With several big trailer releases and the loss of one of the superhero genre’s original damsels in distress it’s been an interesting week for cinema. We also had a few new releases try to give Marvel a fight and we got some welcome news from an Oscar winning screenwriter about his next big project after a huge 2017. I’ve got a lot to cover in this week’s edition of Spotlight on Cinema so let’s get right to it! Remember to check back every week for more reviews, news and countdowns on Cinema Spotlight.
AVENGERS REIGNS SUPREME AGAIN
For the third weekend in a row Marvel’s teamup sequel “Avengers: Infinity War” ruled the roost as the top grossing film of the weekend and also set a few more records in the process. “Infinity War” became the first superhero movie to top $1 billion internationally and delivered the second largest opening ever in China according to Box Office Mojo. The blockbuster is at nearly $550 million domestically and has become the eighth largest domestic release of all-time. “Infinity War” had little competition over the weekend with only two major players released to theaters in the Melissa McCarthy led college comedy “Life of the Party” and the home invasion thriller “Breaking In”. “Life of the Party” made $18.5 million while “Breaking In” came in at $16.5 million, enough to land them at second and third respectively at the end of the weekend. You can read my review of “Life of the Party” here and my scathing review of “Breaking In” here. “Infinity War” could have a great battle on its hands this weekend with “Deadpool 2” looking to supersede its Marvel cousin at the top.
THE LOSS OF LOIS LANE
Fans of the original “Superman” movie felt their hearts sink a bit this week as Margot Kidder passed away at the age of 69. Known for playing Lois Lane, Kidder was a cherished actress in the world of comic book films, but was also well known for her appearances in horror and thriller projects like “Sisters”, “Black Christmas” and “The Amityville Horror”. She was an outspoken activist and theatrical actress whose life and career may have had ups and downs but, in the end, she came out on top as a highly respected performer. Kidder will be sorely missed. You can look for my “In Memoriam” focusing on the life and career of this beautiful and talented icon later this week.
FIRST LOOK AT “THE PREDATOR”
We’ve known for a while that a new “Predator” movie was in the works and now we have finally gotten our first look at the science fiction sequel with a trailer released in the last week. Starring Boyd Holbrook (“Logan”) and Olivia Munn (“X-Men: Apocalypse”) the Shane Black-led film will take place between “Predator 2” and 2010’s “Predators” supposedly putting it in line with the timeline of the series rather than rebooting it. The trailer gives us a small glimpse at what we can expect and if the sneak peak is to be taken for face value it looks like the Predators will be more powerful and intimidating threats to humanity than ever before. There’s already confusion among fans as to what direction this film will go with the famed science fiction creature, but we’ll have to wait for either a longer trailer or the film’s actual September 14 release to find out for ourselves. You can watch the trailer above.
FREDDIE MERCURY GETTING THE CINEMATIC TREATMENT
Another big trailer release this past week was for one of the first true Oscar bait films of 2018, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which will chronicle the life of Queen’s famed lead singer Freddie Mercury. The trailer offers us a look at the humor and personality of the film and our first glimpse of Rami Malek in character. Honestly, I have to say Malek looks perfect as Mercury and the dialogue in the trailer offers some great tongue and cheek content. This movie has had fans begging for details on what to expect for months. A lot of times we get biopics about figures that are only mildly interesting or popular with the general public but “Bohemian Rhapsody” seems to be moving itself pretty close to event viewing status. There are already talks of a possible Oscar season push for the film and Malek being an early possible front runner for award season gold. We’ll have to wait until November 2 to find out if the movie is worth the hype or if it’s just another biopic destined for mediocrity.
JORDAN PEELE’S NEXT PROJECT TITLED “US”
After escaping his comedic roots and winning an Oscar for his smash hit provocative horror movie “Get Out”, Jordan Peele will bring a new story to the big screen in 2019 with “Us”. Described as a thriller and a “nightmare”, “Us” has already gained a LOT of speculation and love from fans after “Get Out” managed to be a rare quality film that bridged the gap between awards success and box office love. Few details have been released about the movie, but we have gotten a poster, a release reveal of March 2019, and confirmation that “Black Panther’s” Lupita Nyong’o will play a part in the film. The only other detail we know is that it will be a “social” thriller which, for me, brings back memories of last year’s great movies like Peele’s own “Get Out” and “Mother!” which both touched on very complicated and shocking themes inspired by social tendencies of society. With a name like “Us” we can only assume this film will do the same and I personally can’t wait to see what Peele has in store.
“IT: CHAPTER TWO” HAS ITS FIRST STARS
We end by discussing the sequel to the bigest R-rated horror film ever. Last year “It” made waves as a Hollywood remake of the Stephen King’s novel previously adapted to a miniseries. The film was split in two as a planned duology, with the first movie focusing on the childhood of the Losers Club and the second to focus on them as adults with Pennywise returning to haunt them. Jessica Chastain was previous announced to star in the film as the adult version of redhead and sole female Loser Beverly Marsh but now a second actor has been added to the cast, James Ransone. Known for his roles in “The Wire” and the “Sinister” films Ransone will play the adult version of Eddie, a hypochondriac who broke his arm in the first film and spent the later half of the story in a cast. While not confirmed to be part of the movie, James McAvoy and Bull Hader are reportedly in talks for roles according to Screen Rant which would leave only three other Losers Club members to be decided. With this kind of talent signing on for the film “It: Chapter 2” promises to be an enticing horror sequel to say the least.