Month: August 2020

Black Panther + Tribute to Chadwick Boseman Tonight on ABC

2019 Producers Guild Awards Film Nominations Announced

Black Panther + Tribute to Chadwick Boseman Tonight on ABC

Marvel Studios, ABC Entertainment and ABC News will present a special Sunday evening to remember the late Chadwick Boseman. Marvel Studios’ blockbuster hit film Black Panther will debut on ABC, SUNDAY, AUG. 30 (8:00-10:20 p.m. EDT). The film broadcast will be followed by the ABC News special “Chadwick Boseman – A Tribute for a King” (10:20-11:00 p.m. EDT).

RELATED: Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dead at Age 43

Black Panther stars the late Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Oscar winners Lupita Nyong’o and Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, Oscar nominees Daniel Kaluuya and Angela Bassett. The Oscar-winning film will be presented commercial-free. The ABC News special will celebrate Boseman’s storied life, legacy and career, and the cultural imprint he made on- and off-screen. It will feature tributes that have poured in from celebrities, political figures and fans across the world, special words from those who starred alongside him and knew Boseman best, and shine a light on the medical condition he privately battled.

Marvel Studios’ Black Panther follows T’Challa (Boseman) who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king – and Black Panther – is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

The film received seven nominations at the 91st Academy Awards including Best Picture, with wins for Best Costume Design, Best Original Score and Best Production Design. Black Panther is the first superhero film to receive a Best Picture nomination and the first MCU film to win an Academy Award. It also received three nominations at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, two wins at the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three wins at the 24th Critics’ Choice Awards from 12 nominations, among others.

RELATED: Hail to the King: Hollywood Reacts to Chadwick Boseman’s Death

Based on the Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Black Panther also stars Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke and Andy Serkis.

The film was directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole. Kevin Feige and David J. Grant were producers; and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jeffrey Chernov, Nate Moore and Stan Lee served as executive producers. The film was produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and is currently available on Disney+.

“Chadwick Boseman – A Tribute for a King” is executive produced by Steven Baker.

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The New Mutants Review: An Unoriginal End to a Broken Franchise (SPOILERS)




Maisie Williams as Rahne Sinclair

Anya Taylor-Joy as Illyana Rasputin

Charlie Heaton as Samuel “Sam” Guthrie

Alice Braga as Cecilia Reyes

Blu Hunt as Danielle “Dani” Moonstar

Henry Zaga as Roberto “Bobby” da Costa

Adam Beach as William Lonestar

Co-Written and Directed by Josh Boone; Co-Written by Knate Lee

The New Mutants Review:

DISCLAIMER: does not endorse or condone attending screenings at indoor movie theaters/cinemas at this time due to risks of contracting COVID-19. I was not assigned to write this review by my fellow editors, nor did I visit my local indoor theater, but only chose to see this film as part of a drive-in experience, which I will happily endorse during this time of extra safety measure. There will also be spoilers near the latter half of this review so please proceed past that point at your own peril.

It’s been a long and harrowing road for Josh Boone to bring the world of Marvel’s The New Mutants to life on the big screen with his own unique vision for the team and despite it seeming pretty clear that this would be the end of the road for Fox’s X-Men franchise, there’s nothing in this unoriginal, unscary and disappointing retread of what’s come before to suggest they were ready for the end.

Rahne Sinclair (Williams), Illyana Rasputin (Taylor-Joy), Sam Guthrie (Heaton) and Roberto da Costa (Zaga) are four young mutants being held in an isolated hospital for psychiatric monitoring. Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Braga), believing the teenagers are a danger both to themselves and to society as a whole, keeps a close eye on them as she struggles to teach them how to rein in their mutant abilities. When newcomer Danielle “Dani” Moonstar (Hunt) joins the other patients in the facility, strange occurrences begin to take place. The hospital’s patients are plagued by hallucinations and flashbacks, and their new mutant abilities—and their friendships—will be tested as they battle to try to make it out alive.

While the opening of the film proves to be an interesting and chilling experience, the second audiences and Dani are put into the hospital and introduced to the rest of the titular group, Boone slams his foot down on the gas pedal in the worst possible way. Thinking a group session in which everyone discusses their powers and their pasts is not inherently a bad process, but its arrival in the film and speed at which it occurs is so rushed that we don’t even get to learn who these characters are as people or why we should care about them. The scene is the first major indicator of one of the film’s biggest problems that was consistently on display: corny and unoriginal writing.

Borrowing from the most basic formula of the horror genre, Boone and Lee have minimized the majority of the group to tropes that aren’t interesting to watch, Illyana being the queen bitch, Roberto being the rich boy jock, Sam being the damaged good boy and Dani the innocent soul still finding her footing in her new world, with Rahne being the only one with some decent layers to her. There are plenty of ways to make a character detestable or hard to connect to and set up a potential redemption later in the film, but the blatant racism that Illyana displays for the majority of the film is just so groan-worthy and disgusting it makes it hard to ever like her, even when she starts to get a grip on her insecurities, with insults thrown Dani’s way such as “Standing Rock” and “Pocahontas” just coming across horrendous.

