Tag Archives: benedict cumberbatch

Xochitl Gomez Joins Doctor Strange 2 in an Unknown Role

Xochitl Gomez

Deadline is reporting that Xochitl Gomez is joining the cast of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Benedict Cumberbatch returns in the title role with Sam Raimi taking over as director. Marvel Studios has not commented on the casting.

It is expected that Benedict Wong and Chiwetel Ejiofor will also return to their roles for the sequel. New to the film will be Elizabeth Olsen who will reprise her role as Scarlet Witch, aka Wanda Maximoff. That character will get the spotlight in the upcoming television series WandaVision which will tie into the Doctor Strange sequel.

Due to Gomez’s ethnicity, age, and the fact that the film has to do with the multiverse, speculation is Gomez will play America Chavez. Speculation is fueled further by Chavez being a member of the Young Avengers, a team that Scarlet Witch’s kids are a part of as well. Those characters are expected to debut on WandaVision. Chavez is an extra-dimensional character who can hop through dimensions, has super strength, and flight as part of her powers.

Xochitl Gomez most recently starred as Dawn Schafer in The Baby-Sitters Club television series. She’s appeared in numerous shorts and on television shows with 19 credits so far.

1917 – Movie Review: Visual Tricks Overshadow War’s Human Story

1917

1917 definitely has a very specific energy, and that is tension built on top of tension on top of tension. But like a meal whose flavor profile is just based on one flavor, the final effect feels a little flat, even if it’s so technically stunning. Director Sam Mendes has always been an arresting visual director, from his award-winning work on American Beauty two decades ago to the comic-adapted Road to Perdition to (the best Bond film) Skyfall. And here he’s aided by (one of the greatest living cinematographers) Roger Deakins (who also teamed with Mendes on Skyfall) and editor Lee Smith, who help him achieve the illusion of a single, uninterrupted shot for the entire length of this gorgeous and arresting movie. The film’s strength and weakness are that the gimmick works incredibly effectively. But the story and characters take a backseat to the narrative and technical constraints, which somewhat hamstrings a technically amazing film.

Said story and characters are simple enough: in the waning days of World War I in the trenches of the Western Front, two English doughboys are dispatched to warn a battalion to call off an attack scheduled for dawn. To make the matter more personal, one of the infantrymen’s brother serves in that battalion, so they’re not only saving the war effort, but a family member. The camera follows the action in what appears to be one interrupted take (although it’s fairly clear where they used specific transitions to hide their cuts) and the results are intense.

Much like in Hitchcock’s classic film Rope, (and used in a somewhat more gimmicky way in Birdman) the lack of cuts helps elevate the dramatic tension. You never quite notice how much we depend on a simple cut to alleviate that anxiety that simply comes from letting a take run long. Especially in our quick-cut, quick edit world, we are simply not used to a filmmaker using a single shot for an extended period of time and it becomes incredibly unnerving. The way the camera moves, and what it chooses to linger on (including disturbing images of the horrors of war) also double and triple down on the dramatic tension.

The downside is that our characters and actors take a backseat to all of this, as a veritable who’s who of acclaimed British actors show up all too briefly. Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch bookend the film as British generals in their strongest stiff upper lip personas, and along the way we also run across Andrew Scott (Hot Priest sighting!) and Mark Strong. But where the film actually works best is in some of its quieter moments, such as encountering a young French mother trying to protect her infant while under siege/occupation by German forces.

1917 surely deserves the awards nominations and attention it has been receiving. As a technical achievement, it is breathtaking. But, then again, so is Avengers: Endgame. And in a year where we’re once again discussing the overwhelming whiteness and maleness of awards nominees, it’s hard to not take a second look at 1917 for what it is: a technical masterpiece which puts all of the talents of Roger Deakins and Mendes on full display, but which is choosing to tell a very traditional story centered around the heroics of white men. I had similar problems with Dunkirk. (However, it should be noted that Mendes does take time to at least cameo the contributions of non-white British soldiers) But this is very clearly a passion project and one where Mendes is cashing in a lot of favors to make the movie he wants to make. And it’s time to stop for one moment and think about exactly what kind of film comes out of that process and why, and how that compares to the barriers faced by some of 2019’s other top films and filmmakers. And is there a reason why Sam Mendes might get a Best Director nomination but Lulu Wang won’t? Which, again, isn’t a reason why Mendes shouldn’t be nominated. But maybe Todd Phillips shouldn’t?

