As you already know, Dr. Dre is no stranger to film success. Despite being known as a legendary rapper and music producer, he showed what he can do on the big screen with 2015's Straight Outta Compton. Now he has his sights set on another biopic featuring a music legend, Marvin Gaye.
Dr. Dre is now working on a movie about the late singer Marvin Gaye. While rumors of other biopics from the likes of F. Gary Gray, Cameron Crowe, James Gandolfini, Scott Rudin and more have surfaced in the past, this is the first time that Marvin Gaye's estate has approved anything. Jamie Foxx landed the rights for a limited series in 2016 but it never got off the ground.
Marvin Gaye, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recipient, shaped the sound of Motown in the 1960s and 70s. He was fatally shot by his father at their L.A. home in 1984 after a physical altercation resulting from a family dispute.
So a new Willy Wonka movie from Warner Bros. is in the works. The studio has already has a director lined up in Paul King (Paddington), but are still unsure about who will be the title character in the film. One of the names being rumored is multi-talented actor/musician Donald Glover (Atlanta, Parks & Recreation).
Glover is reportedly one of three actors on the shortlist to possibly play the character, Collider reports. He stands alongside Ryan Gosling and Justice League’s Ezra Miller. Paul King has already been tapped to direct the upcoming film.
Willy Wonka is based off of author Roald Dahl’s 1964 book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which depicts a poor boy as he joins a group of young contest winners on an adventure through a crazy yet dazzling chocolate factory led by its bizarre owner.
The first film adaptation, entitled Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, arrived in 1971, starring deceased actor Gene Wilder. Johnny Depp later revived the character in 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
By Travis J. Klemann
A revenge tale unlike any other, with surprises at every turn perfectly describes this cinematic roller coaster. Directed by Paul McGuigan (Gangster No. 1), this intriguing crime thriller keeps your eyes glued to the screen during its 110 minute runtime.
During the initial intro credits, two bookies are brutally murdered by an unknown assailant and a young man is shot by a sniper upon exiting a hotel. Taking place in New York City, the story begins with events that happened twenty years ago involving a wager on a fixed horse race. The horse died mid-race which was very unfortunate for Max as he now owed the mob a hefty sum of money. To set an example, the mob killed Max, his wife and young son to prevent others from betting on a fixed race.
In present day New York, Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett) is mistaken for Nick Fisher while staying at his friend's apartment. Two henchmen forcibly take him to meet "The Boss" (Morgan Freeman) who insists he either pay the gambling debt his friend Nick owes or kill the son of his rival, "The Rabbi" (Ben Kingsley) as retribution for his own son's assassination. Slevin is kidnapped by a separate set of henchmen and taken to "The Rabbi" who also demands he repay a gambling debt.
Add a hitman playing both sides by the code name Goodkat (Bruce Willis), an overly enthusiastic neighbor named Lindsey (Lucy Liu) and an eagerly invested Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci), you have an interesting story with equally interesting characters. There's surprising revelations throughout along with unique dialogue such as "The Boss" referencing The Shmoo from creator Al Capp.
I love this movie's intricate plot so much, I don't want to spoil the outcome for anyone. I highly recommend it for viewers who enjoy crime thrillers and plot twists. I'm also a fan of the director Paul McGuigan who previously worked with star Josh Hartnett on Wicker Park.
4/5 Stars - Highly Recommended
PS: Another reason I recommend this film is the all-star cast which features screen legends Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley in rare roles as mobsters. Josh Hartnett is an actor who has "the look" but unfortunately gets overlooked by Hollywood. Last but not least, Stanley Tucci has a small but important role. #TucciGang
By Travis J. Klemann
To most of us, our family is everything but J. Paul Getty is unlike most of us as he places money above everything else. Director Ridley Scott showcases Getty’s greed in the cinematic depiction of the infamous kidnapping of his grandson, John Paul Getty III. Based on true events, this movie may strengthen viewers’ appreciation for their loved ones rather than the almighty dollar at the conclusion of its 133-minute runtime.
In 1973, 16-year-old John Paul Getty III is kidnapped while walking the streets of Rome late one night. The reason for his kidnapping? He’s the grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, the richest man in the history of the world. Flashbacks reveal events that lead to his parents’ divorce in which his mother, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams), rejected alimony in favor of full custody of her children.
Gail receives a phone call from one of the kidnappers demanding $17 million. She then attempts to contact her father-in-law over the phone only to watch him refuse to pay any ransom in a press conference on live TV. Understandably irate, Gail heads to Getty’s estate where she meets Fletcher Chace (Mark Wahlberg), a former CIA operative who’s been assigned the task of investigating her son’s case as well as securing his release.
