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  1. Just as every rom-com taught us: Never underestimate the power of a good makeover. Sonic the Hedgehog went through a big one after a viral outcry from fans, and it has benefited the movie greatly. Although CGI artists can replace the nightmarish human teeth and long legs of Sonic 1.0 right out of existence, toy products are not as easily erased. That’s right. You can totally purchase a Sonic toy with the original Sonic the Hedgehog character design. Jakks Pacific’s “Spin Dash Sonic” toy features the infamous version of Sonic that led to the film’s delay and animators getting back to work for additional months of work. Check it out below: The Sonic is part of a seven-piece set that allows kids to set up a ramp and target and launch this Sonic at a high speed to defeat Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik. It’s a $30 toy that is available to purchase on Target.com … but not sold in stores. It’s no surprise a Sonic the Hedgehog toy includes the first design. It takes more time to design and mass produce these products, and the studio might have lost a ton of money if it cancelled orders and decided not to sell them at all. This Sonic toy certainly has the longer legs and smaller eyes of the original Sonic, but he’s encased in a cylinder as well. The packaging for the product is all about the new version, though. Check it: There’s also a $11 eight-inch Baby Sonic plush from Jakks Pacific that is somewhat affected by the original Sonic design. It has the smaller and separated eyes of the first version, but it’s still an adorable, huggable ball of fluff, so it’s easier to pass off. Here it is: Cute, right? But I don’t think he’ll be giving Baby Yoda a run for his money. The upcoming Mandalorian toys have The Child talking and even using the force. There’s also another plush being associated with the Sonic the Hedgehog movie that pretty much looks like the video game character everyone knows and loves. Plus, this 13-inch doll can say seven phases and make three sound effects: Sonic the Hedgehog celebrated a record-breaking debut in theaters last weekend when it had the biggest opening for a video game movie. It also had the fourth largest box office weekend during the Presidents' Day holiday too. The family movie has made $137 million worldwide already as it heads into its second weekend. The movie may repeat at No. 1 even with The Call of the Wild hitting theaters, but it will be close. The movie has also been positively received by audiences. CinemaBlend’s own Mike Reyes gave the film 3.5 stars in his review among a 63 percent fresh Rotten Tomatoes score with critics. Audiences gave the movie a 94 percent and an A Cinemascore.
  2. The number of Hollywood A-listers who’ve starred in Netflix movies keeps growing. And now another iconic star is joining in on the trend. Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence has just signed on for Adam McKay’s newest comedy -- and it’s coming straight to the streaming platform. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jennifer Lawrence will star in Don’t Look Up, the newest film from the Vice and The Big Short writer-director. The film will be Jennifer Lawrence’s first project made exclusively for a streaming platform. Though this is the first time she and Adam McKay have teamed up, in a recent statement he made it clear that he is thrilled to have her on board: According to THR, Don't Look Up follows two scientists who, upon discovering that a meteor will strike the Earth in six months, go on a media tour to try to warn the world but find an unreceptive and unbelieving populace. Jennifer Lawrence made a name for herself for powerful dramatic performances in films like Mother! and The Hunger Games trilogy. But though Don’t Look Up will be her first pure comedy film, it’s not a surprise that she’s turning toward the genre. She won the Best Actress Academy Award in 2013 for Silver Linings Playbook, which was every bit as funny as it was moving. What may be surprising is the fact that she’s joining the ranks of other actors who’ve taken on Netflix projects, since thus far she’s mostly built her career on a mixture of huge franchise films and prestige dramas. But, then, Jennifer Lawrence has made a name for herself by doing the unexpected. And at this point, it may be time to stop being surprised when another huge star shows up in a Netflix film. Despite a debate as to whether or not the streaming platform really “counts” as a legitimate studio, it’s distributed some of the most acclaimed films of the last few years. Prominent and beloved directors -- from Alfonso Cuaron and David Fincher to Martin Scorsese and recent Oscar-winner Bong Joon-ho -- have all released projects through Netflix. It was only a matter of time before stars began to follow suit. In the past few years, everyone from Will Smith and Brad Pitt to Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston have lent their star power to Netflix films, with varying degrees of success and critical reception. And the platform has made an especially welcome home for comedies -- Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy have both found huge success with their recent Netflix films. In other words: Jennifer Lawrence will be in some pretty decent company. Though there’s no official release date for Don’t Look Up yet, but THR reports that production will begin this spring, and Netflix is hoping to release the film later this year. In the meantime, check out the other 2020 Netflix releases.
