Category: Men in Arts

Is Ben Affleck’s Batman on the Way Out of the DCEU?

The superhero movie rumor mill swirls. Things don’t seem all that positive for those who enjoy seeing Ben Affleck in the role of the Caped Crusader. Reportedly, Affleck may not be playing Batman in future DC Extended Universe films. Nothing is confirmed right now. So, Affleck is still officially Batman. Based on rumors, Affleck isn’t being fired from the role. Instead, he’s pondering leaving due to creative differences and unhappiness.

Two major issues that bother Affleck involve the problems surrounding The Batman solo film and the reception for Justice League. Affleck has departed The Batman after unhappiness over Warner Bros. attempting to rush the film into production. The box office failure of Justice League combined with the film’s critical drubbing further disillusioned Affleck. Likely, the overall uneven nature of the DCEU doesn’t give the actor much to be enthusiastic about.

Of course, all these rumors could turn out to be overstated. Affleck may eventually agree to appear as Batman in a number of future films. No one really knows what the whole story is right now. Granted, few would be shocked to discover the rumors turn out to be true and Afflect departs the role. His tenure as Batman hasn’t exactly been all that positive. Every film in which he appeared as Batman received horrible critical reviews. The problems cannot be dropped totally on the shoulders of Affleck, though.

Affleck’s departure could prove either helpful or disastrous to Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment. If Affleck were to leave, the production companies gain the potential to revamp and revitalize the classic superhero. Reversing the downward momentum the character currently experiences wouldn’t be a bad thing. The public’s perceptions of Affleck’s departure, however, could be very bad. Impressions of the DCEU may worsen from the negative publicity deriving from admitting Affleck’s tenure was a failure.

George R. R. Martin Is In No Hurry, Because Of Course He Isn’t

George R. R. Martin has become as famous for keeping his fans in unbearable suspense as for creating the universe of Game of Thrones. As fans wail that the popular GoT series won’t return to HBO until 2019 (NOT fair), the pitchforks and torches turn to Martin himself, demanding the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Despite hints that the new volume would be available in 2018, the release of The Winds of Winter has been delayed yet again, as Martin informed fans on his blog. The good news is that there is an acceptable reason for the delay: Martin revealed that he is working on a history of the Targaryen family entitled Fire And Blood.

Fire And Blood will be released in two volumes. As of now, Martin plans to release Winds of Winter between the two Fire and Blood books. This news is of particular interest to those who are caught up enough to know of the peculiar romance between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, which culminated at the end of Season 8 of GoT. Perhaps Fire And Blood will give us more exploration of that relationship, and put to rest any stray theories about Jon’s heritage.

The series has overtaken the books by two seasons, with the two-year-old Season 6 being loosely based on Winds. The common question now is, is the television series based on the books, or vice versa?

Fan theories about the impending doom of the Seven Kingdoms are cropping up all over the Internet, but only one man has the answers we seek.

Dear George, please give us Winds of Winter and put us out of our misery!

What Happened to Zack Snyder’s Original Concept of Superman?

The departure of Zack Snyder from Justice League now forever leaves questions in the minds of fans. Obvious questions center on whether the film would have achieved better box office results and critical acclaim. Another question emerging centers on Superman’s personality. In Snyder’s original concept for Justice League, a reborn Superman becomes the “true” Superman. In other words, Superman’s persona and those of the comic book version wouldn’t be much different. The Superman of Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, however, was significantly different.

In Snyder’s reimagining of Superman, the “Big Blue Boyscout” became much more cynical and violent. To many fans, Superman ceased to be Superman. Snyder seemed to wish to modernize Superman. Now, it seems there was a plan to evolve Superman from a darker version to the more optimistic one.

Harcore fans don’t seem to be the only ones turned off to the new version of Superman. Lackluster box office receipts speak volumes about the apathy fans felt towards the character. Unfortunately, superhero cinema aficionados will never know if Snyder’s original plan would have played out. Removing and replacing Snyder from Justice League ended the “Snyder path.”

Snyder really didn’t seem to be the right fit for the DC Extended Universe. Other than Wonder Woman, the entries disappointed critically. Several films did do well at the box office despite poor reviews, but the bad reviews caught up with them.

Fans still clamor for a release of the original Snyder rough cut of Justice League. How much finished footage comprises the purported rough cut — or if there is even a full rough cut — remains unknown. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment maintain no plans to release the Snyder version, although one could be released in the future. The original version of Superman II saw a DVD release more than 20 years after the film initially hit theaters.

Andreas Gursky Photography Show at Hayward Requires a Crane

Many artists create pictures that deserve sufficient space on gallery walls, but photographer Andreas Gursky takes space to a new extreme. The German photographer, born in 1955 and working in the arts since his college years, captures life on a large scale. His current show at the Hayward Gallery in London required a construction crane and the removal of ceiling tiles just to fit some of his photos.