Alongside some horrific dialogue throughout, the awful writing also extends to the plotting and character development itself, with the film feeling like one extended first act and never taking off in any interesting direction before shit finally hits the fan in the final 20-30 minutes of the film. The explanation to the “hauntings” around the hospital is plenty fine and does away with a simplistic comic book villain, but the problem is it tries to balance too many things at once with a moving teen drama, a haunted house/mental asylum attraction and paving the way for sequels.

Understandably, Boone and Lee had envisioned the film as the first in a trilogy and with the Disney-Fox merger occurring during post-production it put the film in a weird limbo, but given he had the opportunity for reshoots, he really should’ve taken them to make a scarier and more self-contained story. From the kids making explicit references to Professor X and the X-Men to the revelation that Dr. Reyes is actually working for the Essex Corporation, it’s clear the writers couldn’t decide whether they wanted this to stand on its own or rely on what’s come before.

The most egregious example came in the form of a vision Dani has while Reyes is conducting a test on the protagonist, giving her a sedative to allow her to open up and discover the root of her powers, but during this Dani has a flash of young children being tested and trained in a laboratory with armed soldiers surrounding them. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because it was a major plot point of 2017’s Logan, but Boone takes it even further to hammer this home by using the exact same cell phone footage the titular hero watched in Dani’s vision. Not only is it confusing as to whether this is a flashback of Dani or Reyes or simply a vision of what’s to come, but given that New Mutants takes place long before the best film in X-Men franchise, it just further damages the already-broken timeline of the series.

This also taps into the problem of the fact there are so many setups in the film that will neither pay off nor do so in interesting fashion that it makes the preceding hour or so worthwhile. By the time these characters come to grips with their powers and the real “villain” is revealed, the film was just such an uncsary bore that there’s no longer any interest in seeing the rest of their story and a hope it would end sooner.

The two real positives this film has going for it are the performances of Heaton and Taylor-Joy and the relationship between Rahne and Dani. While Taylor-Joy’s character is horribly written and Heaton’s backstory is the most worn-out in the X-Men universe, she does perform it believably and with charisma to make audiences detest Illyana and Heaton does deliver an amiable enough performance to allow viewers to connect to him. In an age in which blockbusters think a brief kiss or longing looks between same-sexed characters are acceptable representations of LGBTQ relationships — looking at you, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — Boone and Lee allow Rahne and Dani’s romantic connection to feel somewhat organic and real and give it plenty of screen time.

The road to release for The New Mutants was a long and tiresome one and though it doesn’t quiet feel the former to watch it, the latter is a valid feeling due to the film’s horrible and corny writing, countless plot threads left open at the end of a franchise, lack of scares or interesting conflict, becoming the third worst film in the X-Men franchise ahead of Origins: Wolverine and Dark Phoenix.

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Hail to the King: Hollywood Reacts to Chadwick Boseman’s Death

Hail to the King: Hollywood Reacts to Chadwick Boseman’s Death

Last night brought the shocking news that actor Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther, 42, 21 Bridges) had passed away tragically at the age of 43. According to his family, the actor was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, though never spoke about his fight publicly. Now Boseman’s friends, fans and contemporaries in Hollywood are reacting to the news of a supremely talented actor taken far too young.

RELATED: Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dead at Age 43

“Chadwick’s passing is absolutely devastating. He was our T’Challa, our Black Panther, and our dear friend,” Kevin Feige, President, Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer at Marvel said in a statement Friday night. “Each time he stepped on set, he radiated charisma and joy, and each time he appeared on screen, he created something truly indelible. He embodied a lot of amazing people in his work, and nobody was better at bringing great men to life. He was as smart and kind and powerful and strong as any person he portrayed. Now he takes his place alongside them as an icon for the ages. The Marvel Studios family deeply mourns his loss, and we are grieving tonight with his family.”


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“It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family. But what many don’t know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther. During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day. And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever! We’d spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honored that we enjoyed that full circle experience. This young man’s dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother…”thou aren’t not dead but flown afar…”. All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince.” #WakandaForever

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All I have to say is the tragedies amassing this year have only been made more profound by the loss of @chadwickboseman. What a man, and what an immense talent. Brother, you were one of the all time greats and your greatness was only beginning. Lord, love ya. Rest in power, King.

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Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dead at Age 43

Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dead at Age 43

Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dead at Age 43

It is with tremendous sadness that must report (via The San Diego Tribune) that Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman has died tragically at the age of 43. According to his family, the actor was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, though never spoke about his fight publicly.

“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family said in the statement. “From ‘Marshall’ to ‘Da 5 Bloods,’ August Wilson’s ‘Ma’ Rainey’s ‘Black Bottom’ and several more- all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in ‘Black Panther.’”