  3. With the superhero genre entering its third decade as a box office staple and second as a dominant cultural force, we are seeing esteemed actors of all stripes joining in on the fun. We are also seeing other actors that played costumed crime fighters or villains in the past coming back for new roles, like Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer. Just don’t expect to see Liam Neeson hop back into the tights for another superhero movie. The Oscar-nominated actor previously starred in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises, the beginning and end of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy that changed perceptions of what comic book films could be. Yet, Liam Neeson has "no desire" for more superhero movies. When asked about if that’s a world he’d like to return to, he said: Liam Neeson, who is now starring in the romantic drama Ordinary Love, has no desire to hop back into the world of superheroes. As he told ET, the prospect simply doesn’t interest him. He doesn’t go so far as Martin Scorsese to say that comic book movies are theme parks and not cinema, but Liam Neeson isn’t really a fan of the genre. While Liam Neeson can appreciate all the bigness of superhero films and all the technological wizardry that goes into making them, they’re simply not his cup of tea so he doesn’t feel compelled to dive back into that world. Beyond just not being a huge fan of the genre, Liam Neeson also knows that playing a superhero character would require him to go through some prolonged, intense and perhaps unpleasant physical preparation, and he simply doesn’t want to do that. The 10 Best Liam Neeson Movies, Ranked It’s a completely understandable take from Liam Neeson. You shouldn’t have to do things that don’t interest you and even Hugh Jackman could only undergo the physically intense roles for so long. Plus, Liam Neeson has done it before. The actor seemingly has little desire to return to something like Star Wars either, as he continued: Despite the fact that genre material like superheroes and Star Wars are not particularly what interests Liam Neeson, he starred in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace because it represented something entirely new. As he recalled, the greenscreen used in that film and the acting opposite tennis balls stand-ins for CGI characters was new to him and he actually enjoyed that unique and challenging acting experience. But it was also incredibly tiring, as are superhero films. So for Liam Neeson, he’s come to the end of his time doing things like superhero movies and Star Wars. He’s scratched that itch and now wants to do things he really likes and who could blame him. Liam Neeson did return to Star Wars to lend his voice as Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and although he may not be interested, I think many of us would love to see him appear as a Force Ghost opposite Ewan McGregor in the Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ series. It’s funny that we think of Liam Neeson as someone who should be in these blockbusters nowadays, considering that he was once known more for his dramatic work before Star Wars, Batman Begins and Taken changed things. Liam Neeson still does play in his own Liam Neeson beats people up genre, but I suppose those films, where he has a stunt double and doesn’t need a six-pack, are a bit less tiring than superhero fare. You can see Liam Neeson in Ordinary Love, which is now playing. Check out all the movies headed to theaters this year in our 2020 Release Schedule.
  4. There's been a lot of hand-wringing -- and smugness, from some sectors -- at the under-performance of DC's Birds of Prey. It's definitely not doing as well as its predecessors in the superhero genre, but it's also far from the only movie struggling to find an audience in February 2020. For every Sonic the Hedgehog success story, there have been plenty of disappointments. Not all of them are DC movies, though, so the expectations and comparisons are different. But if we're going to call out the downsides we should also acknowledge the upsides. First, let's acknowledge that Birds of Prey -- or Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, if we're going to go with that new title -- lost 671 domestic theaters in the February 21-23, 2020 weekend. That's a significant amount to lose. It's now at 3,565 theaters in its third weekend. Compared to other DCEU movies, that's a big drop: 69 people are talking about this Not great, but a few things in Birds of Prey's defense: Even losing that many screens, Birds of Prey "only" dropped 59.2% this weekend from last weekend. That's nowhere near the worst domestic drop of the week. Harley Quinn's movie ended up in third place with a $7 million domestic weekend, per Box Office Mojo. Also, Birds of Prey already passed $100 million at the international box office for a current worldwide total of $173,729,015. The film was made on a production budget of around $100 million, not counting marketing, so it's going to need a lot more than that to break even. At least $250 million, per estimates. But it's slowly finding that money, especially overseas. As to the rest of the box office this weekend, The Biggest Loser award goes to The Photograph with a 77% drop, landing it in 10th place after it was 4th last weekend. It didn't drop any theaters, it just dropped. That's not the worst percentage drop ever, but it was the worst this weekend, but only by a little. The Turning dropped 74.9% after losing 295 screens. Other drops bigger than Birds of Prey's 59.2% include Downhill living up to its title with a 69% drop in its second weekend (Will & Julia, what went wrong?); Fantasy Island dropping 66% from its opening last weekend; Dolittle dropping 62% after losing 6014 theaters in its sixth weekend; Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker dropping 61.8% after losing 434 theaters; and Just Mercy dropping 65% after losing 423 theaters. Even the #1 movie of the weekend (again, in a close race), Sonic the Hedgehog saw a 54.7% drop after adding 31 screens to currently play on 4,198. That's not a bigger drop than Birds of Prey, but it's close and actually more than the 48% drop Birds of Prey had in its second weekend. Granted, Harley has made less money -- Sonic is already over $200M worldwide -- but hopefully if Birds of Prey doesn't keep losing screens it can slowly pick up an audience one weekend at a time. The movie does have a lot of fans who've been getting the movie trending with reasons to watch Harley Quinn's story. Watch The Epic Birds Of Prey Shot That Knocked Out The DP Some weekends have much bigger drops but also bigger gains. The only eyeball-widening win this weekend was The Lodge getting a 367% boost after adding 301 theaters. It's usually smaller films that widen that get the biggest gains like that. Other than The Lodge, the wins were smaller, like Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words gaining 97.8% over last weekend by adding 36 theaters. The biggest per-screen average winner this weekend is the new Jane Austen adaptation Emma -- I don't know why they style it as "Emma." with a period, I can't go with that -- with a per-screen average of $46,000 from playing on just five screens
  5. I can't imagine anyone caught this "mistake" watching Avengers: Endgame in the theater last year, and I'm still shocked anyone noticed it from the home release or streaming on Disney+. But VFX master Matt Aitken wishes his team had caught it before Endgame hit theaters and became the highest-grossing movie of all time. Visual Effects Supervisor Matt Aitken from Weta Digital was part of the team that earned a 2020 Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects for Avengers: Endgame. It was the movie's only nomination and it didn't win (setting a sad new record). Matt Aitken talked to us last year about taking a lot of lessons from The Lord of the Rings for Avengers: Endgame. Recently, he talked to Wren and Niko of Corridor Crew in a lengthy video, breaking down the VFX work for Avengers 4. Aitken didn't bring up the little Thanos' "clipping" error, but Niko asked about it and Wren gasped when he saw the mistake in the video (which you can watch below). As Matt Aitken added, it truly takes an artist's hand to craft the suit. But I'm with some of the commenters on the video, squinting hard to even see the problem: Only a true artist would be so pained at such a minor error! It was tough for a lot of people to spot, and despite Niko saying "finger bits," it's not the top of his fingers. As some pointed out, you can see the base of his fingers pass through the top of the palm of the gauntlet. Watch that moment (repeatedly) at the 5:25 mark of the video: Can you see what they're talking about? It's definitely not worthy of an "oh no," to me. If that's the mistake he's asked about most -- or at all -- he's doing well. I can't believe anyone noticed that enough to even mention it, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe is jam-packed with eagle-eyed fans who spot every easter egg and every error. Fans were surprised by all of Endgame's CGI hair shots and maybe even more surprised by one character who didn't need CGI.
