. Owen Gleiberman, VarietyUnlike [Burton’s] Alice, Dumbo often rises to the level of tolerable. Josh Spiegel, Slashfilm(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)Where does it rank among Tim Burton s recent work?Burton paints a gorgeous tapestry that brings to mind his most creative work. Vinnie Mancuso, ColliderOne of the director’s better films of recent years — even as it reveals some of his more frustrating shortcomings. Bilge Ebiri, VultureDumbo is Tim Burton’s best movie in years. But that’s not saying much… At least it doesn’t have Johnny Depp in it. Kristy Puchko, PajibaYou could say that this is technically Tim Burton’s best film in at least a decade, which is more of a backhanded compliment than anything else. Josh Spiegel, SlashfilmTo the limited extent that Dumbo works, it ultimately does so because Burton finds a way to make it his own without choking the life out of the source material. Dave Ehrlich, IndieWireIt’s still nowhere near the level of his early masterpieces, but it’s at least a little closer. Matt Singer, ScreenCrushHow is the extended adaptation of the story?Here’s what’s bad: The story. The characters. Bilge Ebiri, VultureThe writer has been miscast. He brings the same light touch and airy whimsy he brought to three separate Transformers pictures. Michael Phillips, Chicago TribuneThe human characters in the original film are mostly non-entities… the new film hasn’t figured out a way to make most of them any more interesting. Josh Spiegel, Slashfilm[The main character] is as paper thin as the romantic subplot… which I won’t bother dedicating much time to because Dumbo certainly doesn’t. Kristy Puchko, PajibaApart from that FX elephant the movie doesn’t come up with a single character who hooks us emotionally. Owen Gleiberman, Variety(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)And the CGI elephant himself?Dumbo himself is a hell of a creation… The highest compliment I can pay to the film s FX wizards is that I forgot I was watching an artificial creation for much of the movie. Scott Mendelson, ForbesThe folks over at RISE Visual Effects Studios took what easily could’ve been an unnerving sight and turned it into a genuinely loveable CGI creation with an actual personality to boot. Vinnie Mancuso, ColliderThe visual team did a good job creating a cute baby elephant that makes audiences go awwww. Christie Cronan, Raising WhasiansWhat about the rest of the visuals?Rick Heinrich’s production design is where this movie really gets its wings. Anne Cohen, Refinery29Rick Heinrichs richly textured production design and Colleen Atwood s beautiful period costumes are the stars. David Rooney, Hollywood ReporterThe spectacle never gets tedious or tiresome or confusing. I could watch the circus scenes of this film forever, and thankfully, there are plenty of them. Bilge Ebiri, VultureSo many of the film’s digital effects (and there are so, so many of them) have that glossy, shiny neither-here-nor-there quality that so often turns contemporary movies into visual mush. Not even the circus atmosphere provides any kind of flair. Alonso Duralde, The Wrap(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)How is Michael Keaton?Delightfully scenery-chewing. Kristy Puchko, PajibaKeaton in particular is dialed up to 11… what I can only describe as business Beetlejuice. Karen Han, PolygonThe best villain that a Bioshock game never had. David Ehrlich, IndieWireI can’t even tell you what Michael Keaton is going for as V.A. Vandevere, but I do know I’m here for every campy second of it. Vinnie Mancuso, ColliderDisappointingly thin; he’s a bad guy with a sandpaper voice but no layers. Owen Gleiberman, VarietyPerhaps the greatest disappointment, as he looks totally bored. Hannah Woodhead, Little White LiesAre there any other standout performances?DeVito is perfect. Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment WeeklyDeVito soars. Completing the trilogy of ring masters he started as The Penguin and continued in Big Fish, the actor is sublime as Max Medici. David Ehrlich, IndieWireNico Parker and Finley Hobbins do much of the heavy lifting as Farrell s children, offering surprisingly understated dramatic turns and never trying to steal scenes from the title character. Scott Mendelson, ForbesParker’s performance hints at a promising future. Anne Cohen, Refinery29Alan Arkin has a hilarious extended cameo as a banker who barks his lines as if he’s lost his hearing aid. Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)Does the movie have any messages to convey?Burton leans in hard on the animal rights angle here, and though cheesy, it works. Anne Cohen, Refinery29Blessedly, it has a surprising pro-animal rights agenda wrapped in the subtly rebellious tale of a band of outsiders