This week s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Knives Out 2 (and 3), ThunderCats, and the 7th and 8th Transformers.This WEEK S TOP STORYGODZILLA VS KONG DIRECTOR YELLS THUNDER, THUNDER, THUNDER, THUNDERCATS HO! (Photo by Jason Mendez/Everett Collection, (c)Telepictures Corp.)So many iconic comics, toys, games, and TV shows have at some point been adapted into movies that it might be surprising to learn which ones haven t. The original American animated series ThunderCats is remembered fondly by many 1980s kids and teenagers, but despite a couple of revival series in 2011 and 2020, ThunderCats has eluded a live-action movie. Some of that might have to do with the necessary makeup, as they re basically humanoids of various big cats (Lion-O is a lion, Cheetara is a cheetah, and so forth). Rumors of a possible ThunderCats movie date back at least 2007, when test footage for a CGI ThunderCats was done (which you can watch right here). This week s Godzilla vs Kong (Certified Fresh at 78%) features a setting that sort of resembles the Third Earth of ThunderCats, so it s not entirely surprising that the film s director, Adam Wingard, has signed with Warner Bros. to direct and co-write the ThunderCats movie. Wingard s writing partner on the CGI/live-action hybrid ThunderCats will be Simon Barrett, who was previously Wingard s writer on You re Next (Certified Fresh at 79%), The Guest (Certified Fresh at 91%), and Blair Witch (Rotten at 37%). You can read interviews with Wingard where he talks about ThunderCats and his upcoming Face/Off sequel at Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter.Other Top Headlines1. WARNER BROS PULLS THE PLUG ON NEW GODS AND AQUAMAN SPINOFF(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)From the hiring of Ta-Nehisi Coates to reboot Superman to the casting of the first Latina Supergirl to their new Blue Beetle, Hourman, Batgirl, and Zatanna movies, Warner Bros. has been particularly busy in early 2021 seemingly readying to move their DC Comics movies in a new direction. Although Zack Snyder didn t direct all of their recent movies (obviously), the three DCEU films he did direct left a long unifying shadow over many of them. This week, Warner Bros. appeared to make room for some of those new projects by shelving two of them. Warner Bros. has stopped development of Ava DuVernay s New Gods (based on a Jack Kirby series similar to his Eternals for Marvel) and James Wan s The Trench, which would have been an underwater horror movie spun off from the monsters in Aquaman. Although both movies were shelved, Warner Bros is holding out the possibility that they could be revived at some later point. In related news, this week Warner Bros. also hired screenwriter Randy McKinnon, who wrote the football drama Safety for Disney+, to work on their adaptation of DC Comics Static Shock, which Michael B. Jordan is producing for the studio.2. NETFLIX LANDS KNIVES OUT SEQUELS IN MASSIVE DEAL (Photo by Claire Folger/©Lionsgate)After the star-studded ensemble mystery Knives Out (Certified Fresh at 97%) earned over 1 million from a budget of just million, it was quickly obvious that the film would probably get at least one sequel, and by January of last year, that s exactly what began to take shape. With Knives Out, Lionsgate suddenly had a lucrative franchise that promised to be the mini-major studio s biggest since The Hunger Games. Director Rian Johnson planned Knives Out very wisely, however, retaining all rights after that first film, so he was in a position this week to sell two Knives Out sequels to Netflix in a deal worth over 0 million (i.e. million than the first movie earned). Daniel Craig will return as detective Benoit Blanc for both sequels, the first of which will start filming at locations in Greece this summer, 2021.3. IN THE HEIGHTS STAR JOINS ONE OF MULTIPLE UPCOMING TRANSFORMERS PROJECTS (Photo by Jason Mendez/Everett Collection)Although the Transformers movies have mostly earned Rotten Tomatometer scores (except the most recent, Bumblebee, which was Certified Fresh at 91%), those movies have also earned nearly billion worldwide, so Paramount Pictures obviously has an incentive to keep on making them. This week, Paramount s efforts to keep the Transformers franchise alive got a little confusing, as two separate Transformers projects made the news within a few days of feach other. Let s start with In the Heights star Anthony Ramos, who is being eyed by Paramount to be the lead in the next Transformers movie to be filmed, under the direction of Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II, Certified Fresh at 83%). Also this week, we learned Charm City Kings director Angel Manuel Soto is now developing another Transformers project, separate from the one starring Ramos. Soto is also developing the Blue Beetle movie for Warner Bros., which was announced earlier this year. Finally, in addition to these two projects, Paramount is also developing an animated feature film to be directed by Josh Cooley (Toy Story 4).4. STEVEN YEUN TO STAR IN JORDAN PEELE S MYSTERIOUS NEXT FILM (Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)Following the success of his directorial debut Get Out (Certified Fresh at 98%), Jordan Peele cast Lupita Nyong o to star in his mysterious next film, which we now know as Us (Certified Fresh at 93%). Two years later, Jordan Peele is again preparing for a project shrouded in mystery, but this time around, the Academy Award-nominated star that he is eyeing to cast is Steven Yeun, who is up for an Oscar this year for his role in Minari (Certified Fresh at 98%). So little is known about the project that we don t even know what genre it is, much less any clue about the premise or setting. The only other details we have right now is that Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, who is also Oscar-nominated this year for his supporting role in Judas and the Black Messiah (Certified Fresh at 96%), is also in talks, as is Keke Palmer, and that the release date is July 22, 2022.5. RUSSELL CROWE JOINS THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER (BUT AS WHO OR WHAT?)