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Black Widow has been stuck in limbo for the past month as Marvel mulls over setting a new release date for the film. The latest news is that the movie has found a new composer in Lorne Balfe, who has worked on many other blockbusters including Mission Impossible: Fallout, The LEGO Batman Movie, and Bad Boys for Life.
Balfe takes over composing duties from Alexandre Desplat, who had been announced as the film's composer earlier this year. No reason is known for the change so far, but it is strange to have a change in music so late when from all accounts the film was finished and ready for release.
But then, the lockdown of theaters worldwide, and the consequent reshuffling of release dates means Disney can work a little bit longer on making the film the best version of itself. Besides, this isn't the first time the mouse empire has hired Desplat and then unceremoniously replaced him. He was the original composer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, before the film underwent extensive reshoots and Michael Giacchino was brought on to provide the score for the completed project.
One possible way that the global shut down might have influenced Desplat's replacement is because he works with a full orchestra to score a film. And considering that it is going to be very difficult to get the required musicians together in one room to create a recording, Disney might have decided instead to go with an electronic medley created digitally by Balfe on his computer, something similar to what he did for Ghost in a Shell.
With no confirmed release date for Black Widow revealed so far, Lorne Balfe should have plenty of time to work on the film. What this piece of news does do is effectively put an end to the rumors that Disney is considering releasing the movie directly on Disney+ soon. A new score means the wait for Black Widow's release is going to get longer. This will likely also affect the schedule of other MCU movies in the pipelines, like The Eternals, and Shang Chi.
Black Widow is the first standalone feature for the MCU's only original female Avenger. It tells the tale of Natasha Romanoff, somewhere between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. The story follows Natasha as she comes to grips with her past as a Russian assassin. From the looks of the trailer, the movie expands on the parts of Natasha's backstory that were previously hinted at in Avengers: Age of Ultron, in terms of the Red Room, which is an organization that creates assassins like Natasha.
The movie, which is directed by Cate Shortland, stars Scarlett Johansson in the lead role, with the rest of the main cast rounded out by Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, Ray Winstone, William Hurt, and O-T Fagbenle. Eric Pearson, who wrote the screenplay for Thor: Ragnarok, has also written the screenplay for Black Widow based on a story by Jac Schaeffer. This comes from Film Music Reporter.
The final Black Widow trailer is out, and it shines a spotlight on a villain who had been only fleetingly referenced in earlier footage: the Taskmaster. We get a much more detailed look at the character in the trailer, and from the looks of it, fighting Taskmaster is the equivalent of fighting the entire roster of The Avengers at the same time, since he seems to be replicating all their fighting styles.
In the comics, Taskmaster injected himself with a serum which augmented his body's procedural memory potential. What this means is that the comic version of Taskmaster is able to absorb knowledge instantaneously and replicate movements perfectly after seeing them performed once. This allows him to duplicate the fighting style of anyone and beat them at their own game. Over a long history of copying moves, Taskmaster has emerged as one of the most dangerous fighters in Marvel comics.
It is unclear whether the Taskmaster in the movie has a similar backstory as his comic counterpart, but he is shown to have some sort of recording equipment embedded in his face mask and can be seen studying footage of Black Widow in action to learn her moves.
This sets up the fight scenes the Taskmaster engages in throughout the trailer. We see him throwing a shield with the precision of Captain America. We also see him draw out claws during a fight and attack his opponent in a manner reminiscent of Black Panther. Then there is the bow and arrow which he clearly learned to use from watching footage of Hawkeye. And finally, his grounded hand-to-hand style of fighting seems inspired by Black Widow herself.
What all of this means is that Natasha aka Black Widow will have to reckon with not just one but multiple fighting styles, all based on her allies that she has fought alongside in the past. Taskmaster's general style and demeanor is quite reminiscent of the Winter Solider when he was still a villain. Both characters wear masks, a rarity in the MCU, and are shown to be silently and brutally efficient at taking out enemies. Also like the Winter Soldier, Taskmaster appears to be a footsoldier for a much larger and sinister organization.
Could this mean that Taskmaster will follow a similar trajectory to Winter Soldier? Where he starts out as a masked baddie, but is later revealed to be a good guy from Captain America's past? After all, the Taskmaster from the comics later evolved into an anti-hero. And the identity of the movie Taskmaster has been purposely kept hidden in the promos so far, which would make sense if he has already appeared as a different person from Natasha's life. All these questions and more will soon be answered once Black Widow makes its way to theaters on the 24th of April, when fans will finally get to enjoy an entire standalone movie centered around Natasha Romanoff.
Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we go point your attention over there while we discuss movies about magicians over here!
Movies about magicians come in all shapes and varieties. To be clear, I’m speaking of films about the performers, those who do magic tricks and illusions, as opposed to the wizards you find in fantasy films and late-80s Fred Savage movies. They range from documentaries Make Believe, 2010 to comedies The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, 2013 to biopics Death Defying Acts, 2007 to Swedish genre-benders The Magician, 1958 to BDSM noirs Lord of Illusions, 1995 to the best movie about a magician you’ll ever find The Prestige, 2006.
/Film’s own Peter Sciretta previously compiled a list of the best films about magic and magicians which includes a few of the titles mentioned above, but readers of this column know the goal here is to recommend ones that are far less celebrated. To that end, keep reading for a look at six great and/or entertaining movies about magicians that you probably haven’t seen.Eternally Yours 1939
Anita is engaged and in love, but all of that changes when she meets a popular stage magician named Arturo. The two are quickly married, and she joins his show as they travel the world, but the big smiles she puts on for the crowds is hiding a growing concern behind the scenes. She’s concerned about his safety as he finds himself involved in some dangerous tricks, but worse, she worries he might be unfaithful.
David Niven can do charming in his sleep, and Loretta Young exudes warmth, and together they deliver a compelling romance of sorts. She’s wooed into his life but quickly grows leery of that life on the road, so she leaves him – which in turn triggers a years long effort on his part to get her back. Does he deserve her? That’s arguable, but the journey between them offers some delight and fun all the same.
The film’s billed as a dramatic comedy, and while neither half hits particularly hard or heavy the result is still a sweet little tale about love at first sight – something magical in its own right – that takes a hit when real-world concerns start to play a role. Arturo’s career as a magician takes a hit too as his illusions and trickery falter. Without Anita in his heart, it seems his heart isn’t quite in anything at all. Toss in some parachute stunts and fisticuffs with Broderick Crawford, and you have some charming entertainment.
Eternally Yours is currently available on DVD and to stream.The Mad Magician 1954
Don is a showman at heart, but he works behind the scenes inventing and designing illusions and tricks for stage magicians...
Since directing Brie Larson to an Oscar win in 2015’s Room, Irish writer/director Lenny Abrahamson has been fairly quiet, directing only a couple episodes of a TV series called Chance and a single feature, the 2018 horror mystery The Little Stranger, which starred Domhnall Gleeson. Now Abrahamson has returned to his home country as one of the two directors of Normal People, a new Hulu co-production with the BBC which focuses on two young lovers from Ireland who find themselves on opposite sides of a class divide. Check out the trailer below.Normal People Trailer
Is it hot in here, or is it just me? Man, this show looks sexy. I know the whole “Romeo and Juliet” dynamic is a little played out, but author Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel, which serves as the basis for the show, was critically acclaimed, so I suspect there’s more going on here than what we see in this trailer. Normal People will reportedly consist of twelve half-hour episodes, with Abrahamson tackling the first six and Hettie Macdonald Doctor Who, Howards End directing the final six. Rooney is serving as a writer on the series, along with Alice Birch Lady Macbeth, Succession and Mark O’Rowe Boy A.
Daisy Edgar-Jones 2019’s War of the Worlds TV series stars as Marianne, and Paul Mescal Bump plays Connell, the two friends/lovers at the center of the story, and the production hired real students who were attending Dublin’s Trinity College to participate in the show. I visited Trinity College’s campus a couple of years ago to check out the world-famous Long Room in its Old Library; you can see it at the :54 mark in this video. It’s fitting that the world “normal” is in the title, because this looks like one of the most normal, traditional things Abrahamson has been involved with in years. And I wouldn’t exactly say that the guy who made Frank and Room is super concerned about directing traditional projects.
Here’s the show’s official synopsis:
Based on Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel, Normal People is an exquisite, modern love story about how one person can unexpectedly change another person’s life and about how complicated intimacy can be. It follows Marianne and Connell over several years, as they embark on an on-again/off-again romance that starts at school and continues through college, both testing their relationship as they explore different versions of themselves.
Normal People premieres on Hulu on April 29, 2020.