Francis Ford Coppola calls Marvel movies “despicable”

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Francis Ford Coppola says Marvel fails to enlighten, teach, or inspire. (Image Courtesy: Japan Today).

Francis Ford Coppola was awarded the Prix Lumiere in Lyon, France (joining the likes of Martin Scorsese, Pedro Almodovar, and Milos Forman as a recipient of the prestigious honor), and he spoke to local journalists about his thoughts on Marvel films, according to Japan Today. Expanding upon Scorsese’s now infamous remarks that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is “not cinema,” going so far as to call their output “theme park rides,” Coppola says the MCU is “despicable.” The Italian American auteur’s next project is Megalopolis, a utopian picture he has been nursing for two decades, which he promises will be even more ambitious than Apocalypse Now (1979).

HBO Max acquires Studio Ghibli library

Warner Media announced Thursday its acquisition of all twenty-one Studio Ghibli films for their streaming service, HBO Max, which will mark the first time the Japanese animation house’s filmography has been licensed to a streaming platform, according to The New York Times. Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2001), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997), Castle in the Sky (1986), as well as The Wind Rises (2014), to name a few, will be available to stream next fall. Along with NET, PBS, and HBO’s Sesame Street (1969-), HBO Max hopes to compete against Disney Plus and Netflix in the children’s market because family subscriptions are the most consistent.

Chicago theater revives “Sunset Boulevard” musical

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Hollis Resnik stars as Norma Desmond alongside Billy Rude as Joe Gillis. (Image Courtesy: The Chicago Tribune).

Beginning Tuesday night, Porchlight Music Theatre artistic director Michael Weber is reviving the stage adaptation of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950) at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts through December 8, according to the Chicago Tribune. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber as well as lyrics and book by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, the two-and-a-half-hour play first opened in 1993 London after leading lady Gloria Swanson spent much of the 1950s fighting to create a musical interpretation. Patti LuPone played Norma Desmond during the production’s London run, while Glenn Close, Petula Clark, Diahann Carroll, and Kim Zimmer were cast in the role stateside.

The fight to make the film industry more green

Emile O’Brien, who founded the environmentalist film and television consultancy service Earth Angel, was inspired to do so after studying production at New York University and seeing how much waste there was on sets, according to Vice. As an example, BAFTA says a single hour of fiction or nonfiction television produced in the UK generates thirteen metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is almost as much CO2 as an American produces on average in a year. To encourage a business which prides itself on its progressivism to put its money where its mouth is environmentally, O’Brien suggests that crews departmentalize “Eco Production Assistants,” and that activist groups host awards ceremonies for sustainability.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas discusses new film

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Priyanka Chopra Jonas opens up about her family with Nick Jonas on The View also, celebrating brothers-in-law Joe and Kevin Jonas as well as sisters-in-law Sophie Turner and Danielle Jonas for the support system they’ve given her. (Image Courtesy: ABC News).

Thirty-seven-year-old Priyanka Chopra Jonas returned to Bollywood for Shonali Bose’s The Sky Is Pink (2019), telling the cohosts of The View during her Tuesday interview about how the production helped her reach a catharsis after the death of her father, according to ABC News. Ashok Chopra lost a years-long battle with cancer in June 2013, but not before raising his daughter to be confident in her opinions and decisions, knowing she had her family to back her unconditionally. Chopra Jonas says his parenting style inspired her activism, which may or may not one day mean a career in politics for her.

Samuel L. Jackson sounds off on Martin Scorsese’s MCU comments

In response to Martin Scorsese’s opinions about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Samuel L. Jackson, who stars as head of SHIELD Nick Fury in ten MCU films, reminds Variety readers the filmmaker’s movies are controversial among Italian Americans, according to The Guardian. Scorsese told Empire that Marvel pictures are “not cinema” after trying and failing to get interested in them. Other industry insiders speaking out against what Scorsese said about the MCU include James Gunn, who directed Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Karen Gillan (who plays Nebula in Guardians), as well as Joss Whedon, the director behind The Avengers (2012).

The most important female director you’ve never heard of

From 1896 to 1906, the largely forgotten Alice Guy-Blaché was not just the world’s first female filmmaker, she was also the world’s only female filmmaker, christening her career with no less than the first narrative film, La Fée Aux Choux (1896), according to The A.V. Club. She was inspired to make cinema after sitting in the audience for Auguste and Louis Lumière’s La Sortie de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon (1895), thinking she could do better than one of history’s first motion pictures by telling stories instead of simply shooting scenes of everyday life. Guy-Blaché also pioneered several special effects (double exposure, masking, as well as running a reel backwards), and her comedy, A Fool and His Money (1912), is believed to be the first movie with an all-black cast.

Greta Garbo’s letters up for auction

Sixty-five handwritten letters between Stockholm-born star Greta Garbo and Austrian actress and writer Salka Viertel, composed from 1932 to 1973, are expected to bring in sixty thousand film collectors’ dollars at auction, according to The Guardian. The correspondences, first sold to a fan in 1993 Florida, humanize the Swedish Sphinx’s “Nordic Noir” onscreen persona, articulating the isolation and melancholy she lived behind the scenes far from home with only her European friends’ writings to accompany her through Hollywood. Viertel, who biographers say was Garbo’s closest friend, cowrote a number of her classics and appeared alongside her in Jacques Feyder’s Anna Christie (1930).

“Dune” star says film won’t feel studio-made

Stellan Skarsgård, who stars as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (2020), says the Warner Bros. adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel is less a cautionary tale of studio interference and more an artist’s vision, according to CinemaBlend. With reshoots as well as a lengthy post-production schedule looming over the horizon, though, executives will likely have a hand in the sci-fi auteur’s final cut. Villeneuve’s interpretation of the first half of Herbert’s book, costarring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Jason Mamoa, Javier Bardem, and David Dastmalchian, will be released December 18, 2020.

More casting announcements for Matt Reeves’s “The Batman” (2021) coming soon

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Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). (Image Courtesy: Forbes).

Casting calls are out for Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, and Two-Face in Matt Reeves’s The Batman (2021) before the reboot starts shooting early next year, with Robert Pattinson (the titular Bruce Wayne) as the only performer signed on so far, according to Forbes. Jeffrey Wright and Jonah Hill are in negotiations, with Wright expected to play Gotham City Police Department Commissioner Jim Gordon, and Hill, either Penguin or Riddler. “The Batman” is currently a working title, and the filmmaker is slated to direct a trilogy of films, but future installments may cross over with the upcoming Batgirl and Nightwing projects from Warner Bros.