(Photo by © Universal Pictures)Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi has been filming the fourth Thor movie, Thor: Love and Thunder, on sets in Sydney, Australia for over two months now, and as late as this week, we re still finding out about new cast members. In addition to the various returning MCU stars (including Chris Pratt and other Guardians of the Galaxy), the Thor: Love and Thunder cast even before this week s news included Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher and Melissa McCarthy as the actress who plays Hela in an Asgardian play. To that list, we can also now include Australian star Russell Crowe, but that s really all we know about his participation right now. Fans have been making lots of guesses (including Beta Ray Bill), but one strong possibility, given his late addition, might be as just another of the Asgardian play actors. We haven t, for example, heard about anyone playing the Hulk in the play, so perhaps that s what Crowe will be doing? Marvel Studios has scheduled Thor: Love and Thunder for release on May 6, 2022, just a little over a year from now.6. MEDICAL HISTORY MOVIES ABOUT JONAS SALK AND HEINRICH HIMMLER (Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)There are frequently more than just ten movies worth mentioning, so when it s applicable, the we ll sometimes group stories together to get them covered. The common theme here is 20th century true stories involving doctors. Let s start with Woody Harrelson, who is now signed to star in the drama The Man with the Miraculous Hands as a Finnish doctor who was forced to become the doctor of Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi leader of the S.S. during World War II. With his Texas drawl, Harrelson doesn t seem like an obvious choice to play a Finnish doctor in the 1940s, but he s proven himself capable of handling serious material, so it could work. The other similar project announced this week is the drama Splendid Solution, which will feature Jeremy Strong (The Trial of the Chicago 7) as Dr. Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine. Splendid Solution will be adapted from a bestselling non fiction book by Gillian Weeks, whose book Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 was adapted as the Ron Howard film Apollo 13.7. JOHN WOO PRODUCING UNPUBLISHED STAN LEE COMIC MONKEY MASTER (Photo by Elisabetta A. Villa/Getty Images)Although Stan Lee was obviously The Man steering the ship through Marvel Comics most creative period during the 1960s and most of the 1970s, he actually stopped writing comics for Marvel in 1972, and had completely stepped away from Marvel in the 1990s. Despite this, Lee did continue to be active in other projects, both in and out of comics, well into the 21st century, although none of those projects came close to the fame of even some of his more obscure Marvel titles. Hong Kong producer and director John Woo now has his eye on raising the profile of at least one of those Stan Lee projects, as he is now developing a feature film based on Lee s unpublished comic book series Monkey Master. The project was something Lee was working on in 2016, just two years before his death in 2018 at the age of 95. Monkey Master is described as an adaptation of the classic Chinese legend of the Monkey King, which has found its way into all sorts of pop culture works. It is not yet known if Woo will also direct the Monkey Master movie. In 2016, Stan Lee was quoted as saying, I’ve written countless superheroes of every nationality and every part of the world before. I’ve even created many heroes from other planets and galaxies, but Monkey Master will be unique in how it interweaves myth to create a modern day hero that will entertain fans across the world with his martial arts skills and unstoppable super-powers. 8. BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY S REMAKE RESULTS IN MILLION COPYRIGHT SUIT (Photo by Everett Collection)Although it s true that Hollywood has been remaking movies since the Silent Era, the last decade or so has felt like there have been more than usual. Right about now, Paramount Pictures may be feeling like there was one remake they never should have commissioned. The statutory heirs of the late author Truman Capote have brought a million copyright claim against Paramount over a Breakfast at Tiffany s remake screenplay that Paramount executives have been circulating internally. The question behind the claim is whether the rights to remake Breakfast at Tiffany s reverted back to Capote s heirs at some point, or whether Paramount retains those rights in perpetuity. Of course, neither side seems to be asking perhaps the most relevant question, which is whether a beloved (and at the same time, problematic) classic like Breakfast at Tiffany s (Certified Fresh at 89%) should even be remade at all.9. ARMIE HAMMER DROPPED FROM YET ANOTHER FILM (Photo by Daniel Smith/Warner Bros.)Two weeks ago, the Los Angeles Police Department began a probe into charges filed against actor Armie Hammer following allegations earlier this year about possible assault. In February, Hammer had already lost his starring role in the Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding (in which he was replaced by Josh Duhamel). This week, he was dealt another career blow as he has been dropped from the thriller The Billion Dollar Spy starring Mads Mikkelsen. The producers of that project have not yet announced a replacement to play what would ve been Armie Hammer s role.On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.