Originally intending to work behind the camera, Boseman graduated from Howard University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing. His first television role was on an episode of Third Watch in 2003. His first feature film work was in the 2008 sports drama The Express: The Ernie Davis Story. He received accolades for his first starring role in 2013’s Jackie Robinson baseball biopic 42, and followed that historic portrayal with two more: As singer James Brown in 2014’s Get on Up, and then as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017’s Marshall.

Boseman launched to superstardom in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as T’Challa/Black Panther, first in a supporting role in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, and then as the lead in 2018’s Black Panther. The latter Ryan Coogler-helmed film was a milestone for representation in pop culture, grossing $1.347 billion worldwide and making the fictional nation of Wakanda and its hopeful slogan “Wakanda Forever” a household word. It would also become the first Marvel film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Boseman reprised the role of King T’Challa that same year in Avengers: Infinity War and then in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, the latter becoming the highest-grossing movie of all-time. A Black Panther 2 with Coogler returning to helm is currently in development at Marvel Studios, although the death of Boseman throws its status into uncertainty.

Other film roles for Boseman included the Kevin Costner vehicle Draft Day, Alex Proyas’ fantasy Gods of Egypt, the cop drama 21 Bridges, and Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. His final performance opposite Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is currently in post-production for Netflix.

Although he has yet to release a statement, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has seemingly changed the logo of his Twitter account in tribute to the late actor…

Boseman himself posted his final Tweet on August 11 in support of Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris, encouraging people to vote in the 2020 election…

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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Russell Crowe’s American Son Adds Stephan James

Russell Crowe's American Son Adds Stephan James

Russell Crowe’s American Son adds Stephan James

After seeing the film move from Sony Pictures to Paramount, the Russell Crowe-starring thriller American Son is getting back on track as it has cast Golden Globe nominee Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk) to co-star in the film, according to Deadline.

RELATED: Lionsgate Acquires Kevin Coughlin & Ryan Grassby’s Mother Land

Based on Jacques Audiard’s 2009 French film A Prophet, the story follows a man (James) as he falls under the control of a ruthless mobster (Crowe) and helps build a multiracial crime syndicate, takes down his mentor and earns a place for his crew alongside the Italian and Russian mafias.

Click here to rent or purchase the original film!

The new film is set to be directed by Andrew “Rapman” Onwubolu, who previously worked with Paramount Pictures on his feature directorial debut Blue Story, which hit theaters in his home country of the United Kingdom late last year and digital platforms in the US earlier this year to rave reviews from critics. Rapman is directing the film on a screenplay by acclaimed novelist/screenwriter Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, The Outsider), while Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe are attached to produce the project via Original Film.

RELATED: Russell Crowe Mob Thriller American Son Moves to Paramount

After starring in supporting roles in the sports drama When the Game Stands Tall and Oscar-nominated historical drama Selma, James broke out with his starring role in Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk and the Amazon psychological thriller Homecoming, for which he earned his Golden Golden nomination. He was most recently seen in the Quibi crime drama #FreeRayshawn, for which he is nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series.

(Photo Credit: Steven Ferdman/WireImage)

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Katie Dippold Penning New Haunted Mansion Movie for Disney

Katie Dippold Penning New Haunted Mansion Movie for Disney

Katie Dippold penning new Haunted Mansion movie for Disney

It’s been a decade since word first broke that Guillermo del Toro (Pinocchio) would be writing and producing a film based on Disney’s The Haunted Mansion and now it appears the studio is going a different route as Katie Dippold (Ghostbusters) has been hired to pen the script for a new adaptation, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

RELATED: Fear Street Film Trilogy Moving from Disney to Netflix

Plot details are currently being kept under wraps for the new adaptation of the Burbank-based ride, especially given the only real story for the attraction is that guests are traveling through the titular location full of supernatural frights including a graveyard alive with spirits and the ghastly psychic Madame Leota.

The 50-plus-year-old ride was previously adapted for film in 2003 with the Eddie Murphy-starring pic of the same name directed by Rob Minkoff (Mr. Peabody & Sherman) that took a more liberal approach to the source lore and received generally negative reviews from critics for its lack of effective scares or humor, though it was a box office hit, grossing over $180 million on its $90 million budget.

Del Toro previously made the surprise announcement at 2010’s San Diego Comic-Con International that he would be writing and producing a new, darker take on the ride for the House of Mouse, aiming for a PG-13 rating and seeing the Hatbox Ghost as the main antagonist to the story, while word broke in 2015 that Ryan Gosling (First Man) was in talks to star in the project. The last word spoken of the project came in 2019 when del Toro revealed that he was unsure if the project would ever get off the ground though still held a good feeling about the scripts he turned into the studio and that he believed they still had interest in it.