All of that is to say that you should most certainly see 1917 and revel in its technical prowess, but also interrogate it a little. If not one of 2019’s absolutely best films, it’s one of its most technically audacious and certainly deserving of the awards hype it’s getting. My personal recommendations would be to not only watch this but then also delve back into Deakins’ back catalog, from his work with the Coen Brothers to Dennis Villanueve, to understand how much visual sauce he’s able to bring to most films.

4.25 out of 5 stars

Deadpool, Reynolds, Robbie, and Negan Win Critics’ Choice Awards

Suicide SquadThe Critics’ Choice Awards were held this past Sunday and comic films represented not just with nominations, but also quite a few wins.

Margot Robbie won for Suicide Squad in the “Best Actress in an Action Movie” category. She was up against Gal Gadot for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Scarlett Johansson for Captain America: Civil War, and Tilda Swinton for Doctor Strange.

Deadpool did well winning “Best Comedy” up against Central Intelligence, Don’t Think Twice, The Edge of Seventeen, Hail, Caesar!, and The Nice Guys. Ryan Reynolds won for “Best Actor in a Comedy” for the title role in the film. Reynolds beat Ryan Gosling for The Nice Guys, Hugh Grant for Florence Foster Jenkins, Dwayne Johnson for Central Intelligence, and Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic.

deadpool posterRyan Reynolds was also honored as the “Entertainer of the Year.”

When it comes to television Jeffrey Dean Morgan won for “Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series” for his portrayal of Negan on The Walking Dead.

It wasn’t all wins though.

Doctor Strange lost in “Best Hair & Makeup,” “Best Visual Effects,” and “Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie.” Captain America: Civil War, Deadpool, and Doctor Strange all lost in “Best Action Movie.” Finally, Benedict Cumberbatch for Doctor Strange, Chris Evans for Captain America: Civil War, and Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool all lost “Best Actor in an Action Movie.”

Sherlock: The Final Problem is Coming to Theaters

image003BBC Worldwide North America and Fathom Events present Sherlock: The Final Problem in movie theaters nationwide for two nights only starting on Monday, January 16, 2017 and on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 both at 7:00 p.m. local time.

Fans can celebrate the dramatic conclusion of the fourth season of the highly acclaimed BBC/MASTERPIECE  drama which stars Emmy Award-winners Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in their iconic roles as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as part of a special cinematic presentation for one night only. Audiences will experience laughter, tears, shocks and surprises in this thrilling, not-to-miss season finale, as well as 15 minutes of exclusive extras

Tickets for Sherlock: The Final Problem can be purchased online or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in nearly 350 movie theaters. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

image001Sherlock is a global phenomenon, engaging audiences from Berlin to Beijing, from Texas to Tokyo.  The show has sold to over 240 territories across the world, won 12 BAFTAs, 9 Emmys and a prestigious Peabody Award as well as accolades at the Edinburgh TV Festival and the Television Critics Association.  Sherlock made its mark in U.S. pop-culture being one of only three British TV shows that have appeared on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.

Sherlock returns Sundays starting January 1 on PBS Masterpiece.

Movie Review: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange PosterLike a good magician Doctor Strange focuses on the spectacle rather than the substance giving us a visual feast that lacks much depth. follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Based on the classic Marvel character, Doctor Strange was created by Steve Ditko in 1963 first appearing in Strange Tales #110. Known for its trippy visuals, the movie is a basic adaptation of the character focused on special FX as opposed to the story itself.

