|BENEDICT CUMBERBATCHZACHARY LEVIJODIE FOSTERPRISONER 760|
In Ironbark, Benedict Cumberbatch plays an English businessman, Englishly named Greville Wynn, tapped to courier information from the MI6 and CIA to their newest asset, Oleg Penkovsky Merab Ninidze, a high-level Soviet intelligence officer who had recently reached out after becoming worried about Nikita Kruschev’s nuclear brinksmanship.
What ensues is a tasteful and chaste but unmistakable romance between two power alleyed squinters. The gravitas. The pregnant silences. The smoking. Ah, c’est l’amour!
If only it felt a little fresher. I’ll watch damn near anything about Cold War espionage, simply for the boxy suits, quiet chain-smoking, and tone of furrowed tension. Ironbark is no exception. Dominic Cooke’s film paints an evocative portrait of the time, and it’s easy to just marinate in it, even if it is a kind of a poor man’s Bridge of Spies. Wynn is dubious of spycraft at first – having been recruited by a CIA agent Rachel Brosnahan and her MI-6 counterpart Angus Wright because he’s a businessman the GRU would never suspect - but quickly gets wrapped up in their mission. Or maybe just in Penkovsky. From the ballet to the boardroom, their chemistry positively crackles. With their missions top secret, they’re closer to each other than their own families.
Avoiding nuclear war is a worthwhile goal, though disappointingly, Ironbark doesn’t complicate itself much beyond that. Kruschev is… desperate to flex his muscle! Okay, sure. Ironbark mostly regurgitates the usual Hollywood clichés about Russia. Wynn’s wife played by Jessie Buckley from Taboo begins to get suspicious, his handlers begin to disregard human life, the Cuban Missile Crisis raises the stakes won’t someone think of the children?!, etc.
Ironbark creates this lovely bromance only to mostly fall back into the usual easy Western tropes. The Soviet Union is scary and remote, and Ironbark’s gulag sequence gets laughably sensational. I mean it’s a gulag, did you really need to gild the lily with eyeball soup? By the way, isn’t the eyeball the very first part of any animal to degrade? So would they really feed their prisoners something so fresh? And if it’s the throwaway product of that day’s fish, would someone really take the time to specifically gouge out JUST the eyeball instead of just leaving the whole head, just to feed to the prisoners? Yes, I have questions.
Anyway, Ironbark‘s lack of narrative evolution is disappointing for a film with such a sexy setting and premise. But it’s mostly fun while it lasts.
Lionsgate is reportedly “nearing a deal” for the rights to Ironbark, in the mid-seven figures. Still no word on a release date. Vince Mancini is on Twitter. You can access his archive of reviews here.
At a time when the DCEU was being compared unfavorably to the MCU for producing films that were too dour and depressing for general audiences, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam! were the franchise's few bright spots.
Recently, Shazam! lead actor Zachary Levi took to Instagram to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his film's release while expressing his enthusiasm for getting started on the sequel.'Happy 1st birthday to our 'little superhero movie that could'. So very grateful for everything this role has brought into my life, and so damn excited to step back into the spandex as soon as we're ready to rock 'n roll again. To everyone out there who continues to believe in and support us, thank you. And if you haven't had a chance to see @shazammovie yet, now is a pretty opportune time to give it a shot, and fill your life with laughter, heart, and joy.'
The original Shazam! film was seen as a bit of a crapshoot for Warner Bros. when the project was first announced. It had in its lead Captain Marvel, rebranded as Shazam, a superhero who was largely unfamiliar to general audiences. There were also those who questioned the need for bringing in Shazam when he was similar in powers and nature to Superman.
But the film proved a hit with audiences, creating a superhero narrative within the DCEU that was for the first time actively kid-friendly. Shazam! at its heart was a story about the importance of family and choosing to let people into your lives. The movie told the tale of Billy Batson, a foster kid who resented moving in with a new family and wanted to find his birth mother instead. Billy's quest gets upended when he gets chosen by a wizard to become Earth's new protector.
While the original film saw Billy aka Shazam fight Dr. Sivana, the sequel could see the evil Doctor teaming up with Mister Mind, a supervillain in the body of a caterpillar that was introduced at the end of the first film. Then there is Black Adam, Shazam's arch-enemy from the comics who is getting his own standalone film where Adam is played by Dwayne Johnson.
The stage is set for Shazam going head-to-head with Black Adam somewhere down the road, in addition to appearing in team-up movies with the rest of the Justice League, who were all referenced repeatedly in Shazam!.
At least, that was the plan in the past. With the recent success of Joker, there have been rumors that Warner Bros. intends to move away from the whole shared-universe concept to focus on standalone features. So it is quite possible that Shazam! could become its own franchise, without any connection to the other DC movies. And that would make sense. After all, it is difficult to imagine Billy Batson existing in the same reality as Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, or the grounded version of Batman currently being worked on by Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson. Zachary Levi's Instargram brought us this good fun.
Two filmmakers have just lined-up some new projects for themselves. Jodie Foster, who hasn’t directed a movie since 2016’s Money Monster remember that?, is set to make a film based on the Seymour Reit book The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa. Meanwhile, Ron Howard already has a new project in the works as well. He’s going to helm The Fixer, about a disgraced FBI agent who teams up with the mob and the CIA to kill Fidel Castro.The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa
In 1911, Vincenzo Peruggia, an employee at the Louvre, stole the Mona Lisa. Spoiler alert: the stolen painting was eventually recovered. But the story of the theft is going to be the subject of Jodie Foster’s new film, according to Deadline. Jeffrey Soros and Simon Horsman will produce the project, which is based on the book The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa by Seymour Reit.
“This happened in 1911, and it was the thing that made the Mona Lisa so famous,” Soros said. “Bill Wheeler is writing for Jodie Foster to direct. This is in the mold of The Thomas Crown Affair, with The Sting also a plot device comp. It is a fun story, and the crime itself is not sophisticated. Our story mixes truth and fiction, and the focus is on the characters behind orchestrating the theft.”
I’ll confess I haven’t really enjoyed a single film Foster has directed she’s a great actress, though!, but this sounds like it has a lot of potential to be something fun.The Fixer
Ron Howard just finished shooting Netflix’s Hillbilly Elegy, but he’s not about to take some time off. The filmmaker is already working on his next project, The Fixer. Per Variety: “Based on the original pitch by Tyler Hisel, the film is based on the incredible true story of a disgraced FBI agent, who, at the of the Cold War is tapped by the CIA to lead a ragtag team of CIA operatives and Chicago mobsters on an unlikely mission to try to assassinate Fidel Castro.”
This actually sounds pretty damn cool, although I don’t know if Howard is the right person to direct here nothing against him – I like a lot of his movies. Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy will arrive on Netflix sometime this year.Source: Slashfilm.com