Movies

Ex-UFC star Rashad Evans is ready to move on from sparring to starring ... in a Hollywood role -- and he's revealing his dream gig -- playing Cuba Gooding Jr.'s brother!! We got the former light heavyweight champ out at LAX and he told us now that his days in the Octagon are done ... he wants a career in movies. Of course ... he's already gotten started on that dream -- playing a role in Mel Gibson's upcoming flick, "Boss Level." But, Rashad's got his eyes on a bigger prize ... and it includes possibly playing a relative of Rod Tidwell himself. BTW ... Rashad ain't the only Evans who has his future mapped out -- his kids are just as driven as Pops. His son is gearing up for a career in movies (his costar is all picked out) ... and you gotta hear his little daughter's plan to change the world!! (TMZ)

Why 'Mission: Impossible -- Fallout' Feels Like 'The Dark Knight' of the Series. Filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise have constructed a film in which Ethan Hunt's burden feels heavier than usual. [This story contains spoilers for Mission: Impossible -- Fallout]. For nearly 20 years and five films, the Mission: Impossible franchise always had several consistent elements. They each starred and were produced by Tom Cruise, who would throw himself (as literally as possible) into all sorts of crazy stunt work; they each featured Cruise's heroic secret agent Ethan Hunt ferreting out moles among his fellow spies; and they were each directed by a different person. Each Mission: Impossible movie has felt distinctive because of the ever-shifting filmmaker behind the camera, until Fallout, the sixth and latest entry, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who had similar duties on 2015's Rogue Nation. In working together again, Cruise and McQuarrie have bucked the trend and made the best-reviewed Mission: Impossible yet. When Fallout begins, Ethan is on his own in Belfast, brought back into the IMF fold when he learns that his still-living nemesis Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) has influenced a group of disavowed agents known as the Apostles to try and wreak anarchy upon the world by detonating a trio of nuclear weapons. Ethan then works with his IMF cohorts along with the enigmatic MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and a mysterious CIA agent named August Walker (Henry Cavill) to stop the Apostles at all costs. The plot, as is often the case in Mission: Impossible movies, isn't intricately detailed because it doesn't need to be; instead, it partially functions as a clothesline on which to hang an impressive amount of jaw-dropping, relentless action sequences. Fallout, much more than other entries in the series, functions as a direct sequel. It's not just that cast members such as Ferguson, Harris, Ving Rhames, and Simon Pegg return; as opposed to other entries like Ghost Protocol, it helps to know more going in aside from just "Tom Cruise does crazy stuff for two hours." Ethan remains haunted and remorseful for his failed marriage with Julia (Michelle Monaghan, also returning), and struggles to accept the greater good as opposed to saving just one member of his team. McQuarrie leans into how these character-based choices have a global impact; both in how the action is constructed and how Ethan's burden feels heavier than usual, McQuarrie has made as close of an equivalent to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight for this franchise. Fallout, to its credit, is the weightiest film in the series. McQuarrie has also grown as an action filmmaker in between Rogue Nation and now. One of the franchise's biggest selling points is that Cruise does as many stunts as he can himself; McQuarrie, even more than in the previous film, does an excellent job of making it eminently clear that Cruise is really doing everything on screen. There's almost a tactile quality to each of the major setpieces, in part because there's either a complete absence of CGI or seamlessly integrated effects so it all feels practical. Seeing Ethan Hunt desperately climb a rope dangling off the bottom of a helicopter becomes even more terrifying when you accept that it's really Tom Cruise hanging for his life, thanks in part to the clear, coherent, never-blinking directing style from McQuarrie. So much of Fallout succeeds because it's exceptionally thrilling without ever being monotonous. Clocking in at 147 minutes, it's the longest entry in the franchise yet manages to feel as fleet of foot as its hero. (McQuarrie, wisely, creates a lot of scenarios where Ethan has to run from Point A to Point B, because there are few things more hypnotic and viscerally entertaining on film than watching Tom Cruise run like there's no tomorrow.) McQuarrie perhaps deserves the most credit for finding variations within familiar themes. Fans of the franchise may not be too terribly surprised by the reveal that the burly August Walker is an anarchist in disguise, if only because he wouldn't be the first American agent to betray our hero. But the way Cavill is employed throughout the film creates a genuinely fascinating foil. Even before he's revealed his true colors, in a brutal and intense bathroom fight, Cavill shows that he's not to be reckoned with. These days, the only true competition that the Mission: Impossible franchise faces with long-running action series is the Fast and Furious films. (While there have been more than four times as many James Bond films over more than five decades, the character has been played by so many actors that it's unfair to make a one-to-one comparison.) Certainly, it's easy to joke about imagining what insane things Ethan Hunt will have to do in future entries; maybe if Dominic Toretto doesn't go to outer space, Ethan will get there first. But in the first entry of this franchise to rely on more story-based continuity than ever before, returning director McQuarrie has proven himself to be the most capable person to make Mission: Impossible movies yet. After Fallout, he ought to make as many of these movies as Cruise's Energizer-Bunny-like body and spirit will allow. (Hollywood Reporter)