One of Paul’s captors, Cinquanta, exhibits a sympathetic nature while looking after him in Italy. Tensions rise as weeks pass by without the ransom being paid which leads to Paul being sold off to another criminal organization. The new group of captors is less patient and more aggressive as they cut off John’s ear even after lowering the ransom to $4 million. After reluctantly signing over legal parental rights to her husband, Gail receives only $1 million from Getty since the first million is considered a “tax deductible” amount.
J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) finally agrees to pay the entire ransom after being verbally berated by Fletcher Chace and chooses to void the parental agreement, reverting full custody back to Gail Harris. The kidnappers leave Paul at a construction site but in typical hostage situation fashion, they decide to tie up loose ends as they’ve been instructed to locate and kill Paul before he is reunited with his mother. The search takes place in a nearby town where Cinquanta attacks a captor trying to grab Paul before handing him over to Chace.
J. Paul Getty eventually passed away and left Gail Harris in charge of managing her children’s’ inheritance until they are of age. However, his company was set up as a charitable trust, meaning his income was tax-free but not spendable. Instead, he invested much of his money in paintings, sculptures and other artifacts, most of which can be found in the Getty Museum located in Los Angeles, California.
Whether you’ve heard the story on the news as it happened or recently discovered the tribulation this young man experienced, I recommend you see this movie soon or even watch the FX series Trust. And for those who prefer to read, there’s the 1995 book by John Pearson titled Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes And Misfortunes Of The Heirs Of J. Paul Getty which the film is based on. This is an interesting look at the effect that insurmountable wealth can have on a person’s priorities.
4/5 Stars – Highly Recommended
PS: I just want to quickly give credit to the sole screenwriter of this serious story, David Scarpa, who’s also contributed to the following films: The Last Castle (2001) and The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008). Also thought I should mention that despite not winning an award, this motion picture was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards – Best Actress (Michelle Williams), Best Supporting Actor (Christopher Plummer) and Best Director (Ridley Scott).
By Travis J. Klemann
A killer soundtrack combined with captivating car chases and astounding action makes for one fantastic film from director Edgar Wright (Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz). Break out the bell-bottoms and buckle up for 113 minutes of exhilarating excitement!
This cool crime story takes place in Atlanta, Georgia where Baby [yes, B-A-B-Y, Baby] acts as a getaway driver for local kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey). The crew may alternate but the driver is always the same as Baby (Ansel Elgort) has a debt he owes to Doc after boosting his car years ago. The car accident that took the lives of his parents left him with tinnitus which he drowns out the "hum in his drum" by listening to various iPods he's accumulated containing his mother's favorite songs.
Despite working with shady criminals to pay off a debt along with his cut, Baby is a kind and gentle young man who takes care of his deaf foster father, Joseph (CJ Jones), in their small apartment. He soon meets Debora (Lily James) at the diner she works at as a waitress and decides to leave the life of crime as his debt to Doc is paid off. But of course, a life of crime isn't easy to leave as Doc threatens to hurt the two people Baby loves if he doesn't cooperate.
Complications arise the night before the "big heist" as the homicidal Bats (Jamie Foxx) kills a group of illegal arms dealers, believing them to be police officers. Against Doc's better judgment, Baby convinces him to go through with the heist involving Bats along with the married couple of Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eiza González). Early in the morning, Baby attempts to slip away but is stopped by Buddy and Bats, who happened to discover his voice recorder. Accusations of him being an informant are quickly dispelled after listening to one of Baby's mixes.
In the aftermath of the heist, Bats and Darling have both been killed which leads to Buddy being hell-bent on revenge, placing the blame solely on Baby. He ends up at the diner moments before Baby arrives, focused on taking the life of the woman he loves, basically an eye-for-an-eye situation. After shooting Buddy in the diner, true love persuades Doc to give Baby and Debora enough money to start a new life.
Doc proceeds to get into a shootout with cops from the botched arms deal only to be hit by a police car driven by Buddy. The cat-and-mouse game in the parking garage comes to a conclusion with Buddy letting off gunshots near Baby's ear in order to deafen him. Mere seconds later, Buddy is disarmed by a crowbar-wielding Debora followed by a critical shot in the leg by Baby which sends him falling to a fiery death.