  6. What an interesting month February 2020 has turned out to be at the box office. First, Birds of Prey opens well below expectations, but doesn’t flop, then Sonic the Hedgehog goes from subject of ridicule to video game adaptation champ by opening big, and now we are on the verge of another surprising result. In its second weekend in release after a fantastic debut, Sonic the Hedgehog is in a tight race with The Call of the Wild for box office pack leader. We won’t know for sure probably until some time Monday, but right now it looks like The Call of the Wild will pull off the upset and narrowly beat out Sonic the Hedgehog for the top spot at the weekend box office. The adaptation of Jack London’s classic novel starring Harrison Ford is on track to finish the weekend with $28 million from 3,752 domestic locations according to Variety. A $28 million debut would be well above the pre-release expectations for the Disney-20th Century Studios title and might be enough to best Sega’s speedster. Sonic the Hedgehog surprised everyone by also blowing away expectations with a $70 million over President’s Day weekend. The Paramount movie is expected to slide 57% in its second frame to about $25 million from 4,198 locations. If things bear out that way, that $3 million difference will give The Call of the Wild the edge and the box office crown in this battle of tales of man and CGI beast. Don’t feel too bad for Sonic the Hedgehog though, the Blue Blur should finish this weekend with roughly $105 million in its first 10 days in North America. The Special Approach The Call Of The Wild Could Take On Set Thanks To Performance Capture But while Sonic the Hedgehog is still doing well and is the bigger story for this month overall, the story this weekend looks to be Buck and John Thornton. The Call of the Wild received fairly mixed critical reviews that ultimately got it to fresh on Rotten Tomatoes but were not effusive with praise. Much of the criticism for The Call of the Wild has to do with the film’s reliance on CGI, particularly for the dog and star of the story Buck. But it seems that real or digital, you can’t underestimate the power of dogs or the appeal of Harrison Ford. Opening day audiences really enjoyed The Call of the Wild, netting Chris Sanders’ film an A- CinemaScore. While that’s all great and The Call of the Wild is doing better than expected, like Buck and the other sled dogs trekking through the Yukon, it’s an uphill climb. The film, which Disney inherited from its purchase of the formerly named 20th Century Fox, cost a whopping $125 million to produce. So like Buck, The Call of the Wild will really have to leg it out and perform well overseas if it hopes to break even. Elsewhere, Brahms: The Boy II is fighting for fourth place (Birds of Prey should land in third) against Bad Boys For Life, which continues to hang out in the top five a month since its release. Brahms: The Boy II is expected to finish with about $6 million in its debut weekend. The Call of the Wild is now playing. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what else is headed to theaters this year and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest movie news
  7. Sure, more moviegoers in February 2020 went out to see Sonic the Hedgehog speed laps around Jim Carrey than witness the Birds of Prey come together in Warner Bros.’ latest comic book flick, but that doesn’t mean Harley Quinn's movie wasn’t still awesome. The DC movie was packed with fantabulous fight sequences we can’t get enough of. And director Cathy Yan has just revealed one badass detail. Mary Elizabeth Winstead totally knocked down Birds of Prey’s director of photography during one scene and it totally made it to the final cut. Remember the funhouse moment when her Huntress wrestles one of Black Mask’s men down while they’re sliding down a tunnel? The actress and the stunt double actually ran into the cameraman there. Check out Cathy Yan’s reveal on Twitter: 5,153 people are talking about this Bad. Ass. As the director illustrates, Matty Libatique got “destroyed” by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and the stuntman in the sequence during this memorable shot during Birds of Prey’s finale. When the shot goes black there, that’s not editing… his camera is actually colliding with the action. Cathy Yan’s reveal comes after a fan pointed out the technical brilliance of the sequence. It sounds like the director of photography wasn’t afraid to really get in there and get a gritty shot – even if a bruise or two came from it. Matthew Libatique has also been the DP on Venom, A Star Is Born, Iron Man 2 and so forth. When the Birds of Prey cast sat down with CinemaBlend during the press day in London, Jurnee Smollett-Bell called the sequence “inhumane," remembering how she was downing high ball energy drinks to get through the funhouse sequence. Mary Elizabeth Winstead said they trained for months for the scene but not with the sets built yet. When they showed up on set, she was sliding down a tunnel and jumping on tongues for the first time. Check out the full interview below: Birds of Prey really pushed the limits of a comic book team-up film. Along with allowing Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn to narrate the story in her own wacky way, the movie included some awesome choreographed fight sequences from John Wick’s Chad Stahelski and his stunt team at 87eleven. Plus, it’s unabashadley R-rated. The DC film has performed below expectations with a $33 million domestic opening at the start of February, but it has racked up $155 million worldwide so far. It’s neither a huge hit nor a flop. Recently, fans of the film took to social media to get the film trending and talk through reasons it should be supported more by moviegoers. You can check out this crazy tunnel shot in Birds of Prey in theaters now