4. 呼朋唤友 随心所欲
(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. ™. All Rights Reserved.)The X-Wing s pilot turns out to be the Jedi who Grogu contacted back on Tython and his superior skills make quick work of the Dark Troopers (much to Gideon s dismay). Arriving on the bridge, the Jedi is revealed to be Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who agrees to protect the child and train him.The bond between Grogu and Djarin is strong and the two have an emotional goodbye, complete with Djarin taking his helmet off so the child can see the face of his father. The Jedi departs with the child.Sometime later, Fett and Fennec make their way to Jabba s palace on Tatooine. There, they find Bib Fortuna in charge of the Hutt s former holdings. Fett dispatches the Twi lek and, presumably, assumes command of the criminal empire.Luke Skywalker s Arrival Forever Changes the Path of The Mandalorian, Removing Grogu(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. ™. All Rights Reserved.)While we always had Luke on our list of available Jedi, we never really expected Djarin s path to cross with his; in fact, we ve always said we were more than happy to keep the Skywalkers out of The Mandalorian s quadrant of space. Nevertheless, it was thrilling to see the Jedi at the height of his powers undoing the menace of the Dark Troopers so ably realized by Reed. And since we re heaping praise on his directing chops, he also gave Luke an incredibly heroic fight scene.Then there s Luke s reveal itself. While many fans online had hoped to see Sebastian Stan take Hamill s place in this era of Star Wars, a de-aged Hamill appeared for the conversation with Djarin. Although, it is unclear if Hamill was ever on set. It is possible they used an updated version of the same techniques used in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to feature the late Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin and a de-aged Carrie Fisher — a credited body double for the Jedi indicates this the case. It is also possible Marvel s de-aging techniques were used, allowing Hamill to play the part for the key conversation. Either way, we got to see Luke as he appeared nearly 40 years ago and as a full Jedi Master. It makes us wish we could see Hamill and Luke in this period more often.Just not on The Mandalorian.It is easy to see this as the conclusion to the story creator Jon Favreau first developed before the series proved to be a massive success. While Dave Filoni s part of the galaxy offered alternative tutors like Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Ezra Bridger, and even, as we speculated, Jedi Master Yaddle, delivering Grogu to Luke brings the series back to its initial tone: a program made in the spirit of Return of the Jedi and inspired by kids playing with Star Wars action figures. If The Mandalorian had ever been positioned as a limited series like the upcoming Marvel Studios program WandaVision, this would definitely be a satisfying place to end things — even if Djarin is left alone at the end. Going back to the westerns and samurai films that inspired Star Wars to begin with, it s thematically consistent for the Mandalorian to go back to his solitary wandering.But this is no longer the Way for him. In his quest to deliver Grogu to the Jedi, he saw alternative paths and despite his best efforts to be a side character in his own story, Din Djarin will have to face the facts: he is the star with a seemingly unavoidable destiny.Always Questions Are the FutureDebbie DayDjarin s destiny lead us to a number of questions. As does that incredible tease of Boba Fett s future at the end of the episode. With the program s initial premise seemingly resolved, its third season is wide open with possibilities.Is this the end of Lone Mando and Cub? A constant criticism of the show has been its wandering nature. Inspired by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima s manga series Lone Wolf and Cub, the format allowed the show to take episode-length detours like Chapter 10 s Frog Lady charter or Chapter 6 s prison break. It meant the directors could come on to the show and essentially make large-budget Star Wars fan films while Favreau moved the overall plot along. Nonetheless, Chapter 10 was criticized as filler, and even we wondered how much longer the show could do episodes like it as its own mythology built up. The
5. HD 画质与高品质音讯
(Photo by NBC)It s been three decades since Seinfeld first premiered on July 5, 1989, changing the sitcom narrative forever. From the show s core characters of Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), George (Jason Alexander), and Kramer (Michael Richards) to the low-stakes story lines explored in every episode, the series from Larry David and the titular creator gave audiences a joke-heavy glimpse at the mundanity of the human condition, adding an unexpected element of intellect and creativity to the formulaic prime-time landscape of the 90s.The show that was famously about nothing — a joke that originated in the show itself — premiered 30 years ago yet still holds true today. To dig deeper into why the series is still so impactful all these years later, we ve tapped a handful of experts — from journalists to bestselling authors, university professors to a writer who worked on all nine seasons of the show yada yada yada — to help unpack the ways Seinfeld has maintained its status as a television icon for three decades and counting.Its simple life observations became a permanent fixture in pop culture(Photo