Although some of his photos were moved by hand, the largest required a crane and careful handling. The most cumbersome photo measured approximately five meters long by two meters tall. The show coincides with the reopening of the Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre. The gallery’s director Ralph Rugoff said Gursky was chosen for the innovation and new dialogue he brings to the artistic expression shared by photographers.

Gursky’s scope is grand, his subject matter frequently architectural, and his focus on elevated perspectives of sweeping landscapes of modern life. Some of the famous photos include Sixty Minute Spectrum, a unique view of the Hayward Gallery itself, 99 Cents, showing the interior stocked shelves of a huge Los Angeles dollar store, and Les Mées, a seemingly idyllic view of a French solar farm laid across rolling hills. Other subject matter includes an Amazon warehouse interior, a race car track in Bahrain, and world stock markets.

Also included is Rhine II, an image of grassy banks beside the rushing river. It holds the world record as the highest price photo ever sold at a price of $4.3 million. Part of the exhibit features art that strays from the only-photos work of earlier years. Andreas Gursky has adopted more high-tech methods of creation. Pictures like Review, which shows four decades of German Chancellors in a row, consist of digitally altered images instead of personally taken photos.

Tom Hanks Will Play Mister Rogers in Upcoming Biopic

TriStar Pictures has announced that it will be making a biopic, “You Are My Friend,” about Mister Rogers, the beloved host of the children’s show “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood,” which ran from 1968 to 2001. Tom Hanks will be playing Mister Rogers, and many people have already commented that they find the casting very appropriate.

Marielle Heller, who had directed 2015’s “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” will be helming the project. She will be using a script penned by Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue. The film will be inspired by the friendship between Rogers and Tom Junod, an award-winning journalist. In it, the Junod character is portrayed as a cynic who is initially reluctant to write an article profiling Rogers.

Fred Rogers (1928 – 2003) was a native of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Early on, he believed television could be used to educate children. At first, he worked on musical programs for NBC until he concluded that commercial television’s dependence on advertising reduced its ability to truly educate children. He thus went to work for public television as a puppeteer on a children’s show called “The Children’s Corner.” Some of his characters, like King Friday XIII, debuted on this program. Rogers also began wearing his famous tennis shoes simply because they made less noise on the set.

Rogers spent a few years living and working in Toronto during the mid-60s, but he soon returned to Pennsylvania. He began working for the Eastern Educational Television Network, which eventually became American Public Television. In 1968, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” premiered. It incorporated characters and sets from some of his earlier works, and it became known for its gentle and slow pace. Rogers disliked the fast pace and animation of other children’s programs and called them “bombardment. He also refused to adopt a persona radically different from his true personality, saying that children could easily spot a phony. “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” won four Emmys, and Rogers himself received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Rogers died from cancer in 2003, and he was survived by his wife and two children.

Production on the movie will start this fall.

Bruno Mars Wins Big at Grammys

Bruno Mars continued his dominance in the music industry by wining seven Grammy awards. His song, “That’s What I Like, won both Best R&B Song and Song Of The Year. His record, 24K Magic, won Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, and Best R&B Album. He won an award for the Best R&B Performance for his rendition of the hit during the Premiere Ceremony, and he also won the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

For the Album Of The Year, he beat out Lay-Z, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino. This was his first win in the this category as a solo artist.

By winning the all three of the big categories – the Record, Album, and Song Of The Year – he entered a very exclusive club. No other male artist has won all three in the same year for the last 25 years. Eric Clapton was the last male performer to have swept those big awards.

During the 60th Grammy Awards, which was held in New York City on Sunday, Mars took the stage with Cardi B. The duo performed his song “Finesse,” wowing the crowd with not only their vocal power but their dance moves.

The singer-songwriter has had great success throughout his career. Born and raised in Honolulu, he’s been performing for practically his entire life. He has been part of several groups, including The Smeezingtons and The Hooligans, and he’s worked with numerous artists like Brody Brown, Mark Ronson, and Andrew Wyatt. He first Grammy was given to him for the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Just the Way You Are” in 2011, and he now has a total of 11 Grammys under his belt.

Kendrick Lamar Lends His Credibility to Black Panther

The entertainment industry is need of a hero. Homogeny has infected everything. Music has become the very definition of cookie cutter from synth-heavy pop songs about shallow romantic interludes to rap songs about cars and female anatomy. Every film in the theater is a regurgitation of the one before it, be it a CGI-laden cartoon, a remake nobody asked for, or yet another installment of a franchise reaching double digits. Corporate control of entertainment has strangled diversity and meaning. Yet, from within that very system, a voice calls out from within the gears of the machine. A movement has started, one that is both in the world but not of the world.

Within the music industry has come Kendrick Lamar, a Molotov cocktail of spiritual introspection and layered meaning to a genre that has stagnated into recreating spastically repetitive odes to materialism for the last decade or so. Kendrick’s artistry never disappoints, marrying both the radical and respectable together. His songs have been favorites of both the Black Lives Matter and Presidents. Like Dylan or Springsteen before him, Kendrick has become a voice of a generation that will resonate for generations.