RELATED: Disney Recasts Raya and The Last Dragon With Kelly Marie Tran as New Lead

After working on MADtv as a staff writer from 2006-2009 and a staff writer and co-producer on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, Dippold entered the world of films with the action comedy The Heat starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, which received generally positive reviews from critics and audiences, and followed it up with the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, which she co-wrote with director Paul Feig in her third collaboration with him.

(Photo Credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for AOL)

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CS Visits the Set of The New Mutants

CS Visits the Set of The New Mutants

CS Visits the Set of The New Mutants

It’s Wednesday, August 16, 2017 and we are at the Medfield State Hospital in Massachusetts, which has played host to several film shoots in the past including The Box and Shutter Island. On this night 20th Century Fox (before it became 20th Century Studios under Disney) is filming The New Mutants, what would ultimately become the final installment in Fox’s storied X-Men franchise. At the time, though, director Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) had no idea of the many twists of fate that would leave his film unreleased until this very weekend just over three years later, August 28, 2020.

RELATED: CS Interview: Co-Writer/Director Josh Boone on The New Mutants

At the time of shooting the New Mutants crew had taken over five buildings at the imposing Medfield, which in the movie is referred to as Milbury Hospital. All five buildings represent one in the film. Outside the main building is a big, ominous angel statue in a fountain. The epigraph reads: “In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge.”

We head inside one building, where we find the common room set full of old furniture, board games, a stereo/tapedeck, TV, DVDs (Buffy and X-Files), a foosball table, books, art supplies/easel, loudspeaker, and a security camera to keep an eye on our teenage heroes. All the games are Greeked, with made-up names like Oh Snap!, Electric Quiz, Gravity Maze, Chaos, Password, Codenames, etc. The film was originally meant to be set in the 1980’s, but the studio told them to change it to modern day after the poor reception of 80’s-set X-Men: Apocalypse. That said, the setting still has a bit of a timeless quality, not really of any one era.

Outside at the graveyard exterior the ground is covered with fake snow. It is, after all, summer. They have the stunt double for Anya Taylor-Joy’s Illyana Rasputin/Magik attached to wires holding a glowing sword that will be enhanced with CG later. They’re filming her fall from the sky from directly overhead into the snow. She is lifted up by a huge crane with a light on the top that flares up when she falls.

Within the context of the story it’s supposed to be hard to tell whether this is a flashback, hallucination, or actually happening. Josh Boone tells us Magik is coming out of limbo in the shot. In video village artist Bill Sienkiewicz, the comics artist who originated the 80’s “Demon Bear” storyline on which the movie is based, sits with Boone sketching on a drawing pad and chatting with him between takes.

After they do the wide shot of Magik falling out of limbo, they do a new setup with Henry Zaga’s Roberto da Costa/Sunspot carrying an injured Dani Moonstar/Mirage (Blu Hunt), with Charlie Heaton’s Sam Guthrie/Cannonball and Maisie Williams’ Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane heading to the rear of the facility.

In yet another setup, Cannonball runs out of the building into the snow looking up at something we don’t see which we discern is Demon Bear, a giant bear-like creature that draws power from negative emotions first introduced in the pages of The New Mutants #18. Cannonball is wearing a hoodie and baseball cap. He has a visible bruise on his cheek, and brandishes an arm cast for the whole movie. He looks like he’s starting to prep himself for something, trying to use his powers of flight.

RELATED: CS Interview: Alice Braga Talks Playing Dr. Reyes in The New Mutants

As it stands now, on the day of the film’s release when it is getting pounded by critics (and it’s co-creator) and seemingly buried in a COVID-19 market where many theaters have yet to reopen, The New Mutants stands much like Charlie Heaton did that night: Bruised, bandaged and trying hard to muster the strength to save the day. And, like that final Cannonball scene from that night in 2017, The New Mutants is a franchise that we never got to see truly take flight.

The New Mutants is now playing in theaters.

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CS Interview: Alice Braga Talks Playing Dr. Reyes in The New Mutants

CS Interview: Alice Braga Talks Playing Dr. Reyes in The New Mutants

CS Interview: Alice Braga Talks Playing Dr. Reyes in The New Mutants had the opportunity to chat with 20th Century Studios’ The New Mutants star Alice Braga about taking on the Marvel Comics character Dr. Cecilia Reyes in the new horror thriller, her time on set, and what it feels like to finally have the movie released and now playing in theaters.

RELATED: Some Memories Never Fade in Terrifying New Mutants Clip

20th Century Studios in association with Marvel Entertainment presents The New Mutants, an original horror thriller set in an isolated hospital where a group of young mutants is being held for psychiatric monitoring. When strange occurrences begin to take place, both their new mutant abilities and their friendships will be tested as they battle to try and make it out alive.

Pick up a copy of the New Mutants Vol. 1 here!