by Columbia TriStar Television/Courtesy Everett Collection)Robert J. Thompson, Professor of Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University: Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld managed to take their stand-up acts about the kind of, you know, goofy observations about stupid things, and turn it into a weekly half-hour sitcom that ultimately went nine seasons. That s easier said than done. They did it brilliantly. And some of the very best episodes of Seinfeld are those that are the most tied to the stand-up act that Jerry Seinfeld had done way back. I think the most obvious answer and the most correct way to address it is that it really was a masterpiece. Not every episode was as elegant as others. But they managed to churn out episode after episode that would become part of the American vernacular.Todd Gilchrist, freelance reporter for Variety and Nerdist: I think the show invited us to look at the everyday minutiae of human behavior — both others’ and our [own] — and contemplate the way we process and interact with our
A Valentine s Day Trailer Indicates the Knightmare Matters(Photo by HBO Max)On February 14th, HBO Max released a new trailer for the film featuring a number of the teased images released over the last few months, a couple of classic shots from the extant film, and a handful of new, apocalyptic moments. Perhaps the most surprising element of the Valentine’s Day trailer is the way it reframes the so-called Knightmare from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As Bruce himself explains in the trailer, he had a vision of a broken future world in which Superman enforced a dark agenda. It appears an extended version of the Knightmare will be key to Snyder’s version of Justice League as Bruce goes on to suggest it is the world all the characters will face if they fail to stop Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds).As it happens, the trailer also seems to recast Steppenwolf’s mission in a clearer way by having him discuss the potential fall of Earth with Darkseid (Ray Porter) and other New Gods like DeSaad (Peter Guinness) and Granny Goodness. At the same time, it gives Bruce a clearer motivation to assemble the League.Other things teased in the trailer include a scene between Barry Allen and his father Henry (Billy Crudup), the Flash rescuing Iris West (Kiersey Clemons in what may be her only ever appearance as Iris), Steppenwolf’s battle with the Amazons, and a confrontation – if only inside the Knightmare – between the Batman and the Joker.Jared Leto s Joker Will Make an AppearanceRyan FujitaniOn October 21, the Hollywood Reporter revealed that the Snyder Cut would feature a return of the Joker as portrayed by Jared Leto in 2016 s Suicide Squad. It was a surprising announcement because Leto s Joker was nowhere to be found in the theatrical cut of Justice League, and Leto specifically had to be called in to shoot new scenes that Snyder had originally envisioned for the film. Then, in February, we got our first official images of Leto in character, courtesy of Zack Snyder and an article in Vanity Fair. The images reveal a very different Joker from the one Leto portrayed in Suicide Squad; depicted in black and white, his hair is longer and disheveled, his prominent tattoos are gone, and he s clothed in gloves and a hospital gown, with a surgical mask dangling from his neck. The piece goes on to explain that beware of spoilers here this Joker appears in Snyder s film in a dream sequence experienced by Ben Affleck s Bruce Wayne, revealing the destruction that will take place if the titular heroes are unsuccessful. Beyond that, we don t really know what this might mean for Leto s future as the character, being that we ve already gotten another iteration of the Joker in Joaquin Phoenix s Oscar-winning turn in 2019 s Joker, and we re also getting another, separate iteration of Batman in The Batman, due out next year.The Snyder Cut Will Tell More of Cyborg and Flash s Stories, And Focus on Mega Villain DarkSeid (Photo by Clay Enos/©Warner Bros.)After an online screening of Man of Steel on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, Zack Snyder announced that the Snyder Cut of Justice League is indeed real, and that it would be debuting on the upcoming new streaming service HBO Max sometime in 2021. Snyder reiterated that he has yet to watch the theatrical version of the film, which was completed by Joss Whedon when Snyder stepped away from the film due to a personal tragedy (more on that below), and further stated that what audiences saw was probably one-fourth of what I did. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Snyder said that It will be an entirely new thing, and, especially talking to those who have seen the released movie, a new experience apart from that movie. Fans got their first real look at the other three-fourths of Snyder s vision when a new trailer for Zack Snyder s Justice League premiered at online convention DC FanDome in August 2020. Set to Leonard Cohen s Hallelujah – a song Snyder used in his Watchmen film – the trailer revealed a few things, among them:Legendary DC big bad Darkseid will indeed be the main focus when it comes to villains. We see him at the opening of the teaser and throughout.We will see Superman in his dark, black and silver suit (more on that below).We will get more of Victor Stone s (Ray Fisher) backstory, and this version of Justice League will feature Iris West, the Flash s love interest, who was cut from the original