Remember this day. December 3rd, 2020. For today is the beginning of a new era in Hollywood. Warner Bros announced major, game-changing news: ALL of their big releases in 2021 will be available on HBO Max and in movie theaters on the same day. All of them. Every single one - from Dune to Godzilla vs Kong to The Matrix 4 to The Suicide Squad to Judas and the Black Messiah to Space Jam 2. (However, only in the US because HBO Max is currently only available in the US. International plans not yet confirmed.) This is major news - essentially meaning the era of "theatrical windows" (as they are known) is over. Let me be one of the first to say - good riddance. Theatrical windows were a hindrance, preventing innovation that is necessary in the world we now live in with wifi/streaming available worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic just helped speed up this evolution, and this decision was made to offer all of the movies safely to everyone throughout 2021. You now get to choose how you want to watch – in a movie theater or at home (or both).
"Afterward, go out and film yourself getting arrested at a protest rally. Then you'll be the best movie of the year." One of our favorite lists that kicks off this time of the year is from filmmaker John Waters - his Top 10 favorite films from this year. For 2020, Waters has chosen yet another (expected) eclectic mix of films, lead by the uber wacky comedy Butt Boy (trailer here), about a guy who discovers he has a serial killer ass. Literally. I always love seeing what Waters picks every year, because he's one of the few who has no shame about admitting his personal tastes. They're all films he loved that did something for him, and he explains so simply yet eloquently why he loves them. And no surprise, his picks for 2020 are as wild & weird & kooky as expected. No one else has a Top 10 like Waters'. And that's why I enjoy highlighting his picks year after year.
Noooooooo not another!! The one-and-only Sean Connery has died at age 90. His family reports that he has been "unwell for some time" (via BBC), and passed away in the Bahamas with much of his family with him. The original James Bond! Indiana Jones' dad! And so many other iconic roles in so many outstanding movies - including The Man Who Would Be King, The Great Train Robbery, Murder on the Orient Express, Zardoz, Time Bandits, The Hunt for Red October, Medicine Man, The Rock, Dragonheart, Entrapment, and Finding Forrester. Connery only won one Academy Award in his lifetime - for Best Supporting Actor in The Untouchables (in 1987) but that's it. He also won one BAFTA Award for Best Actor in The Name of the Rose (in 1986). He proved himself over and over in different roles, and almost always charmed everyone. He has only one child, Jason Connery born in 1963, as well as a younger brother named Neil. A heartbreaking loss.
The show must go on… and the Golden Lion must roar. The 77th Venice Film Festival wrapped up this weekend on the Lido, and awards were handed out despite this pandemic year changing the whole festival. The top prize at Venice is a Golden Lion (in honor of the iconic lion that is the symbol of the city) and it's one of the greatest achievements in cinema along with the Palme d'Or. This year's winner is Nomadland, the somber and poetic Americana film from The Rider director Chloe Zhao starring Frances McDormand as a woman living out of her van. It is a quieter year at the Venice Film Festival than usual, with less films playing at the festival overall, and a reduced number of people in attendance (for safety reasons and due to travel restrictions). But the festival insisted it go on anyway, despite Cannes cancelling this year. But they still brought outstanding work from all over the world. The full list of Venezia 77 winners can be seen below.
Very sad news to report. American actor Chadwick Boseman has died after a years long battle with colon cancer. The news was officially announced on Boseman's Twitter, stating that "he died in his home, with his wife and family by his side." He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 and has been fighting it ever since then, still making movies all the time anyway. Boseman is most well known for starring in Black Panther as T'Challa, and the subsequent Marvel movies. But he also played Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get on Up, and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. And most recently he was in Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods and Brian Kirk's 21 Bridges. "A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. 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." F*!k cancer.
"It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another." –Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. Big news in the film festival world! Five genre festivals have decided to come together and launch a special event this year to circumvent challenges of hosting festivals during an ongoing pandemic. Nightstream is a "collective virtual event" launching online in October this year. The five participating genre film festivals include: Boston Underground, Brooklyn Horror, North Bend, Overlook, and Popcorn Frights. "In response to the many challenges impacting the film community amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and the concerns of safety and security that presently come with physical exhibition and festivals, a collective online initiative will be launched by organizers of a number of American genre festivals for the upcoming fall season to offer a singular experience for U.S. audiences." Fest passes are on sale now.