The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy (SplitThe Witch) as Magik and Maisie Williams (Game of Thronesgen:LOCK) as Wolfsbane, with Henry Zaga (13 Reasons Why) as Sunspot, Blu Hunt as Dani Moonstar, and Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton as Cannonball.

The New Mutants adapts the monthly comic book series of the same name that launched in 1982. Created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod, The New Mutants follows on a group of teenage mutants as heroes in training in the Marvel Universe. The feature is expected to be a departure from the sci-fi-action spectacle of other X-Men films and is instead being described as a “Stephen King meets John Hughes”-style horror movie.

In November 2017, exclusively revealed a leaked concept animatic from the film, which features Wolfsbane, Magic, and Cannonball facing the Demon Bear.

RELATED: CS Interview: Co-Writer/Director Josh Boone on The New Mutants Great to see you again. I was lucky enough to be on the set. I guess that was two years ago.

Alice Braga: Yeah, three. I think it was 2017.

CS: That’s right, yeah. My daughter hadn’t been born yet. Oh my god.

Braga: Yeah.

CS: I remember having this thought like, man, after what I’ve seen today of the three X-Men movies they’re making right now, this is the one I want to see the most. And I still haven’t seen it yet.

Braga: Thank you so much for saying that. Appreciate it.

CS: I’m obviously a little handicapped from not having seen the film, but I guess the first most obvious question is just, how does it feel to finally see it getting out there, and you know, even amidst all the mess that we’re going through right now?

Braga: It’s been really special. I mean, we’ve been waiting for such a long time. We had so many changing dates for the release that it’s exciting to feel the audience, you know, the fans waiting with us side-by-side for the film to come out. So I think that warms my heart to, okay, finally we’re bringing it to them. And especially in a hard time for the world, for everyone. So I think the movie will bring something that people are excited to see in times that is hard. I think it’s special. So I’m really excited. I was really excited to promote and to talk to the journalists, the fans, for everyone to bring it on.

CS: Yeah. And would it be fair to call your characters sort of like a Nurse Ratched kind of a character within this film?

Braga: Yeah, I mean, Josh [Boone] and I discussed a lot about references and stuff like that right before we started filming, when I joined the cast. And it was definitely one of our references, not necessarily for her behavior or for me to copy her, but there is this kind of vibe. And Josh is a movie fan. I mean, like he loves comics. He loves movies. He loves horror films, thrillers, psychological thrillers, so definitely one of his references was that and we discussed. We talked about it and it is, in a way. I mean, we got the comics because the character is from a different comics… My character’s Cecilia Reyes. So specifically, I tried to merge a little bit into that like, getting that character into this world with that kind of psychological thriller vibe.

CS: Yeah, and when you were on set, I don’t even think I asked you about this when we were on set, but when you guys were all together, did you like, keep a certain distance from everybody else or was it just like regular camaraderie on the set?

Braga: No, we’re actually very close. I mean, like I called them the kids, because for me, they’re my kids. But they were like 20… So they wanted to party. They were a little bit bored. So we would go out sometimes. And we would sometimes go to the movies together.

CS: Sure.

Braga: But sometimes, I would just stay in reading and being the older person in the gang. But it was great. I mean, like it was a very special group of people. It felt like we were doing an independent film because it’s such a small cast and crew. It was very, very exciting.

CS: Yeah, I actually went to school in Boston, so I know everything kind of shuts down after one o’clock. 

Braga: Well, I love the area. It’s such a beautiful area of parks and amazing walks in the woods. I loved it.

CS: Yeah, no, it’s a very cool area. And you mentioned that Josh, he’s all in on all the material and everything. And I think I remember it was a very swift thing of you being cast and you having to go shoot. Did you have time to deep dive into the material? Did you read certain comics? How familiar were you with sort of the X-Men universe?

Braga: I mean, I was very familiar with the X-Men universe just because my mom always loved comics and stuff like that. So I kind of always loved those types of films and stuff like that. But specifically for this film, I tried to connect with Josh to understand how he wanted to build this character, instead of like, just digging deep only in the comics. But more to connect with Josh to understand how he wanted to build this character, to help this, you know, New Mutants to rise and to create their journeys and all of that. So I really connected with Josh for the references, but I also got her personality and then her spine from the comics, meaning she’s a mutant that is very focused on her career. She’s a doctor. She’s very committed to that. She’s not committed at all with her powers. So I kind of like, tried to bring that.

CS: Yeah, and what would you say was the most arduous scene to film?

Braga: Well, it’s out in the trailer, so it’s great I can talk about it, but when I had the prosthetics in my face, that was crazy, because I never had to use lenses, contact lenses. So, I was anxious. I was super excited because I always loved how the eye looked. But it’s a gigantic contact lens, so I had to have a doctor to put it in my eye because it was so big that I couldn’t do it by myself. I wear contact lenses, but even though, it was hard. So that gave kind of like a crazy vibe on set, when you’re working with prosthetics and stuff like that. That was exciting.