  8. While you might not remember every note of the orchestral theme songs to most of your favorite Marvel movies, I am sure you have the “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” track list from Guardians of the Galaxy memorized. The films of the MCU are just as well known for having an epic soundtrack, such as Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-winning Black Panther: The Album, as they are known for their epic superheroes. The remarkable thing about the songs Marvel selects for their films is how surprisingly well they fit into the story. You would never expect to hear a song like The Kinks’ “Supersonic Rocket Ship” in a superhero movie, but when played over Bruce Banner and Rocket Raccoon’s trip to New Asgard by spacecraft in Avengers: Endgame, you could not imagine anything better. It is how these hits elevate key moments within the MCU that redefines their iconography, reminding you of the moment that thrilled you, made you laugh, or even tugged at your heart strings when you hear it on the radio. It is impossible to narrow down the most memorable musical moments in Marvel movies to just 10, but I am going to try anyway, by ranking them in ascending order. Also, SPOILER WARNING! 10. “Dear Mr. Fantasy” By Traffic (Avengers: Endgame) I am not sure how many people in Marvel’s target demographic recognized this 1967 folk rock classic when it played at the beginning of Avengers: Endgame, but it sparked the first of many moments of nostalgic giddiness for me during my initial viewing. The song, by the Steve Winwood-led British trio Traffic, is heard while Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) play a game of finger football aboard the Milano as it drifts aimlessly through deep space, much like the drifting hope of the unlikely pair of passengers in the aftermath of Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) victory. Normally, you would expect to hear something a little more “metal” to accompany an important Iron Man moment, but the somber lyrics of “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” which Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi wrote as a tale of the sacrificial turmoil the titular artist suffers for other people’s sake, are a perfect reflection of Tony Stark’s thoughts in that moment. At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, his worst fear (being unable to save the world and his friends) has come true and now, at the beginning of the story’s second part, a playground game is his only escape from sulking in his lament as he grows weaker and his supposed final moment is drawing near. 9. “Hooked On A Feeling” By Blue Swede (Guardians Of The Galaxy) If there is one thing that is certain about Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt), it is that you DO NOT mess with his tunes. There are key moments in both of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films that make that fact evident, but the most iconic one would have to be the one that this chart-topping 1974 cover of a B.J. Thomas song brought back into the mainstream. As the eventual Guardians of the Galaxy are first brought to the Kyln, an employee of the interstellar prison is sorting through their belongings when he comes across Quill’s Walkman, forcing the enraged music lover to cry out that the song playing from the headphones, “Hooked on a Feeling," belongs to him, only to be incapacitated by a stunning device. Luckily, Star-Lord would eventually get his revenge, and his “Awesome Mix” back when the ragtag crew make their escape. Now, anytime you hear that “Ooga-Chaka-Ooga-Ooga,” you can’t not think of Star-Lord, right? 8. “I’ve Got No Strings” By Leigh Harline And Ned Washington (Avengers: Age of Ultron) Remember when covers of popular songs slowed down to ominous effect become a common recurrence in movie trailers? Well, Disney could not seem to pass up that trend and did so quite effectively to promote Joss Whedon’s 2015 sequel to The Avengers with a darker take on “I’ve Got No Strings,” which was paid off exquisitely in the film when sung by the titular protagonist. Ulton (voiced by James Spader) sings key lines from the song, originally written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Disney’s Pinocchio, as a means to compare himself to the famous enchanted puppet. His sentience convinces him that he is more than machine, but a “real boy,” and therefore superior to the Avengers. “I’ve Got No Strings,” which is now just as famous for Avengers: Age of Ultron as it is for the 1940 animated classic it originated from, is Ultron’s anthem of liberation, declaring himself free from the “strings” that pull him down below the authority of humanity. 7. “I Will Always Love You” By Whitney Houston (Spider-Man: Far From Home) Referencing of a moment of tragedy for laughs mere months after it occurs is usually a highly inappropriate offense. However, the hilarious call back to the deaths of Tony Stark, Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and Vision (Paul Bettany) and Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) “disappearance” in Spider-Man: Far From Home, released just three months after Avengers: Endgame, was tastefully done, complete with this timeless romance song. After the film’s pre-logo introductory scene, the second film centrally focused on Tom Holland’s Peter Parker begins with an “In memoriam” tribute to the late Avengers, which appears to have been made by high school students with Windows Movie Maker, and uses Whitney Houston’s Grammy-winning 1992 cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” to express their gratitude to their fallen heroes. It was the perfect way to open a film that makes light of what was an otherwise devastating event in the MCU timeline in a surprisingly endearing way. 6. “The Chain” By Fleetwood Mac (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2) It is no secret that Guardians of the Galaxy helmer James Gunn loves pop hits of the 1970s and ‘80s, but is careful never to put them in his Marvel films for