The Venice Film Festival has officially announced its selection of films playing at the historic film festival in 2020. Venezia (as it is known) will be the very first major festival to return this year ever since everything shut down in March. Celebrating their 77th year, and with no intention of cancelling despite safety concerns, the festival has revealed a bevy of documentary and feature films that will be premiering on the Lido at the end of the summer. Venice 2020 runs from September 2nd to September 12th. The two highlights of the line-up are: The Rider director Chloe Zhao's new film Nomadland starring Frances McDormand, and Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino's doc film Salvatore, about a "Shoemaker of Dreams". We are planning to cover the festival, at least to see how a festival works in this strange coronavirus time. And, of course, to see if there are any unique discoveries worthy of breaking out worldwide. Full list below.
It's official! And hopefully it won't get delayed again! Warner Bros has announced that Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated summer action spy thriller Tenet has been rescheduled for release at the end of August / beginning of September. It was initially scheduled to open on July 17th in the summer, and Hollywood was hoping it might be the big movie when cinemas re-open. But with America failing to contain and control the coronavirus, they had to push it back. It was then rescheduled for August 15th, but it won't make that date either. Instead, WB has decided to do something unprecedented with a $200+ million blockbuster - release it internationally in 70+ countries first (where the virus is under control and cinemas have safely re-opened) and then release it, carefully, in "select cities" in the US one week later. Hopefully no more delays this time.
More pandemic delays to report. Two highly anticipated sequels have been rescheduled - moving from fall 2020 openings until 2021. Unfortunately due to America's inability to control and maintain the coronavirus, cinemas still haven't re-opened and Hollywood studios are getting extra nervous, so they're making a safe choice and pulling big movies from the 2020 schedule and giving an extra year of time for things to return to normal. Joe Kosinski's sequel Top Gun: Maverick has been rescheduled for release July 2nd, 2021 (for 4th of July weekend). And John Krasinski's sequel A Quiet Place Part II has also been rescheduled for release April 23rd, 2021 (more than a year after it was initially set to open). It's exhausting to keep up with all the release date changes and delays, but we're doing our best to make sure our schedule is updated.
What a bummer. Yet another delay. Disney, which now owns the company formerly known as 20th Century Fox, has officially announced updated release dates for James Cameron's Avatar sequels that have been in the works for a decade already. We have been playing this game for so many years before. Avatar 2, the highly anticipated sequel to Avatar (originally released in 2009), was initially scheduled for December of 2016. Every year, or every other year, Cameron re-appears and announces that they aren't quite ready and it gets delayed another few years. First they moved it into 2017, then until 2020, then until 2021, where it has been for a while. They officially started filming last year and have been deep into production ever since, with hopes that maybe they'll make that 2021 date. But with the pandemic screwing up everyone's schedules, that won't be the case – Avatar 2 has been rescheduled to open December 16th, 2022 instead. It's what it is.
Well hello Mr. Fancy Pants!! We break from our usual trailer updates to bring you some exciting news about a horror classic returning to the big screen. Sam Raimi's original haunted house classic The Evil Dead is returning to drive-in cinemas! It's true! Grindhouse Releasing has confirmed a summer tour of drive-in cinemas this month - playing throughout the rest of June straight into July. With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down movie theaters worldwide, drive-in movie theaters have returned in force as the exciting new way to "go to the movie during a pandemic!" At least it's a way for everyone to gather under a big screen and watch movies together. And what couldn't be a better choice of a movie for the drive-in experience?! The Evil Dead, of course. If only it played as a double feature with the sequel/remake or with Army of Darkness.
Wow! We break from our regular updates to bring you this news. For the fourth time in Oscar history, The Academy has announced they are postponing the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony. After debating and discussing ideas over the weekend, The Academy (AMPAS) officially announced that the "2020 Oscars" will now take place on April 25th, 2021. They were originally scheduled for February 28th, in line with recent schedule changes the last few years to have the ceremony at the end of February (before March Madness begins and takes all the attention away from the show). In addition to announcing the ceremony delay, The Academy has also revealed that the eligibility window for films will remain open until February 28th, 2021. Meaning any movie that plays in cinemas through February 2021 can be considered for 2020 Oscars. Crazy.