theatrical release.We will get a lot more set up of Jason Momoa s Aquaman character.We will see the Hall of Justice completely devastated.Zack Snyder has made good on his promise to change the color of the much-derided orange/red sky that features in the finale.Batman gets a rousing moment that he did not in the original, telling the Justice League crew at the end of the trailer, I don t care how many demons he s fought in how many hells. He s never fought us. Not us united. Before revealing the teaser trailer, Snyder told viewers that compared to the original theatrically released Justice League, fans can expect to see tons more of the flash, including a scene that will show an ability we ve not yet seen on screen, and a little bit more of his emotional arc. DarkSeid is coming to #TheSnyderCut of #JusticeLeague pic.twitter.com/IpogVAvCQC Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) August 22, 2020Snyder also said that after so much of Victor Stone story was sacrificed in the first version of the film – including the aforementioned character of Iris West – his cut would center Cyborg. “Cyborg is the heart of the movie, Snyder said. Cyborg is the thing that I think in the end holds the team together in a lot of ways.”The Snyder Cut Will Debut on HBO Max in March of 2021We previously knew the director s cut of Justice League would release on HBO Max in 2021, but on January 29, in an email release of three new posters for the project, we got the official premiere date: March 18, 2021. After Zack Snyder responded to a fan question on the social networking site Vero implying that the Snyder Cut will not, as initially announced, be a four-part miniseries but instead a one shot single film, we also learned via a press release that this is indeed the case, and it will be presented as a single four-hour film. Snyder also previously said that international fans worried they would not get the Snyder Cut because HBO Max is only available in the U.S. should not fear: distribution deals are being worked on.Another interesting development is that Zack Snyder s Justice League will be presented in a different aspect ratio to the original film. The Snyder Cut will be available in the 1.66.1 ratio, known widely as European widescreen, which will result in viewers seeing black bars on either side of the image when they watch on HBO Max.We Will See Superman In the Black Suit Snyder Always WantedAt fan event Justice Con in late July, Snyder dropped some big Justice League news. First up, he revealed that the world would get its first look at his cut of Justice League with a teaser that will drop at DC FanDome; then he threw red meat to the fans by showing a tiny bit of footage that revealed Henry Cavill s Superman in a black suit in a deleted Justice League scene in which he flies to Bruce Wayne s hideout and runs into Alfred. You may recognize the deleted scene from Justice League s home release, but in that available scene the suit is still the usual red.And fans were treated to the scene in un-cropped IMAX formatting, which is the format in which the entire Snyder cut will be released. The story goes that Snyder always wanted Cavill s Superman to don the black suit but that Warner Bros. felt it was too dark a turn for the Man of Steel s character. The latest teaser revealed at DC FanDome confirmed we d be getting the dark Super suit.For more information, let’s go back a few years to uncover the history of the Snyder Cut and how we speculated it might have been possible back in November.Justice League Was Initially Two F
幻想之城辅助 (Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)Critics and fans alike are loving Avengers: Endgame. The movie is Certified Fresh at 95% and made a cool .2 billion at the global box office in its first weekend. It could very well turn out to be the biggest movie ever – and one of the most beloved. The key to its success? Critics say it s all about giving the MCU s loyal fans what they want. Eric Eisenberg of Cinema Blend was typical in his assessment, calling Endgame, A wonderful gift to all those who have spent the last decade-plus emotionally engaging with the lives and adventures of these characters.” It s stacked with f k yeah moments and delights, the best of which make callbacks to early films in the franchise.And one of those movies is more important than any other.So, hear us out: Endgame owes much of its success to that under-sung hero of the MCU, Avengers: Age of Ultron. While one of the least popular entries in the MCU, and the lowest-rated Avengers flick on the Tomatometer at 75% (which is still not bad!), Ultron deserves credit as the foundation on which the entire second half of the MCU was built. And we re about to make a spoiler-filled case as to why, breaking down the story beats and relationships that Ultron established and that Endgame would use to such great effect – so be warned if you ve not seen Endgame, Ultron, or both.Major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame follow. Hulk Taking Control of Both Sides? It Started With Ultron.(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)Around the time of Age of Ultron, there was still hope at Marvel that they would be able to make a deal for the Hulk and start a string of Hulk-only movies. Universal still owned the rights to the character for all standalone films, but behind the scenes, there were talks. When it became clear that a deal was not going to be forthcoming, Marvel spread the planned events for a standalone Hulk film throughout Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, and the Infinity War two-parter. That’s right, the seeds of the fantastic Hipster Hulk payoff in Endgame were first sewn in Ultron. Think back to the Hulk/Banner in Ultron; he’s held back from the team at times to make sure he doesn’t do too much damage. Then, after a wave of the finger from Scarlet Witch, he wreaks havoc. Throughout Ultron, Banner is always questioning whether the team needs a ‘code green.’ He knows the Hulk s a powerful weapon, but he s terrified that he s not in control. By Endgame, we ve finally seen the complete character arc from this struggle in Ultron, to the Hulk completely taking over in Thor: Ragnarok, to Banner s inability to summon the green guy in Avengers: Infinity War, to the eventual blend of the Hulk s might and Bruce s mind in the new movie. (The latest incarnation is a play on a storyline that first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #377, in which Banner finally has control of both the monster and his mind – adding hipster glasses with a huge cardigan is just a lovely bonus.)The Start of a Beautiful and Pivotal Relationship: Wanda and Vision, a.k.a. WandaVision.(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)The WandaVision relationship, as well as their powers, would become crucial to the MCU and especially to the Infinity Saga. It is also central to two of the saga s biggest moments: it s Vision s death in Infinity War that breaks our hearts, and it s Wanda s moment of revenge and power in Endgame that gives us such great feels. And that all started with Ultron. From her first encounter with Vision in Age of Ultron, Wanda is drawn to his mind; even when we still didn t know if he was good or evil, her first words about him were, “I can read him… his mind. Ultron introduces Wanda and her brother to his creation in the final stages of completion and even before his birth, Vision s mind called out to her. Talk about a meet-cute.When we finally learn Thanos master plan to gather all the Infinity Stones, we realize quickly that Vision will be in danger. The Mind Stone is the origin of his powers – it s literally fused to his head using whatever tech stuff Shuri was talking about in Infinity War. That connection sets up what might be the Infinity Saga s ultimate and most painful sacrifice: Killing Vision in Infinity War as a last-ditch effort to thwart Thanos turns out to be a pointless and heartbreaking effort – with a twist of the Infinity Gauntlet, it is all undone. We watched them fall in love, beginning in Ultron, and witnessed their tragic end in Infinity War. When she appears in Endgame, summoning her powers in fury, it s a completely satisfying bookend to everything Ultron began.Who is worthy? THE PERFECT SETUP FOR CAP S BIG HAMMER MOMENT.In one of the best scenes in Age of Ultron, the Avengers pal around with a few drinks at an afterparty. What is played as an entertaining comedic break, with the various members trying to lift Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, actually sets up one of the biggest moments of Endgame. Iron Man, War Machine, Hawkeye, and – comically – Bruce Banner all try to lift the hammer and prove themselves worthy. None are successful, but for one brief moment, Captain America tugs at Mjölnir, and it quivers. The movement wipes a confident smirk off Thor’s face and signals that maybe Steve Rogers could one day wield the hammer. So it’s no surprise in the finale of Endgame to see who is lifting Mjölnir. Thor even exclaims, “I knew it!” (It s actually another direct pull from the comics: Captain America is one of the few worthy enough to wield the hammer forged in the heart of a dying star – we re still getting goosebumps just thinking about it.)Clint Barton, Hawkeye, and the farm.According to Ultron director Joss Whedon, there were several creative differences between him and Marvel Studios during the filming of Age of Ultron, none more contentious than the debate over the trip to the farm to meet Clint’s family. Marvel brass were apparently not into giving Hawkeye a familial backstory – having seen Endgame, we re thankful they lost on that one. The broken, singularly focused, vigilante Ronin that Hawkeye becomes in Endgame doesn t have the same resonance if we haven t spent time with his family. (And what about that opening scene?!) The device of the farm is also used to further establish the closeness between Natasha and Hawkeye, as in Ultron we learn that she is the only one with prior knowledge of the farm and his family life. These quiet moments raise the emotional stakes of the fight we see between Clint and Natasha in Endgame, as they do battle over who will sacrifice themselves for the Soul Stone. Without the Ultron setup, those stakes would not be so high.Tony vs. Cap: A Civil War begins.Civil War may have been the first battle between the Avengers, but some early, quiet shots were fired in Ultron. The argument on the farm during which Steve scolds Tony for creating, and especially for not telling him about, Ultron, is one many will point back to as the start of their fracturing. Then there is the physical fight between Captain America and Iron Man that happens later in Ultron, while Tony tries to finish his Vision . Steve and Tony come to blows about it just before Thor harnesses lighting to finally birth Vision. The Russo brothers told us in our extended interview that the Avengers failed in Avengers: Infinity War because they were divided, and the cracks of that fatal divide first began to appear in Ultron. Even direct quotes from Age of Ultron reappear in Endgame with Tony repeating his warning, “We’ll lose – adding Steve’s reply of “We’ll lose together” is of little solace. That broken version of Tony, ripping his core from his chest, was perhaps even harder to watch than his heroic end.Tony, always trying to get ahead of things.