their catchiness. Each song that appears in both volumes of Peter Quill’s “Awesome Mix,” and the Zune that Kraglin gives him to replace his destroyed Walkman, reflects an important theme in the story, and no song from the 2017 sequel represents that like this Fleetwood Mac song. “The Chain,” from the group’s masterful 1977 album Rumours is first heard in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when our heroes go their separate ways at a pivotal moment in their relationship (Gamora, Drax, and Quill leave with his estranged dad, Ego, while Rocket and Groot stay behind on the wrecked Milano with Nebula) and is reprised when Star-Lord must defeat his living planet father (Kurt Russel) to save his real family and the galaxy. Family is a big theme of both Guardians films, the first being about becoming one and Vol. 2 about the struggles of being one. Fortunately, the heroes have a way of keeping themselves together, much like metaphorical “chain” in the Fleetwood Mac ballad. 5. “Back In Black” By AC/DC (Iron Man) While the de facto theme song of Robert Downey Jr.’s debut MCU appearance would most likely be 1971’s “Iron Man” (it is in the name, after all), Black Sabbath is not the first band you hear when you think of Tony Stark. That would be AC/DC, the Australian quintet whose greatest hits make up the soundtrack album of Iron Man 2 and also open Jon Favreau’s 2008 original film with their definitive track. Tony Stark is riding through Iraq with soldiers from the United States military, in a Humvee blasting the title track of AC/DC’s 1980 comeback album Back in Black through the speakers, when they are surprisingly attacked by the weapons developer’s own missile, leading to his capture, from which he eventually escapes with the first Iron Man prototype armor. “Iron Man” may be synoymous with Stark’s alter ego, but the pivotal moment that led to his heroic evolution is synonymous with “Back in Black.” The song also made a funny reprisal in Spider-Man: Far From Home, to Peter Parker’s reply, “I love Led Zeppelin!” 4. “It’s Been A Long, Long Time” By Harry James & His Orchestra With Kitty Kallen (Avengers: Endgame) It is rarely discussed, but Captain America, like many of the Avengers if you really think about it, is a figure of tragic heroism, thrust into a time and place unfamiliar to him with the sole purpose to protect other lives without the chance to put his own first. The way Steve Rogers alters his fate in Avengers: Endgame by way of time travel leads to the film’s greatest musical moment. After Cap reappears from his time-traveling mission to return the Infinity Stones, having aged roughly 80 years, to pass the shield to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), we cut to a 1940s-era suburban household, in which young Steve Rogers is finally sharing a long-awaited dance with his beloved Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to “It’s Been A Long, Long Time.” The post-World War II hit is the perfect way to retire the Avengers’ Golden Boy from the MCU, as it perfectly accentuates the satisfying wish fulfillment of finally seeing Cap earn the life (and the dance) he always wanted. 3. “O-o-h Child” By The Five Stairsteps (Guardians Of The Galaxy) I was preaching the stone cold truth when I said that each song from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies was thematically important. Sometimes, however, a song is played mainly for laughs. This uplifting 1970 hit single by soul group The Five Stairsteps got to be one of the few songs from “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” with a dual purpose. After the attack on Ronan’s (Lee Pace) ship results in many casualties, including Groot (Vin Diesel), the sole functioning component of the destroyed Milano is its cassette player playing “O-o-h Child,” which provides a somber juxtaposition to the tragic display. That is until Star-Lord hilariously flips the thematic switch by using it as the score of a dance-off against Ronan: a diversion while Rocket (Bradley Cooper) prepares the Hadron Enforcer to separate the Power Stone from the villain’s staff. By the end, The Five Stairsteps’ lyrics turned out to be true: things got easier for the Guardians of the Galaxy. 2. “Immigrant Song” By Led Zeppelin (Thor: Ragnarok) Not even Iron Man himself has a musical moment as metal as Thor does. The third solo film starring Chris Hemsworth’s godly Avenger, and directed by Oscar-winner Taika Waititi, was given the rare honor of having godly rock and roll band Led Zeppelin play his theme music, and there was no better choice than the epic single off of their third self-titled album. “Immigrant Song” first plays at the beginning Thor: Ragnarok when the God of Thunder takes on fire giant Surtur’s (Clancy Brown) demonic army with his hammer, and later when he destroys Hela’s (Cate Blanchett) army without his hammer (just his own thunderous power). Just hearing Robert Plant’s immortal viking call in the trailer was a treat, but for it to complement two of the film’s most glorious battle sequences was a dream come true. 1. “Come And Get Your Love” By Redbone (Guardians Of The Galaxy) When it comes to musical moments in the MCU, of course Guardians of the Galaxy takes the cake. No song deserves the honor more than the one that started it all in Star-Lord’s debut scene: “Come and Get Your Love.” In a scene that initially draws comparisons to the suspenseful opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Peter Quill steps into the cave where he will soon come across the coveted Power Stone. But, first, he puts on his headphones, hits play on his Walkmen, and indulges in a whimsical, dancing stroll through alien territory to Redbone’s 1973 funk tune, using a lizard-like creature as a microphone at one point. This hilarious and joyfully unexpected moment was all we wanted to know what a much-needed breath of fresh air Guardians of the Galaxy would turn out to be. Is this ranking of the best Marvel movie soundtrack songs music to your ears? If not, be sure to let us know in the comments and check back for more updates on the music and movies of the MCU here on CinemaBlend