As such, it makes all the sense in the world that he would be a major component of the Black Panther soundtrack. The latest addition of the monstrous Marvel movie machine is proving to be a phenomenon as buzz continues to build. The titular character is T’Challa, the king/superpowered protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. The film boasts a who’s who of the most prominent black filmmakers of today and is representative of black artistry and strength as well as a manifesto towards progress and quality in entertainment. It is no wonder Kendrick wants in.

Stephen Lang Muses About a Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos Film

Stephen Lang recently confirmed he will be returning to the screen in the upcoming sequel to the horror hit “Don’t Breathe.” Lang seems to also be angling to be cast in a Marvel Cinematic Universe motion picture. Lang has let it publicly be known he wants to play the original Nick Fury in a movie version of “Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos.”

No, Lang wouldn’t be replacing Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson plays the modern day S.H.I.E.L.D. version of Nick Fury. The Howling Commandos version of Nick Fury deals with adventures during World War II. In the comic books, the background of Nick Fury is a bit convoluted thanks to the existence of different Nick Fury characters existing in different universes. Universes meld together at times to address time and continuity issues. In the movies, however, none of this matters. They could simply explain both men have the same code name. Casting Lang as the Nick Fury of 1943 doesn’t require some lengthy or convoluted explanation.

Why is Lang pushing for a Sgt. Nick Fury WWII movie? “Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos” was one of Lang’s favorite books when he was a youngster. His personal affinity for the old comic acts as the root of his wish to play the character on screen.

Lang’s public commentary makes for interesting reading, but the odds of a WWII Nick Fury movie ever being produced seems a little slim. Marvel Studios does not have any plans for such a film even though the Howling Commandos do exist in the current MCU.

Keep in mind, the original Nick Fury comic was certainly not a superhero title. It was a “war comic.” DC, EC, Marvel and other publishers put out war titles during the 1940’s through the 1960’s. War book ceased to be popular in the 1970’s although a few titles were published from the 1970’s to the present. Marvel Studios probably prefers to stick with hero movies and books and leave combat tales to others.

Soderbergh Uses iPhone to Make New Film

Filmmaking has continually evolved since Thomas Edison’s first attempt, with innovations having become a relatively common approach within the movie industry. In one of the latest examples of this philosophy, director Steven Soderbergh has taken a new approach when it comes to filming his new movie, Unsane.

That concept involved filming the entire movie, which opens on March 23, on an iPhone. That fact has actually been known for the past year and was decided before Soderbergh had come up with an actual title for his film that’s being described as a thriller with a psychological bent.

Unsane has a diverse cast, including Claire Foy, best known for playing Queen Elizabeth in Netflix’s The Crown. In addition, former Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Pharoah takes on a role that’s anything but comedic in nature. In addition, actress Amy Irving could be the most prominent name among the remaining cast.

Foy’s character is being victimized by the villainous stalking of a man played by Joshua Leonard, best known for The Blair Witch Project. After being sent to an institution after her mental faculties are deemed to be in question, she discovers that the stalker is apparently employed at the facility.

Rather than simply stick to that component, Soderbergh also puts the woman’s own mindset into question by making it uncertain whether or not what she appears to see is the actual truth.

Soderbergh had announced that he would no longer make movies, a pledge that ended last year when he delivered Logan Lucky. That film was one that reflected his habit of going in a different direction with each of his films. In that case, the film centered on a heist that was being plotted and had comedic overtones attached. Never knowing what to expect next is a Soderbergh trademark.

Does a Definitive Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League Exist?

Spinning the disastrous box office of Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment’s Justice League film cannot be done with any credibility. The film failed to connect with audiences and critics. The departure of director Zack Snyder due to a personal crisis has been blamed for some of the film’s failure. Replacing a director doesn’t usually lead to the creation of a well-crafted finished film. Rumors recently emerged that Snyder did shoot enough footage that his version of the film could be edited and released on home video. Warner Bros., however, has zero interest in releasing the Zack Snyder cut of a film ultimately completed by Joss Whedon.

Warner Bros. noted that significant special effects work, editing, and sound mixing would be required to release the Zack Snyder cut in an acceptable version. Since the theatrical version of the film failed to break even, Warner Bros. doubtfully wishes to spend millions upon millions of dollars on a DVD/Blu-ray that won’t make its extra costs back.

Interestingly, rumors recently emerged that a far more complete version of the Snyder cut does exist. If this version didn’t require editing or mixing, then releasing it wouldn’t come with added cost. Don’t look for Warner Bros. to release such a DVD even if Snyder’s cut truly is a complete version. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment want to put the disastrous release of Justice League back into the past. Releasing a better version of the official one simply draws more attention to the current cinematic woes facing heroes of DC Comics. DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. need Aquaman, Shazam!, and Wonder Woman 2 to perform quite well at the box office. Anything that reminds fans that Warner and DC Entertainment delivers duds doesn’t help the cause.

That said, the Zack Snyder cut may eventually be released in the future. However, that time could be many years away.