After having watched the film, it struck me that the movie and character is very much a mystical Iron Man sharing a lot with that character’s first movie and its main character Tony Stark. Both characters are narcissistic womanizers who live fast and play hard, each with their own god complex and only accepting perfection. Each character is injured and seek help to heal themselves eventually getting a suit of armor to help them survive and fight their battles. In Iron Man’s case it’s a literal suit of armor and with Strange it’s an armor of spells… and a cloak. So, Iron Man, but with Christopher Nolan’s aesthetic from Inception.

Directed by Scott Derrickson the film bends reality literally as buildings shift and characters jump around space as if it’s a game of Portal on acid. All of that is impressive and the strongest part of the movie. It distracts you from a main character that doesn’t grow a whole lot and generally unlikeable as a person and a supporting cast that doesn’t have a ton to do.

The content of the film remains pretty faithful for the character hitting the right moments and keeping the basics. Magic is given a bit more of a scientific explanation, and characters and locations are changed a bit as well (which is a whole other issue).

Benedict Cumberbatch does a fine job in the lead role. Lets face it a lot of the film is him being a dick and the rest is his waving his hands and arms in the air casting spells. But, we see a little growth for the character, but there’s still issues that make him generally unlikeable. An example is his inability to take responsibility for the results of his actions. He’s right and do what he wants, then maybe apologize later. It’s a similar role Tony Stark plays, but Stark has a deeper back story and has absolutely grown through his films (and that is a difference, one film from a half dozen).

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, and a wasted Benjamin Bratt are all in supporting roles and generally their talent isn’t used enough. Ejofor is used the best and his Baron Mordo will be a character that should be very entertaining in films to come. Swinton’s role is the mystical guru and her line readings are like a child telling you there is no spoon. McAdams plays flustered or confused for most of the film while Benedict Wong stands out among the bunch. Mikkelsen’s villain is rather boring and he’s a step up and change from the usual evil businessmen that populate previous Marvel Cinematic films. There’s line readings, but the acting isn’t there. I rarely felt realy emotion.

The story itself we could debate if there’s a bigger meaning involing religious extermists, but maybe that’s a discussion for another time.

The movie is amazing visually as the world shifts and turns and 3D is a must. This is the first film I think I’ve seen where the 3D is an absolute and you should skip the 2D. And it’s the visuals you’re going for. They are the draw of a film that feels like it suffers from Marvel’s usual first movie blues. It’s entertaining, but we’ve seen so much better.

Overall Rating: 7.65

Doctor Strange Begins Production With the Full Cast Announced

With some set photos leaked over the past week, Marvel has announced that Doctor Strange has officially begun production. Along with that bit information, they’ve also announced the cast.

The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and  Michael Stuhlbarg with Mads Mikkelsen and Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton. The film is being directed by Scott Derrickson.

Doctor Strange follows the story of neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.

As part of “Phase 3,” the film opens U.S. theaters on November 4, 2016.

doctor strange movie

It’s Official, Benedict Cumberbatch to Play Doctor Strange

Benedict_Cumberbatch_filming_Sherlock_croppedAfter lots of rumors and speculation, Marvel has announced that Benedict Cumberbatch has entered the world of the mystic arts and will star in Marvel’s Doctor Strange. The movie is set to come out November 4, 2016 as part of Marvel’s Phase 3 of movies.

The film, directed by Scott Derrickson with Jon Spaihts writing the screenplay, will follow the story of neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.

The actor is mostly know for his role as Sherlock in the show of the same name, and also has appeared in War Horse, The Fifth Estate, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hobbit trilogy (as the voice of Smaug), and can currently be seen in The Imitation Game. The actor is an award winner including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie in 2014, after winning the BAFTA/LA Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year in 2013. He’s also appeared on stage in roles such as Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein opposite of Jonny Lee Miller (America’s Sherlock Holmes) where the two traded roles. That play also appeared in movie theaters as part of Fantom Events.

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