Appreciating 'Teen Titans Go!' and Its DC Jabs. This is a welcome case of the filmmakers biting the hand that feeds them. [This story contains spoilers for Teen Titans Go! To The Movies]. We're only a few weeks removed from the last superhero movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and just over a month removed from the last animated superhero movie, Incredibles 2. And since last weekend was Comic-Con, there's been plenty more discussion about upcoming superhero films and TV shows, up to and including a live-action DC show called Titans, which features some of the same characters who appear in the bright new animated film Teen Titans Go! To The Movies. The current wave of superhero films seems like something of a flood; it's to Teen Titans Go! To The Movies' credit that the filmmakers are not only aware of their spot in that flood but are happy to make fun of the glut. The set-up of Teen Titans Go! To The Movies is painfully simple: Robin (Scott Menville) is tired of just being seen as the sidekick to the Caped Crusader. If Batman, and Superman, and Deadpool, and Green Lantern, and everyone else under the sun can get a superhero movie, then Robin wants one too. So he and his fellow Titans try to convince anyone in Hollywood that they're movie material and are willing to do just about anything to sway all the necessary hearts and minds. When they find a director (Kristen Bell) who's up for turning Robin into a star, it comes with a twisted and unexpected cost. By the third act, it turns out that the director is actually the supervillain Slade (Will Arnett) in disguise, trying to brainwash the entire world by making them watch another superhero movie and eventually doing his evil bidding. It feels more than a bit pointed for the filmmakers behind TTGTTM to unveil this as the baddie's evil plan, if only because it's only so far removed from the reality of people lining up ad nauseam to every single superhero movie under the sun. The filmmakers' cheeky humor is on display as early as the studio logos, which have been deliberately designed to mock the self-congratulatory and pompous Marvel Studios logo. And while Marvel does get razzed a bit -- Slade has to constantly remind the Teen Titans that he's not Deadpool, and Stan Lee (yes, the real Stan Lee) shows up in a self-referential cameo that's all about his propensity for... making cameos in Marvel movies -- the filmmakers turn the snark on DC as well. In one clip-within-the-film of a sequel to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we see Batman and Superman (voiced here by Jimmy Kimmel and a presumably quite pleased Nicolas Cage) squaring off again when Batman realizes that their fathers don't have the same first name. One of the reasons why these jokes are so endearing within the entirety of TTGTTM is simple: most DC movies these days... don't have a sense of humor. Any fans of the Cartoon Network show Teen Titans Go! won't be shocked to learn that the program's anarchic goofiness is still on display -- multiple characters criticize the Teen Titans for never taking things seriously -- but it's still very different from most DC movies these days for characters to not only crack jokes, but for those jokes to be fast-paced and witty. So while this may be the umpteenth film in which we see Superman or Batman, it manages to feel different simply by winking at what DC has been doing for the last five years. That sense of humor feels especially welcome when Slade's full plan is revealed. He's been filming a Robin movie specifically, so he can unleash his DOOMSDAY device -- here, though, DOOMSDAY is an acronym for a world-spanning streaming service that will brainwash every person on the planet, forced to watch on any number of screens. Considering that DC, like most major entertainment brands, is beginning a streaming service of its own, this can't help but seem like a welcome case of the filmmakers biting the hand that feeds them. It's easy to make jokes about how superhero movies have yet to reach a breaking point where audiences are exhausted with them, but sharper to acknowledge the downside of the superhero-movie gold rush not having an end point. Teen Titans Go! To The Movies feels a good deal like the Mel Brooks parodies of the 1970s, at least aimed at kids. What that means, in terms of the success rate of its jokes, is that it can be a bit hit-or-miss. Some gags are simply less funny than others, whereas the filmmakers hold the best possible joke until the end, when Robin, failing to make an inspirational speech to a crowd that just wants the end credits to roll, grabs the camera and shouts, "Kids, ask your parents where babies come from!" before those end credits start. While this movie may not be perfect, there's something genuinely endearing in the reality that DC finally made something with this kind of ballsy humor. If only it hadn't taken so long. (Hollywood Reporter)