While trying to flee for their road trip, Baby and Debora are stopped by a police roadblock. Rather than drag her into his life of crime, Baby surrenders to the police to face the consequences of his actions. Despite positive testimonies from those closest to him and witnesses, Baby is sentenced to 25 years in prison, with a parole hearing after five. Postcard messages from Debora reveal his name to actually be Miles. When Baby is finally released, Debora is shown waiting for him, clearly ready for that long-awaited journey of just them, their music and the road.
Without a doubt, this was one of the absolute best movies to be released in 2017. Top Ten list, easily. It perfectly combined action, drama, a sweet soundtrack and a little bit of comedy as well. If you're a fan of music, fast cars and superb story-telling, then you must check out this film.
5/5 Stars - Extremely Recommended
PS: As a MARVEL fan, I feel compelled to mention that Netflix's version of The Punisher, Jon Bernthal, makes a brief appearance as Griff during the bank heist. Also, there's a hilarious scene during an armored truck heist involving a mask mix-up with JD (Lanny Joon) and Eddie No-Nose (Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers) as part of the revolving-door crew.
By Travis J. Klemann
The eighteenth entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe wonderfully blends together science fiction and political commentary for an adventurous yet serious take on the superhero genre. Director Ryan Coogler fantastically leads an ensemble cast in this cinematic journey of the fictional African nation of Wakanda for a trip lasting 134 minutes.
A brief backstory of Wakanda reveals the origin of the technologically advanced African nation due to the crash of a meteor containing vibranium. The introduction is followed by a flashback of a murder from 1992 in Oakland, California which drastically affects the future throne.
In present day Africa, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) extracts Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) from an undercover assignment in order for her to attend his coronation ceremony as the new king of Wakanda. At the ceremony, T'Challa is challenged by M'Baku (Winston Duke) of the Jabari Tribe in ritual combat for the throne. T'Challa persuades M'Baku to yield rather than die as his people need their leader.
A Wakandan artifact is stolen from a museum in London by Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) and Erik Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) along with a couple accomplices. This leads the trio of T'Challa, Nakia and Okoye (Danai Gurira) to South Korea to prevent the sale between Klaue and CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman). After a memorable interrogation scene, Erik Stevens -AKA- Killmonger breaks Klaue free only to kill him later.
While T'Challa brings Ross to Wakanda to heal his wounds from the recent attack, Killmonger also makes his way to the hidden kingdom with the body of Ulysses Klaue. In the presence of the tribal elders, Killmonger reveals his birth name and claim to the throne, then issues a challenge to T'Challa for ritual combat. At the conclusion of the battle, Killmonger hurls T'Challa over the waterfall, then ingests the heart-shaped herb to gain the powers of the Black Panther.
Nakia, Shuri, Ramonda and Ross flee to the Jabari Tribe where they discover their fallen king is in fact alive despite being comatose. Ramonda prepares the herb Nakia procured before Killmonger burned the rest in order to prevent being replaced by another king.
A revitalized T'Challa returns to continue his fight with Killmonger. On an open battlefield, war breaks out between the Dora Milaje led by Okoye and the Border Tribe led by W'Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) while Ross remotely pilots a jet to shoot down planes transporting vibranium weapons to the Wakandan spies. The clash between both Black Panthers ends with T'Challa stabbing Killmonger and an emotional shot as the sun sets.
T'Challa announces his plans to build an outreach center in Oakland which will be run by Nakia and Shuri. The king of Wakanda reveals his country's true nature as a technologically advanced region to the United Nations as the terrifically tantalizing tale comes to its end.
This is a tremendous superhero film that incorporates two opposing political stances - war and peace. I also appreciated the use of some historical context behind the antagonist's motivations. Also, in typical MCU fashion, the villain managed to create division among the heroes albeit briefly during the battlefield scene.
5/5 Stars - Extremely Recommended
PS: As it may be quite noticeable, the plot of the film somewhat mirrors that of The Lion King which is also a Disney production. I don't fault the soon-to-be conglomerate from wanting to retell their most successful and beloved tale in a different version ahead of the release of their live-action adaptation. It's just a smart business decision and who doesn't love a story that reminds them of a classic? (Example: Avatar -- Pocahontas)
By Travis J. Klemann
The popular gore-infused horror franchise from the early 2000's keeps on ticking despite the demise of its infamous protagonist, John Kramer, a decade prior according to the story's ever-changing timeline. Australian directors The Spierig Brothers (Michael & Peter) expertly construct the eighth installment of the morality-based splatter film series which keeps your pulse racing for the entirety of its 92 minute duration.