CS: Yeah, I mean, it seemed like there was a huge commitment to doing as much as they could practically. Is that true?

Braga: Yeah, it was. It was. I mean, Josh is a very particular director. He’s so passionate for comics, for this type of genre and for these characters, so I really think that the fans are going to be happy with this film, because you can get it all. Like you get psychological thriller/horror. You get superhero, you know, New Mutants vibe. And it’s kind of like, it feels like in a way sometimes like just a classic movie. So you kind of like have all that vibe in one.

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Get Duked! Review: A Zany & Hilarious Subversion of Genres




Eddie Izzard as The Duke

Kate Dickie as Sergeant Morag

James Cosmo as Farmer

Kevin Guthrie as PC Hamish

Jonathan Aris as Mr. Carlyle

Alice Lowe as Superintendent

Samuel Bottomley as Ian

Viraj Juneja as DJ Beatroot

Rian Gordon as Dean Gibson

Lewis Gribben as Duncan MacDonald

Georgie Glen as The Duchess

Written & Directed by Ninian Doff

Click here to stream Get Duked!

Get Duked! Review:

The coming-of-age genre is one so full to the brim that when something unique and endlessly enjoyable comes along, it’s like a gift from cinematic heaven, and though Get Duked! may not be a masterpiece, it is hands-down one of the freshest and subversive takes on the coming-of-age and horror-thriller genres that makes for one hell of a ride.

Dean, Duncan and DJ Beatroot are teenage pals from Glasgow who embark on the character-building camping trip — based on a real-life program — known as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, where foraging, teamwork and orienteering are the order of the day. Eager to cut loose and smoke weed in the Scottish Highlands, the trio find themselves paired with strait-laced Ian, a fellow camper determined to play by the rules. After veering off-path into remote farmland that’s worlds away from their urban comfort zone, the boys find themselves hunted down by a shadowy force hell-bent on extinguishing their futures.

As we’re first introduced to the central troublemakers, there’s unfortunately an air of familiarity as each troublemaker is certainly a character type audiences have seen time and again as the resident outsiders to the authoritative system, the druggie, the aspiring hip-hop artist and soon-to-be pyromaniac, as well as their involuntary partnership with a straight-laced goody-two-shoes. Thankfully, this quickly passes and the kinetic look into each of their lives that Doff offers viewers proves to not only be insightful but also rather original and helps connect audiences to the group faster than most bouts of dialogue in other genre fare would.

Once the boys are left on their own to the wilderness, the fishes out of water humor plays out very effectively and allows the four leads to show their comedic chops very early on in the film, from trying to peddle hip-hop music to isolated farmers to smoking what appears to be gunpowder-infused marijuana. The chemistry that the boys display with each other, including the uncool Ian, is some of the most believable and seamless any coming-of-age film focused on a group of kids has displayed since the days of the Brat Pack. There’s no awkwardness between them, no hesitation or uncertainty about playing off of each other’s energies or jokes, they all show a true commitment to their characters and each other that helps make every scene a riot to watch.

Doff subsequently wastes no time putting these characters’ lives in jeopardy with the mysterious Duke and Duchess hunting them down through the highlands and the transition between the genres only further highlights the debut filmmaker’s grip on the tricky task of balancing the seemingly conflicting tones. While we are made to fear for the boys’ safety a number of times and feel as though we’re being set up to watch them die in a number of scenes, Doff does a great job of allowing the humor to still flow from these moments and subvert audience expectations at nearly every turn.

One of the film’s biggest highlights truly is the manic energy on display throughout the film in Doff’s direction, feeling like a happy blend of the hyperkinetic energy of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy and the expertly small-scale nature of Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block. From raves with farmers partaking in hallucinogenics to haunting nighttime sacrificial rituals, Doff not only keeps the film looking great from start to finish but also keeps the pace feeling brisk without losing the necessary character development moments.

Overall, Get Duked! may suffer from some formulaic plotting at the start of its story, but thanks to rich direction and a subversive script from Doff and zany performances from its cast, it sets itself apart as one of the freshest and entertaining entries into the coming-of-age genre in a long while.

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CS Score Reviews Planet Wax and Interviews Author Jeff Szpirglas

CS Score Reviews Planet Wax and Interviews Author Jeff Szpirglas

Welcome back, film score lovers! This week we get to take you on a tour of Planet Wax: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Soundtracks On Vinyl, the awesome new book from Aaron Lupton and Jeff Szpirglas, the creators behind 2019’s Blood on Black Wax: Horror Soundtracks on Vinyl. We were also lucky enough to have Szpirglas discuss his new book in an exclusive interview! Let’s do this thing!

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Planet Wax Review

As a kid, I spent a lot of time lounging in front of my CD player listening to film soundtracks. I can remember my dad buying me the score for John Williams’ Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace and staring intently at Drew Struzan’s artwork whilst avoiding the spoilery content on the back. My soundtrack collection spanned bookshelves, and I’ve always regretted the day I switched to digital and dumped a vast majority of that collection. (I’m currently in the process of restocking!)

