MOVIE CHEAT SHEET: Rodriguez blasts F & F
Michelle Rodriguez says she's ready to pull the pin on Fast and the Furious unless female roles are beefed up.
BRIAN GASPAREK/ 24 HOURS
THE BIG STORY: Rodriguez's fast, furious threat
After years of watching her on the big screen, we all know that Michelle Rodriguez is a tough, take-nocrap kind of lady. She's always been a certified badass. But the gutsiest, most fearless move of her career happened off screen this past week when she called out the producers of the Fast & Furious franchise. Rodriguez took to social media to declare that she is willing to quit the cash-cow action series unless the powers-that-be start series unless the powers-that-be start giving her and her fellow female cast members more of a spotlight in the films. In an Instagram post, Rodriguez stated, "F8 is out digitally today, I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one. Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise. It's been a good ride & I'm grateful for the opportunity the fans & studio have provided over the years...One Love."
Calling out the hand that (very generously) feeds is a ballsy move for any actor. But Michelle is totally right. For a decade and a half, the series has been male-focused. One of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker or The Rock's characters has always reigned as the ultimate hero at the conclusion of each flick. But why can't Rodriguez's Letty or Nathalie Emmanuel's Ramsey stand out as the hero or essential difference maker to conclude the next heist? Or how about the producers let a female villain be more physically dominant and independent. All Charlize Theran's Cipher did in F8 was sit back and let Vin Diesel's evil Dom do all of her nefarious work. It was lame. Based on their character profiles, most of the ladies in the franchise are just as apt as the men. I'm with Michelle. Give the ladies their due, Fast & Furious. It's about damn time.
FLICK HITS: The Darkest Knight yet?
So much for DC co-chairman Geoff Johns'recent proclamation that going forward, all DCEU films are going to be "fun," "upbeat" and "optimistic." This week, director Matt Reeves said that his upcoming solo Batman flick is going to be anything but that. According to Reeves, "I think there's a chance to do an almost noir-driven, detective version of Batman that is point-of-view driven in a very, very powerful way, that is hopefully going to connect you to what's going on inside of his head and inside of his heart." Isn't that loss, darkness and revenge? Regardless, since Reeves was my top choice to direct the film, I'm cool with him doing whatever he wants. Bring on the darkness, Matty.
Ansel Elgort, our next president
Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort may look like he's only sixteen, but he's next in line to play a president of the United States. It was just announced that Elgort has scored the role of a young JFK in Mayday 109, an upcoming biopic about the late president's time as a Navy captain during the Second World War. Ansel may be fresh-faced, but I'd say that's the perfect casting. He's definitely a believable young Kennedy. The real question is: can Elgort top Natalie Portman's Jackie?
Does everyone else agree that the first trailer for Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle looks like a giant heap of horse turds? It certainly appears as far removed from the 1995 fun family flick as possible. Jumanji is now a video game that a bunch of Breakfast Club wannabe kids get sucked into, ironically morphing them into their polar opposite personalities (The Rock, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black)? The jokes are bad, the action looks dumb and the Guns N'Roses soundtrack is far too on the nose. The movie looks terrible. Go stream the trailer. You will likely agree.
BEST AND WORST IN THEATRES:
Must-see: Baby Driver
Believe the hype, folks. Edgar Wright's Baby Driver is the sleek, hilarious and high-energy action-adventure flick that the 2017 summer box office has been begging for. Critics have unanimously agreed that this film is awesome. It's well written, perfectly cast, and packed with thrills and laughs. It even sports a killer soundtrack. If you're taking in a flick this rainy long weekend, this is the one to see.
Despicably average: Despicable Me 3
While Despicable Me 3 isn't the disappointing pile of yellow trash that was 2015's Minions, critics are saying that Gru and Co.'s latest adventure is just a thinner version of its two predecessors. Like Despicable Me 1 and 2, the third edition is light, bright and fun. It's full of family friendly chuckles, some tongue-in-cheek snickers, many Minions, and some heart. The story isn't memorable, however, and its purpose is just to tee up another sequel. Regardless, kids and fans of the franchise will be entertained.
Eyesore: The House
The trailer for Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler's filthy home casino comedy looked terrible and the film is guaranteed to be even worse. Reviews on the raunchy flick have been held back all week. You know what that means. It's not worth the gamble, people.
DID YOU KNOW ...?
RDJ almost had Pitt's big break
Did you know that if it weren't for Robert Downey Jr.'s height, Brad Pitt might never have scored his big break in Hollywood? It's true. When it came to casting Pitt's breakout role of grifter J.D. in Ridley Scott's 1991 classic, Thelma and Louise, a 25-year-old, already established RDJ had the part locked when he agreed to star in the film, regardless of what they could afford to pay him. Scott's assistant casting director expressed concern about Downey being too short for the part, however, and he got axed in favour of Pitt, who last minute auditioned with a group of other 'hot guys.'Pitt had incredible chemistry in a script read with Geena Davis, and the rest is history.