(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)It starts and stops with Tony. The whole plot of Ultron comes from one driving force: Tony’s fear of the next thing from space trying to annihilate the earth. That up there, he quips, pointing to the sky and referencing the alien invasion of New York. That s the endgame. And it was, in every sense of the word. Thanos does come to destroy the earth, and that threat is what the Avengers were created to stop. Tony, in creating Ultron, was trying to win a war before it started; during the wood cutting argument, Steve astutely reminds him, “Every time someone tries to win a war before it starts, people die.” Before the events of Ultron, Tony created Veronica just in case they ever lost control of The Hulk (or a lullaby didn’t work). The Hulkbuster back-up plan kind of worked. That drive to plan ahead, to be prepared, may have been a fatal flaw with Ultron, but it also allowed Tony to outsmart Thanos in Endgame. The glove Tony installs on his suit to steal the infinity stones is just that type of planning. He was reluctant to join the second fight and the visions of defeat he saw in Ultron still haunt him, but he was, in the end, able to use that fear to defeat their most formidable foe. It s a complete bookend to the character and his essential motivation.(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)And there are so many smaller Ultron setups:Ragnarok: Heimdall first teases Ragnarok and the fact they will lose in Thor’s vision before he later heads to a cave to get more answers. Thor sees the Infinity Stones and the gauntlet for the first time. More breadcrumbs to our final battle.Avengers Assemble: The “Avengers Assemble” line that Captain America calls out in the final battle was first teased in Ultron. A near synonymous tag line for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, it is a line comic book fans have been waiting to hear. We cut to credits before Cap could call it out in Ultron, but we finally get it in Endgame.Wakanda: In a quick scene with Ulysses Klaw, we first hear reference what would turn out to be the key destination in the highest-grossing superhero movie ever – before Endgame. Vibranium, Andy Serkis with a Wakandan tattoo, and the rest is history.(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)Captain America Back With Carter: We’d have to guess it’s not a coincidence that Wanda’s visions sent Captain America back to Agent Carter and the 1940s. Throughout the series, his greatest regret is not being able to share a life with her, thus making his ending as an old man who stole time to get a life all the sweeter. Fine, I ll do it myself : We meet a winking and silent Thanos in The Avengers, and we first spy the Infinity Gauntlet in Thor’s Scarlet Witch vision. But it s not until Ultron s mid-credits stinger that we see our big baddie in full armor – voiced by Josh Brolin – snatching the gauntlet and saying, “Fine, I’ll do it myself.”(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)The Avengers Facility: A small but noteworthy moment. The Avengers get a new home. The Avengers compound is basecamp going forward.
Aquatic horror is a bit of an underseen sub-genre, but Neasa Hardiman’s Sea Fever shows why we should still be afraid of what lies beneath, as a bizarre creature sneaks on board a trawler on the high seas. This film will remind audiences of such classics as Alien and The Thing while offering a new voice to the creature feature, with an engrossing tale that challenges your assumptions of the unknown. “Sea Fever is a nightmare you can’t take your eyes off of and can’t stop thinking about after it wraps up,” wrote Collider’s critic Perri Nemiroff. () Right after the theatrical release of The Hunt was cancelled, TIFF presented us with an alternative to the Most Dangerous Game sub-genre, one that combines socio-political commentary with sci-fi and horror elements. RogerEbert.com’s Brian Tallerico described Bacarau, which also played the Cannes Film Festival, as “a crazy genre hybrid that exudes the confidence of the people who made it.” The premise is simple: In a near-future Brazilian village where citizens are sold as prey to bloodthirsty foreign hunter (led by cult-cinema legend Udo Kier), a resistance forms in an all-out war that allows the filmmakers to blend genres and blows minds. Psychotropic drugs are involved.Gundala (2019) 83% What if we were to tell you that the next big superhero cinematic universe wasn’t going to be based on American superheroes, but on Indonesian comic books? Writer-director Joko Anwar unleashed a different kind of superhero on the Midnight Madness crowds of Toronto with Gundala, a superhero origin film that infuses standard tropes of the genre with Indonesian legends and martial art fights that will make you cheer. That Shelf critic Victor Stiff says, “From beginning to end, Gundala delivers fast and furious action and rarely stops to take its foot off the gas.”Knives Out (2019) 97% (Photo by Lionsgate)One of the biggest surprises of TIFF was how universally liked Rian Johnson’s murder-mystery Knives Out turned out to be. The star-studded ensemble not only lets Chris Evans play a