Planet Wax, the terrific new book from Aaron Lupton and Jeff Szpirglas feels like a celebration of those records and/or CDs we used to purchase and prop up like a holy relic in our homes before the internet obliterated the music store and relegated our favorite soundtracks to compressed byte-sized data on our cell phones. Ah, the good ole days.

The book spans over 200 pages and features beautiful artwork from renowned film scores such as John Williams’ Star Wars trilogy, Brad Fiedel’s The Terminator, Dave Grusin’s The Goonies, James Horner’s Cocoon, and Vangelis’ Blade Runner, among, oh, so many others. And each picture is accompanied by details about the score on display as well as the occasional interview with the likes of director Richard Donner, and composers Christopher Young, David Shire, Laurence Rosenthal, Barry Schrader, Brad Fiedel, Bruce Broughton, and many others who reveal interesting tidbits regarding the great science fiction/fantasy scores of our time.

Really, it’s genuinely thrilling to read about Donner’s first reaction to Williams’ now iconic Superman theme — “…if you really listen,” Donner says at one point, “he actually says ‘Superman’ with the music [in that three-note motif].” — or the way Bruce Broughton was inspired by Mozart for Harry and the Hendersons. There’s even a bit in which music producer Craig Huxley discusses what it was like working with Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner on Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Great stuff!

And, as stated, each of these stories features artwork from the records themselves, which makes for an entertaining visual to flip through on a Saturday afternoon. It is strange to see so many unique movie posters designed with so much attention to detail, created by real artists on a physical canvas — a stark contrasts with modern movie ads that seem plastered together using photoshop. Planet Wax entombs these undervalued masterpieces in one gigantic, thrilling read that true film score enthusiasts will most certainly appreciate. Essentially, it’s like reading a massive collection of linear notes, which was always part of the fun when purchasing a new soundtrack.

If anything, Planet Wax transports the reader back to that magical moment in time where one could head to their local music store and spend hours sifting through mountains of records and CDs in search of their favorite artist, band, composer, or score and run home with a little bit of magic tucked under their arm.

Planet Wax: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Soundtracks On Vinyl will release on September 29. Pre-order your copy here!

Interview with Planet Wax Author Jeff Szpirglas

About Jeff Szpirglas: Jeff has been rabidly listening to film soundtracks since picking up an audio cassette of Return of the Jedi back in 1983. Over the years, he has contributed to Film Score Monthly and now regularly writes for Rue Morgue magazine. He is also the author of over 20 books for young readers, ranging from horror novels to nonfiction tomes. Follow him at

Click here to purchase Blood on Black Wax! Talk about the book Planet Wax — where did the idea originate to do a follow up to Blood on Black Wax?

Jeff Szpirglas: Long before I delved into horror scores, I’d been listening to and collecting the music from the sci-fi films that defined my youth. Being born in the mid-Seventies means that I grew up in the midst of the Spielberg/Lucas years, which was such a Renaissance for all of these genre films. As much as I enjoy horror soundtracks like Dracula or Halloween, the scores that really got me into collecting were for films I was actually allowed to watch as a kid. Even as Aaron and I were writing Blood on Black Wax, I had the thought of pursuing a book about SF scores in the same manner.

CS: What are some of the ways you consider this book different than its predecessor?

Szpirglas: Blood on Black Wax dips back into really early classics, like Bride of Frankenstein and King Kong, and hurtles through the years all the way up to modern entries like Get Out and Hereditary. With Planet Wax, we decided upon keeping the soundtracks tied to the seventies through to the end of the nineties, so that the book wouldn’t be dated so quickly. Aaron and I do explore some earlier scores, especially for the iconic television series that came out in the sixties: Star Trek, Doctor Who, Lost In Space, etc. We didn’t cover any television scores in the first book, but television was such a great medium for the sci-fi genre that we felt it would be a huge oversight to skip over those scores.

CS: What about vinyl has struck a chord in contemporary times — or, why do you think vinyl has made such a strong comeback?

Szpirglas: Aaron’s probably your best bet to answer that question, given that he has an attic full of records, while my collection fills a shelf or two. Records obviously showcase the art – look at labels like Waxwork, Terror-Vision, or Enjoy The Ride Records, and you get these wonderfully deluxe new editions that are often quite lavish – a far cry from some of the earlier albums that may have simply reproduced the poster art on their covers, although even then, the 12×12” space of a record was almost like having a mini-poster you could keep on your shelf. I think the appeal of record collecting, apart from the enjoyment of the music, says something about our enjoyment to curate, and also of the tactile nature of owning something – whether it’s art, or comics, or in my case, soundtracks and Doctor Who memorabilia. I think the resurgence of vinyl speaks to this desire to contain the intangible nature of video and music into something more concrete.