Like previous SAW movies, the story alternates between a group of people with shady pasts enduring elaborate death traps and the ongoing investigation around the discovery of dead bodies led by Detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) which fit the modus operandi of the Jigsaw killer. As John Kramer died ten years ago, it's believed that the recent victims were the work of a copycat. Halloran suspects forensic pathologists Logan (Matt Passmore) and Eleanor (Hannah Emily Anderson) based upon interactions with them in the morgue.
Four of the five remaining scared snared strangers are identified simply as Anna, Ryan, Mitch and Carly during their ordeal within the confines of a rustic barn. Little is told of their past until closer to the finale of the torturous tale. Throughout their experience, the captives are instructed to confess to sinful actions from their past.
Moments before the story's climax, Halloran followed Logan and Eleanor to the scene of the gruesome murders where the copycat is fully revealed. In classic SAW form, plot twists unfold and key elements of the past are exposed due to flashbacks of another apprentice assisting John Kramer (Tobin Bell) long before his eventual death.
If you're a fan of the SAW franchise or someone who appreciates interesting twist endings, I suggest you rent or buy Jigsaw very soon.
3/5 Stars - Recommended
PS: Hopefully this film is intended to introduce a new apprentice to the franchise which we will see more of in the future, perhaps working along with a certain doctor that's been there since the beginning.
Check out this Interview with a Chicago original, Jay Washington. This comedian and actor, who also dabbles in professional wrestling, stops by Logik Radio while in town for the C2E2 weekend. We discuss his stand up career, making it in Hollywood and the latest in wrestling and movies.
By Travis J. Klemann
An experienced hunter and a rookie FBI agent work together to unravel events which lead to a teenager's death during Wyoming's winter season. This chilling neo-Western from writer/director Taylor Sheridan leaves you informed and captivated at the conclusion of its 111 minute run time.
While surveying the Wind River Indian Reservation for mountain lions, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) discovers the frozen body of 18-year-old Natalie Hanson. The investigation is stalled until the arrival of rookie FBI special agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen).
Despite evidence of blunt force trauma and rape, the local medical examiner refuses to rule the cause of death as homicide which leaves Jane and Cory to solve the case without any additional help from the FBI. Upon notifying the parents of the deceased, they learn Natalie recently started dating an older man.
Their investigation leads them to the trailer of Natalie's brother Chip, along with his junkie friends. Shortly after, a male body is discovered nude in the frozen snow. Cory learns from Chip the name of Natalie's boyfriend, Matt, who happens to work security at the nearby oil drilling station.
Jane, Tribal Police Chief Ben Shoyo (Graham Greene) and additional officers visit the drill site where things quickly escalate with the security guards over who has jurisdictions among the reservation.
A flashback shows Natalie Hanson (Kelsey Asbille) and Matt Rayburn (Jon Bernthal) cuddling in bed before being interrupted by his security colleagues, notably a drunk and vulgar Pete Mickens (James Jordan).
Without giving too much away, Natalie escapes the trailer while Matt holds off his co-workers. Back in the present time, a firefight ensues which leads to the deaths of Ben, the other officers and most of the security guards.
Pete flees on foot but Cory catches up to him and takes him to the top of a mountain where he confesses. Rather than kill him, Cory offers Pete the same choice he gave Natalie, a barefoot escape which ends in death from pulmonary hemmorhage. Cory informs Martin the case is closed after the man responsible went out "with a whimper." At the conclusion of the film, a title card states missing-persons statistics are compiled for every other demographic while none exist for Native American women as their numbers remain unknown.
5/5 Stars - Extremely Recommended
PS: I rated this movie so high as it's a gripping tale of the harshness of life as well as informative. As a nerd, I can't help but point out the MARVEL connection since Jeremy Renner & Elizabeth Olsen play Hawkeye & Scarlet Witch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while Jon Bernthal portrays The Punisher on the self-titled Netflix series as well as Daredevil.
By Kevin Gray
Marvel's Black Panther had another busy weekend at the box office while passing some major milestones for super hero movies. The movie has been #1 at the domestic box office for five straight weeks, losing the top spot this past weekend to Pacific Rim Uprising.
As far as those milestones, Black Panther took down some of it's Marvel siblings in the process. The first milestone was reached Saturday (March 24) as Black Panther became the highest grossing super hero movie in U.S. history, over taking 2012's The Avengers, which grossed $623.4 million.
The second milestone came on Sunday (March 25) as Black Panther became the third highest grossing superhero movie Worldwide all-time, amassing $1.237 billion, surpassing Iron Man 3. Black Panther is now just behind The Avengers ($1.5 billion) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.4 billion).