despicable character fresh off of hanging up the Captain America shield, but spoofs the classic whodunnit genre. What starts as a simple mystery of the murder of a crime novelist evolves into a laugh-out-loud puzzle-box comedy that will keep your mind spinning as you try to figure out what comes next. David Ehrlich writes for IndieWire: “A crackling, devious, and hugely satisfying old-school whodunnit with a modern twist ”. Lionsgate will release Knives Out on Thanksgiving.The Vigil (2019) 90% (Photo by BoulderLight Pictures)The demonic possession genre has long been associated with bibles and priests, but Keith Thomas’s debut feature, The Vigil, takes the genre and roots it in Jewish mythology making for a novel and terrifying horror film. Breakout performer Dave Davis stars as Jakov, a young man abandoning his Orthodox community to embrace the secular life, who finds himself working as a shomer, watching over the body of a recently deceased member of the community who is haunted by an evil presence. The Hollywood Reporter’s Jordan Mintzer writes, “What works is how Thomas transforms Orthodox culture into gory material for a slightly elevated horror flick, with Yakov ultimately turning to Hebrew prayer as his only way out of hell.”The Vast of Night (2019) 92% A throwback to not only the classic sci-fi TV shows of the 50s, like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, but also a time when we were still fascinated with the idea of the future and the wonders it could bring, Andrew Patterson’s debut feature The Vast of Night follows two young people seeking the source of a mysterious sound invading their local radio station in a town in New Mexico. TV Guide’s Oliver Whitney writes that the film is “like an old school radio play that fuses the slow-building paranoia of The Twilight Zone and chilling awe and extraterrestrial sightings of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” This nostalgic sci-fi thriller was picked up by Amazon just before the film’s premiere at TIFF.Synchronic (2019) 79% (Photo by Rustic Films )Filmmaking duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have made a career out of blending different genres to create something entirely new, while also providing emotional stories stuffed with characters we connect with – their 2018 flick, The Endless, is Certified Fresh at 93%. This time they got Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan together to play the two friends at the core of a time-bending crime thriller involving two paramedics that get their lives turned upside down by a series of crimes involving a mysterious synthetic drug that lets you experience new realities. Synchronic is the duo’s most dramatic and emotional work yet, but it still delivers a fun and exhilarating experience. Writing for The Playlist, critic Jason Bailey says, “Synchronic can best be described as egghead indie sci-fi, in which the ideas are as exciting as the effects.” This is a sci-fi thriller that will stick with you long after you leave the theater.La llorona (2019) 96% Unlike that other film about the Latin American horror myth, Jayro Bustamante’s La Llorona is 100% rooted in Latin American history and culture, which adds an extra layer of horror to this already chilling tale of an aging general accused of genocide who starts seeing visions of a terrifying ghost haunting his estate. Bustamante blends utilizes stylized cinematography and effective scares that make this the surprise horror hit of the festival. Critic Carlos Aguilar writes for The Wrap that La Llorona is “a purposefully somber cry for amends and acknowledgement permeated in phantasmagoric allure.” This is the type of genre film that proves you can have a strong message while still delivering entertaining thrills and scares.The Platform (2019) 79% Imagine a prison where the cells are vertically stacked, and the only food given to prisoners is lowered down from the highest levels – feeding those on the upper cells but leaving those below violently starving. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform combines poignant and relevant social commentary about the distribution of wealth and the difficulties of convincing people to do good, with the nasty, wicked horrors of Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer. Writing for Slashfilm, critic Meredith Borders says, “Starvation, cannibalism, heinous violence and no small amount of feces aside, The Platform makes spending time in The Pit a pretty intriguing enterprise.” This is a movie that is as grotesque and shocking as it is surprisingly funny. Netflix will release The Platform at a later date.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week. (Photo by Gramercy Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail image: Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection; Universal/courtesy Everett Collection.)25 Essential Stoner Movies RankedIf your movie nights could take a few more hits, check out our guide to the best stoner movies! These are essential movies to the marijuana experience, ranging from counterculture classics (Up in Smoke, Easy Rider), top-shelf mainstream films (Pineapple Express, Friday), and cult comedies (Grandma s Boy, Super Troopers), all featuring icons like Jeff Spicoli and The Dude. Then we took all the movies and sorted them by Tomatometer, lowest to highest.If you re seeking a trip guide, something to pair with whatever state you re in, check out the 25 Essential Stoner Movies! (And don t forget the 20 best movies to watch high.)