CS: Part of the fun for me, as someone who collects CDs, is having a physical case and cover to look at — I’ve always appreciated the artwork and information found within the linear notes — this book seems to be a celebration of that ideology, would you agree? Why or why not?

Szpirglas: I’m a big CD collector myself, for the reasons that you mention. I got into soundtrack collecting at a point where people were making the jump for vinyl to digital. In fact, I vividly remember dropping fifty bucks on the Japanese CD of Raiders of the Lost Ark, only to find out that DCC Compact Classics issued a deluxe double-length CD a year or two later, and with copious liner notes (I still have both CDs). So, to get to your question, yes – the books really embrace the idea of a collection; something tactile that you can hold in your hands, and with some explanation as to what you’re listening to, or how it was created. Listening to film music in isolation is a unique experience; you’re often recreating the film in your head, or your memory of the film in your imagination. And hearing the music divorced from the story, the sound effects, and dialogue allows for a different portal into that film experience.

CS: What were the challenges of developing the book?

Szpirglas: There was always a wealth of music and films to choose from, and in some cases, paring down the choices, or cutting down the length of the interviews was sometimes tricky. The goal of the book is to unpack the film and the score in a limited amount of space. So the book isn’t going to go into the same degree of depth as an academic text. We’re really trying to distill the essence of the music and its importance in around 300 – 350 words, and I could have devoted four pages to the power and the glory that is the soundtrack to Krull.

CS: What was it like interviewing all of these directors — Richard Donner, Nicholas Meyer — and composers?

Szpirglas: For me, those interviews were really the raison d’etre of writing the book. If it were possible, I would have included interviews for every entry, although some of the composers are long gone, and not everyone was reachable. Some of the interviews were done live, and some via email, but it was a pleasure to hear from some of my childhood heroes – such as Laurence Rosenthal, who kindly, and quite eloquently, answered all of my questions about Clash of the Titans. A lot of these scores are thirty to forty years old, so there’s always that fear that you’re speaking about something really esoteric that may not be well-remembered, and yet you have a guy like Stu Phillips, who wrote an insane amount of television and film music over the years and can still speak with a high degree of clarity about the differences of orchestrating for the likes of Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica.

CS: Were there any stories you wanted to include, but couldn’t?

Szpirglas:  Because of the visual nature of the book, it did mean that we had to cut back on some of the interview quotes. For example, Craig Safan recounted how he came up with one of the themes for The Last Starfighter while driving around, at a stoplight. I’d heard that story before, but the new revelation is that the little sub-theme that plays around the main refrain is actually a musical statement of those words: “The Last Starfighter.” It’s what John Williams does with his punchy theme for Superman, or what James Bernard did for Hammer, having the music actually say the words “Dracula” or “Quatermass.”

CS: What do you want readers to take away from Planet Wax?

Szpirglas: As with Blood on Black Wax, you’re basically taking away a record collection in book form. But I hope the book will provide an opportunity to appreciate the innovative use of sound and music in a genre that has traditionally asked for a lot, visually speaking. Whether or not the special effects for these movies hold up, they are aided immeasurably by their sound design and music to help render and evoke their imaginary worlds.

CS: What soundtracks do you wish you could have included?

I was really pushing for some of the older sci-fi soundtracks from the fifties and sixties, although their vinyl representation aren’t great. But scores like Dimitri Tiomkin’s The Thing (From Another World) and Bernard Herrmann’s work in the genre, like The Day The Earth Stood Still and Fahrenheit 451, are exemplary. And because we had a chapter on sci-fi/horror in Blood on Black Wax, it meant that we didn’t include things like Forbidden Planet or the Alien films this time around.

CS: What future books do you have planned, if any?

Szpirglas: This is the year where literally four books were due to come out, and then COVID-19 hit. I’m working away at an anthology of children’s horror stories, and I do have at least one more soundtrack book I’d like to pursue. Let’s hope Planet Wax does well enough to justify a third entry in the series.

CS: What is your favorite soundtrack in Planet Wax? Why? Which one is the most underrated?

Szpirglas: I’d be lying if I didn’t say Star Wars, although Empire is my favorite score (and film) in the series. That music was a ubiquitous part of my childhood, and elevates those movies to such a cosmic level. John Williams is largely responsible for imbuing the saga with its fairy-tale quality. Visually, the story evokes the future, but the music is archaic, coming from the derring-do swashbucklers of the past.

I’m glad we also have a place to celebrate the music of Doctor Who, which, aside from the eerie theme music, could sound like almost anything. The show utilized everything from library tracks to really experimental electronic music to small chamber orchestras to this bold, glossy synth music in the eighties. There’s a real, malleable quality to what Doctor Who as a show is – you can change the lead character, change the style of storytelling, and still boil down the essence of the show into something that endures. I find that this is the case musically, as well.

Plus, you know, Krull.

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