Mission: Impossible - Fallout Cast Exposes the Real Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise truly is as great as he seems. The cast of Mission: Impossible-Fallout learned firsthand just how impressive the star was throughout the course of their filming. From stopping mid-take to ask extras if they were okay, to expertly maneuvering a helicopter in the mountains, Cruise won over the hearts of the star-studded group, including Henry Cavill. "I am not easily impressed, and I know some people who have done genuinely seriously impressive stuff, and watching Tom do these stunts, especially in the mountains in that helicopter. I just thought, 'Okay I am officially impressed,'" the Superman actor shared. He added, "This is ridiculous what he is doing. And he learns all these skills for these movies and does them to an elite level. It is remarkable, truly remarkable." Aside from being an amazing stuntman, the actors added that he is genuinely a good person, with Angela Bassett saying, "He truly is just incredibly warm, generous, embracing. As soon as he turns to see you he breaks out into this great smile and just welcomes you with a warm smile." For Rebecca Ferguson, she said the actor has the ability to make you feel like "you are the center of the room." Simon Pegg on the other hand, just feels uncomfortable. "He compliments you a lot and he looks at you and it gets uncomfortable because you get so much Cruise love on you. People are always so all over on him, so I think he likes to redistribute it," the Brit joked. The general consensus though is that the Top Gun star is a just a normal guy, despite all the mystery that surrounds him. "He allows himself to be surrounded by a lot of mystique and conjecture and gossip and he just sort of lets it fester and I think that makes people think he is some sort of inhuman kind of thing, but he is just a bloke," Pegg explained. Fans of the 56-year-old are delighted by his return to the public eye as he travels the world to promote the most recent installment of the franchise. More recently, he has joined Jimmy Fallon for a hilarious round of Mad Lib Theatre, before crossing the country to join James Corden as he skydived for the first time. You can see the entire cast in Mission: Impossible-Fallout in theaters everywhere. (Eonline)

Carrie Fisher Set to Appear in Star Wars: Episode IX Using ''Unseen Footage.'' Carrie Fisher's legacy lives on through the Star Wars films. The cast for Star Wars: Episode IX has been announced and the actress will be reprising her role as Leia Organa in the final installment of the series. Lucasfilm made the exciting announcement on the official Star Wars website, where the names of the entire cast are listed. J.J. Abrams said that without Carrie they don't believe they could find a "truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga." "We were never going to recast or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie's legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII," the director explained. Following Fisher's unexpected death in December 2016, the franchise responded to claims that the star would be brought to life in the films through the use of CGI. "We don't normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher's performance as Princess or General Leia Organa. Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss," the studio said at the time. "We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars." Her daughter, Billie Lourd, will be featured alongside her famous mom when she takes on the role of Lieutenant Connix. The release of the film is scheduled for December 2019. (Eonline)

Leia and Lando return: Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams will appear in Star Wars: Episode IX. Carrie Fisher is getting a final moment in the galactic sun. She will return for Star Wars: Episode IX, with director J.J. Abrams using previously unused footage of the late actress to conclude the story of Leia Organa. The news came with the cast announcement for the film, which included confirmation that Billy Dee Williams will reprise the role of Lando Calrissian and Mark Hamill will return as Luke Skywalker. His "See you around, kid" pledge to Kylo Ren will clearly be fulfilled. C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels, the only performer to have a role in every single Star Wars film, is also back. Newcomers to the cast include Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant in unspecified roles alongside returning castmates Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd. Ackie, who won a British Independent Film Award last year for most promising newcomer, is best known for playing the largely mute housemaid Anna in the 2016 dark period drama Lady Macbeth. Grant is the veteran character actor known for everything from his breakthrough in 1987's Withnail and I to Gosford Park, Spice World, The Iron Lady, and Logan. The true surprise of the announcement was the decision to return to the Leia story and use previous footage to do it. The footage of Fisher, who died in December 2016 after finishing work on The Last Jedi, is all unreleased material from her performance in 2015's The Force Awakens. Ever since Fisher's untimely passing, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has said they would not recast or use digitization to keep the character going. Now, Abrams says there was no way to close out the story, written by him and Argo Oscar-winner Chris Terrio, without finding a way to bring back her character in some fashion. "We desperately loved Carrie Fisher," Abrams said in a statement. "Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie's legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII." Lourd costars as Resistance Lieutenant Connix in the series and was frequently in scenes with her mother. Missing from the cast list was any mention of Keri Russell, a frequent Abrams collaborator from the TV series Felicity and Mission: Impossible 3. Sources told EW she was close to signing for a role, but sometimes more cast members are added later. UPDATE: That didn't take long. Now Russell has been added to the official cast list. Guess that ink finally dried. The news will relieve fans of Lando Calrissian, who have been asking for Williams to return to the series in each of the previous two saga films. Finally, we'll see what became of the former Cloud City baron and intergalactic hustler. Hamill has made no secret of his desire to return as Luke Skywalker, declaring his hope that he could reprise the role in spirit form after the apparent end of the Jedi warrior at the end of The Last Jedi. The announcement also confirmed that veteran composer John Williams, would be back for Episode IX, after contributing only a small portion of original music for Solo: A Star Wars Story (although a heaping amount of inspiration). The only Star Wars films he hasn't composed the entirety of were Solo, a job that went to John Powell, and Rogue One, which was done by Michael Giacchino. Here are other credits announced: The still-untitled Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Michelle Rejwan, and executive produced by Callum Greene and Jason McGatlin. The crew includes cinematographer Dan Mindel, production designers Rick Carter and Kevin Jenkins, costume designer Michael Kaplan, creature and droid design guru Neal Scanlan, editors Maryann Brandon and Stefan Grube, visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett, first assistant director Tommy Gormley, and second unit director Victoria Mahoney. Filming begins Aug. 1 at Pinewood Studios outside London, with a release set for December 2019. (Entertainment Weekly)

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