  9. Daniel Craig has made it as clear as he can that No Time to Die is his final movie as James Bond. Which is not to say the character of James Bond is dying even if Craig's Bond does find time to die in this 2020 film. Fans have been speculating madly about who could be the next Bond, and the young woman who is singing Daniel Craig out the door already has her choice. Billie Eilish wants the next James Bond to be a popular Marvel star who is famous for playing a villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ... and probably hopes you blocked out the memory of him playing another Marvel character in a Fox movie. Singer Billie Eilish was quick with her answer on Capital Breakfast when asked if she had a pick for the next James Bond: Michael B. Jordan! Some fans will love that idea, others are sticklers about Ian Fleming's description, which is of a white male -- who is definitely not American. But Billie Eilish even said she'd like to see Jordan try an English accent. The Black Panther and [whispers behind hand] Fantastic Four star has also impressed action fans in the Creed movies, and his movie Just Mercy is the first movie of 2020 to earn an A+ CinemaScore. He's a popular guy, and he could clearly pull off any tuxedo or shirtless scenes required. The Bond producers have already made it clear that the next Bond will not be a woman -- which is not to say that a woman can't have have the agent code 007, since that might already be the case in No Time to Die. If history serves, the next James Bond will be a male actor fans are already familiar with, the way Daniel Craig already had more than 20 films on his resume before Casino Royale -- from Elizabeth and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider to Road to Perdition, Sylvia, Layer Cake, Enduring Love, Munich etc. To be honest, his career hasn't changed much around his five Bond movies, he still mixes big movies with smaller ones and loves a chewy character showcase like the one he got in Knives Out. Michael B. Jordan isn't on CinemaBlend's recent list of 11 actors who have what it takes to fill Daniel Craig's shoes as the next James Bond. But that list is packed with actors fans have mentioned in the past few years -- from The Witcher and Superman star Henry Cavill to perpetual Bond list addition Idris Elba (who doesn't even seem to want the role). A lot of James Bond fans weren't sure what to think when Billie Eilish was announced as singing the No Time to Die theme song, but she seemed to win over a lot of fans with the hauntingly beautiful final product, which has lyrics worth reading into, even if they might not be legit spoilers. Since the Bond franchise is as British as tea time, it makes sense that No Time to Die is opening in the U.K. first. That happens April 2 and then we get it Stateside on April 10. Trying to avoid spoilers that week should be fun.
  10. Daniel Radcliffe makes the boldest movie choices. Dare I say he'd be sorted into Gryffindor, at least as an actor? His new movie is called Escape from Pretoria. It's based on the book Inside Out: Escape from Pretoria Prison by Tim Jenkin, one of the escapees. Radcliffe plays Jenkin in the movie, and the real Tim Jenkin was on set for much of filming and revealed what he thought of the finished product. Here's what drew Daniel Radcliffe to the movie, as told to the BBC: Escape from Pretoria is based on the true story of Tim Jenkin and Stephen Lee (Daniel Webber), two young white South Africans against apartheid who were branded "terrorists." They were imprisoned in 1978 in Pretoria Maximum Security Prison for working covert operations for Nelson Mandela’s banned ANC. They decided to send the apartheid regime a clear message and escape. Thanks to ingenuity, meticulous surveillance, and wooden keys crafted for 10 steel doors, they formed a plan for freedom. The real Tim Jenkin wasn't sure how Escape from Pretoria was going to turn out, but he told the BBC he approved: Daniel Radcliffe said he was very aware of the days Tim Jenkin was on set, and it reminded him that he was playing at someone's real life. So the one thing he was resolved to do was get the story as right as possible. He also learned a great deal about this time in history through reading Tim Jenkin's book: Daniel Radcliffe credited director Francis Annan for the tension in the film, admitting he worried a bit since so much of the story is Tim trying to make keys. But the trailer alone makes that pretty tense, and any prison break movie is going to get fans nervous for the characters, even if you know how it turns out. And here's the official trailer: I don't know what a South African accent should sound like, but I have seen some comments saying this is not quite it. Eh. I grew up outside of Boston and I'm used to accents not quite being right in movies. Besides, there's no one way to speak and it's the words themselves that count. Hopefully the accents don't distract people too much. Escape from Pretoria will be released on March 6. This is a pretty big week for Daniel Radcliffe. He has two smaller films coming out back to back, for whatever releases they get. (Hopefully you can watch them near you, but no promises.) Guns Akimbo -- the video game-style action movie that gave us that Harry Potter guns meme -- is getting a limited release on February 28. Daniel Radcliffe also stars in the TV series Miracle Workers on TBS, when he's not busy watching The Bachelor. And he could still play Moon Knight, his recent comments just refuted the idea that he already had the job or had been approached by Marvel. He seems open to the MCU, so maybe MCU Wolverine is even still on the table. But it's more likely he'll continue to make smaller independent films like Escape from Pretoria. 'Cause why not?
  11. First off, let me just say that I really loved the Sonic The Hedgehog movie. In terms of the greatest video game movies of all time, I would put Sonic The Hedgehog right at the top of that list, knocking Detective Pikachu off the top spot. It was seriously that good. But I grew up with Sonic and went into the movie having a deep appreciation for his history and lore. My kids on the other hand, aged 3 and 4, did not. Sure, they already knew about Sonic since I’ve introduced them to most of the stuff I love. But they have a different perspective on the blue blur than I do, and that couldn’t be more apparent in the aspects that they loved about the movie, but more importantly, in the aspects that they hated. Hopefully, you’ve already seen the movie for yourself, but if you haven’t, spoilers ahead. Spoilers from Sonic The Hedgehog ahead! LOVED: Sonic, obviously Every time Sonic was on the screen, my kids leaned forward in their seats with rapt attention. Sonic, by early indications, could have been a disaster if Paramount had stuck with its original design for him. But the current version of Sonic looks very similar to how he does in other mediums, and my kids loved him. Every joke he cracked, every time he zoomed across the screen, my kids ate it up. And even after the film ended, my son ran up and down the movie theater lobby saying, “Gotta go fast!” as he zipped around. And he wasn’t alone. Lots of kids after my showing were doing the exact same thing, throwing their arms back and running around just like Sonic. In other words, the Hedgehog was a hit with the kids. LOVED: Miles “Tails” Prower If the MCU has taught a whole generation anything, it’s not to leave your seat when a movie ends. And after some cool animated credits, we were blessed with our first look at Sonic’s best buddy, Miles “Tails” Prower. When I tell you that my kids flipped out when Tails came on the screen, you have to believe me. They flipped. The freak. Out. Because I haven’t just told my children about Sonic the Hedgehog, I’ve let them play Sonic 2 on my Switch, I've shown them every TV version of Sonic that’s ever aired (their favorite is the most recent one, Sonic Boom), and I've even bought them the Sonic comics. In all honesty, my kids are probably more well versed in Sonic the Hedgehog than they are on maybe anything else in pop culture. My kids know their Sonic. And they know their Tails, too. So even that brief few seconds of Tails at the end went over huge with my two kids. LOVED: When Sonic got his trademark red and white shoes Are you noticing a trend? Anything close to the actual video games and cartoons, they loved. And anything not… well, I’ll get to that in the hated section. But there’s a cute scene in the movie when Tika Sumpter’s character, Maddie Wachowski, takes care of Sonic after he's hit by an explosion. When he’s convalescing, Maddie’s niece comes in and gives Sonic a pair of red and white shoes since his own shoes throughout the movie are torn to hell. My kids loved that scene. In fact, after the movie, I asked my daughter what her favorite scene was, and she didn’t say when Sonic beat the hell out of Dr. Robotnik, or when he ran all over the world. Instead, she said the scene where “that nice girl gave Sonic his shoes.” Because that’s the kind of daughter I have. HATED: Jim Carrey This kind of blew my mind, but my kids hated, hated, hated Jim Carrey. I was born in 1983, so I grew up watching Jim Carrey in the 90s. Ace Ventura, The Mask, Liar Liar, you put Jim Carrey on the screen for me when I was a kid, and the whole rest of the world could disappear for all I cared. And I loved him in this movie, too! ! It was a return to form for the comedic actor, and I couldn’t have picked a better Dr. Robotnik/Eggman if I tried. But my kids could not stand him. Anytime he was on the screen, my son would get fussy. And at one point, I even had to ask him if he wanted to leave since he kept making all these noises when Jim Carrey was on the screen with James Marsden’s character and Sonic was hiding somewhere in the house. In fact, I actually missed what happened in that scene since I had to carry my son out of the theater since he was kicking and screaming. My daughter said that Jim Carrey was “okay,” but then asked me why he wasn’t round like he was in the game. She was just being nice. She wasn’t a fan, either. HATED: “Where are Sonic’s friends?” Remember when I mentioned earlier that my kids loved seeing Tails? Well, one thing my daughter kept leaning over and asking me throughout the movie was, “Where are Sonic’s friends?” Going into the film, I knew that none of Sonic’s major friends like Knuckles, Amy Rose, or Sticks (she’s from Sonic Boom) would be in the movie, but I didn’t think their absence would affect my children’s enjoyment of the film as much as it did, either. When I asked my kids certain things about the movie they didn’t like since I knew I would be writing this article, my son wanted to know if “Knuckles would be in the movie if we see it again,” and my daughter wanted to know why Sonic was in the movie, “but Amy wasn’t.” So if you’re listening Paramount, please include some more of Sonic’s friends in the sequel! My daughter wants Amy Rose. But honestly, who doesn’t want more Amy Rose in their life? Besides Sonic, of course. HATED: Pretty much all of the human characters, actually Besides that little girl who gave Sonic his shoes, all of the human characters fell flat for my kids. Maybe if they were older, my kids would have actually enjoyed James Marsden’s character, Tom Wachowski, having an existential crisis in his small town and wanting to move to San Francisco for a more exciting job, but my kids did not like that story line at their young age. They also got bored any time Sonic was absent from the screen, so there were brief portions when my daughter would tap me on the arm and just smile up at me because she had nothing else to do. And as for my son, well, he kept asking my mom for gummies when Sonic wasn't on screen. But she wouldn’t give him any since they’re “bad for your teeth. Just be quiet, and watch the movie.” But overall, my kids liked a lot more about the movie than they disliked, namely because Sonic was in the movie for most of it. But what did your kids think? I’m always interested to hear about other parents’ experiences. Sound off in the comments if you have any interesting or funny stories
  12. Ben Affleck has made a career out of taking big risks. Now, he’s taking on a new challenge -- a movie starring Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, and Matt Damon. And even he admits that he’s a little bit nervous about this one. The actor’s next project, The Last Duel, is a huge collaboration in more ways than one. Set in 14th century France, it’s a true story about two knights, Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris. After Jean de Carrouges accused Jacques Le Gris of raping his wife, King Charles VI sanctioned a duel between the two. He’ll have a supporting role in the film, but is still deeply involved as one of the screenwriters, along with Matt Damon. When asked about the project, Ben Affleck was quick to admit he knows it’s an ambitious project (via ET We can understand why he’s so excited. Though the pair teamed up for the 2015 HBO series Project Greenlight, The Last Duel marks the first cinematic collaboration between longtime friends Ben Affleck and Matt Damon since 2004’s Jersey Girls. It’s also the first time they’ve co-written a screenplay since their Oscar-winning breakout film Good Will Hunting. This is a considerably different situation for the both of them for a few different reasons. It’s the first time they’ve collaborated with another writer. They drew on their own experiences growing up in the Boston area for Good Will Hunting -- a far cry from Medieval Europe. But as actors, they have both proven they are more than capable of losing themselves in a role, regardless of the time and place a film is set in. The Last Duel marks a big departure for Ben Affleck from his recent projects. Not only is a period piece about dueling considerably different from Batfleck, it’s also a notable change from the more personal take of his most recent film, The Way Back. And it will mark the first time since 2010’s The Town that his behind-the-scenes work will be more significant than his role on screen. Ridley Scott will begin production on The Last Duel later this year. It’s slated for release on Christmas Day 2020. In the meantime, you can see Ben Affleck in The Way Back, which hits theaters much sooner -- on March 6.
  13. God bless Harrison Ford. I'm serious. Because he is not serious about much, even with that dry deadpan tone making every word sound like gospel. Still, now that Star Wars' nine-film Skywalker Saga is complete, and the cast and crew and fans are looking back with fond memories, you might expect Ford to share something ... different ... about his experience playing Han Solo. Then again, it's Harrison Ford -- who can't tell carbonite from kryptonite and gives zero f*cks about it -- so you might not. I was still caught off guard by Harrison Ford's answer when asked for his favorite behind-the-scenes memory from Star Wars. This is it: I just love that THAT is what came to Harrison Ford's mind first as his favorite behind-the-scenes memory from Star Wars. Disdain. That's what Ford told BuzzFeed Celeb while stroking a puppy to promote his new movie The Call Of The Wild. It sounds like he shared a favorite memory from the first 1977 Star Wars movie itself -- as opposed to all three original trilogy movies or the sequel films -- since that's back when no one knew the Star Wars galaxy was operational and would blow up the blockbuster world forever. Not too long ago, Mark Hamill tweeted a behind-the-scenes clip from the first Star Wars movie, showing him laughing with Harrison Ford as they tried to film a scene. Peter Mayhew was next to them in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon as Chewbacca, and Sir Alec Guinness was behind them as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Hamill praised Guinness' patience for putting up with himself and Harrison. It does sound like Sir Alec was part of the "very experienced British crew" that had no idea what in the world they were doing there. But then Star Wars because the biggest movie in the world, and the franchise is still going strong with The Mandalorian and even an Obi-Wan Kenobi series coming to Disney+. During the same BuzzFeed chat, Harrison Ford played innocent when asked if he took any Star Wars props from set: Here's what he said when asked about his favorite off-screen memory of Carrie Fisher: Harrison Ford has talked about Star Wars movies for decades now, and I'm sure he's keeping his true precious memories private. He has a lot of personal memories of Carrie Fisher, but that doesn't mean we get to hear them. (We already read a few from her perspective in her book.) But still, we're only a couple of months out from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which means the entire Saga is over and it's a good time to look back. Episode IX saw a return of Harrison Ford's Han Solo for one big scene -- because J.J. Abrams told him to show up for it. Do Ford's feelings go any deeper than that? He's always lived lightly in this cinematic world. I'm fond of Joonas Suotamo's anecdote about working with Harrison Ford in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Chewie was supposed to look back and yell something to Finn, and Suotamo asked J.J. Abrams what his motivation was for doing that. Harrison Ford then quipped, "It's for the money, stupid." Hey, it's a job. Most people work for money. I love Harrison Ford's cut-through-the-bullshit perspective and I only wish he would share his wisdom in a coffee table book -- and then use his past carpenter skills to build me the coffee table to put it on. But I bet he'd have complete and utter disdain for that idea.
  14. Batman and the Joker have had some pretty iconic showdowns over the years -- both on the page and on our screens. But it’s been a while since we saw a live action Clown Prince of Crime and the Caped Crusader square off in a DC film. It seems like that will continue to be the case for the time being. That didn’t stop a fan from creating an amazing poster that brings Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker and Robert Pattinson’s Batman together. After seeing recently released photos of Robert Pattinson all suited up on The Batman set, artist Alex Kovalenko’s imagination began to run wild. On Instagram, he shared a mockup of a movie poster that shows Robert Pattinson’s Batman standing behind recent Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker with a hand on his shoulder. In the caption that accompanies his artwork, he tagged DC Comics and asked them to “do it.” Take a look at the awesome poster below: Hey, he’s making a pretty compelling argument. Though it seems like Matt Reeves’ The Batman will have a different tone than Todd Phillips’ Joker, it’s hard to deny the two characters look like they belong in the same movie when you put them together. Unfortunately, the prospect of Robert Pattinson and Joaquin Phoenix appearing in a Batman film together is pretty slim. The obvious hurdle to a potential Batman/Joker team-up is the fact that Matt Reeves’ project is already fully set in stone -- and it seems as though there’s nary a Joker to be found amongst his cast of characters. If The Batman is a hit, there’s obviously the potential for a sequel -- but even then, it’s hard to envision Todd Phillips (or Joaquin Phoenix, for that matter) so readily loaning their version of the Joker to someone else’s film. Though no official Joker sequel is in the works, Todd Phillips’ admitted he has entertained the idea of what Batman would look like if he appeared in his gritty version of Gotham City. But he seems far more interested in continuing to tell the Joker’s story than he is in exploring the wider Batman lore. In other words: It’s a lot more likely that Robert Pattinson’s Batman would battle another Joker, if he were ever to face him at all. But that doesn’t mean The Batman will be a bust. We’ve already got confirmation that at least three iconic Batman villains will be causing trouble for Bruce Wayne in the upcoming film. And that will be more than enough to keep him busy for one film. What do you think? Would Robert Pattinson’s Batman and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker work together in a movie? Or are they better off in their own versions of Gotham City?
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