Darren Aronofsky’s “Batman” movie canceled because he wanted to cast Joaquin Phoenix

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The outbreak of COVID-19 has halted production for Matt Reeves’s The Batman. (Image Courtesy: New Music Express).

In an interview with Empire, Darren Aronofsky said Warner Bros. dismissed him from directing a Batman film in the early 2000s because he would have cast Joaquin Phoenix as Bruce Wayne whereas the studio wanted Freddie Prinze, Junior, according to New Music Express. Christopher Nolan ended up being hired to reboot the DC Comics franchise, while Phoenix would later go on to play the Caped Crusader’s archnemesis in Todd Phillips’s Joker (2019). Meanwhile, Matt Reeves’s The Batman (2021), starring Robert Pattinson, is currently in the works, with a release date scheduled for next summer (unless impacted by the coronavirus pandemic).

TCM Classic Film Festival will broadcast a “Special Home Edition” on Turner Classic Movies

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Clips of interviews between TCM on-air host Ben Mankiewicz, the late Robert Osborne, and Eva Marie Saint, Tony Curtis, Debbie Reynolds, as well as the cast and director of John Boorman’s Deliverance (1972), will play during the festival. (Image Courtesy: The Los Angeles Times).

The eleventh annual TCM Classic Film Festival, a multi-venue Hollywood fan event, has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Turner Classic Movies will broadcast a “Special Home Edition” of the festival from Thursday to Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Times. Lead programmer Charlie Tabesh says it would not have been possible to exhibit all the titles they had planned for the live festival over the same four days the festival was originally scheduled, so the “Special Home Edition,” with its highlight reels, will be a unique experience. Fans can win swag through Twitter giveaways under the hashtag #TCMFF.

Quentin Tarantino’s five best (and five worst) films, according to IMDb

Because Quentin Tarantino only has ten directorial credits to his name, ranking his films per their user ratings on IMDb divides the five “best” from the five “worst,” according to Screen Rant. Indeed, Dan Peeke writes that Tarantino fans tend to love his whole filmography, and the filmmaker has yet to release one “bad” movie. From lowest to highest, the IMDb scores for Tarantino’s pictures are as follows: Death Proof (2007), at seven-point-five out of ten; Jackie Brown (1997), at seven-point-five; Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), at seven-point-seven; The Hateful Eight (2015), at seven-point-eight; Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), at eight-point-zero; Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003), at eight-point-one; Reservoir Dogs (1992), at eight-point-three; Inglourious Basterds (2009),  at eight-point-three; Django Unchained (2012), at eight-point-four; and Pulp Fiction (1994), at eight-point-nine.

Hulu review: Christopher McQuarrie’s “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” (2018)

Only a franchise with a set of rules written by Brian De Palma in 1996 could be this absurd and watchable at the same time.

If you don’t know what to watch next, Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) is available to stream on Hulu.

The action spy film is a follow-up to the fifth installment in the series, McQuarrie’s own Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), making him the first filmmaker to return and direct more than one of these movies.

McQuarrie also wrote the screenplay and co-produced alongside star Tom Cruise as well as Mission: Impossible III (2006) director J.J. Abrams.

Set two years after the events of Rogue Nation, Impossible Mission Force agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is tasked with buying three stolen plutonium cores in Berlin before a terrorist group known as the Apostles can on behalf of a mysterious client known as John Lark.

The mission goes awry, so CIA Director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) assigns Special Activities Division operative August Walker (Henry Cavill) to supervise Ethan as he tracks down the plutonium.

Meanwhile, former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) is hellbent on assassinating Rogue Nation villain Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) to prove her loyalty to the intelligence agency, even though he is the key to finding the missing plutonium.

Ethan Hunt is the American answer to England’s James Bond, and, while Bond is the more classic hero, Ethan is the more consistent.

He is not the womanizer Bond is, and, though he finds himself in “exotic” locales, his adventures are not quite as colonizing as Bond’s are, in that he is genuinely a world-saving hero, not a blunt instrument of imperialization.

The continuity between the Mission: Impossible flicks also develop his arc more, and that Cruise is the only actor to play him also further humanizes him, whereas Bond is more of an icon than a character.

As with any action picture, the staging of the set-pieces is imperative, and, in Fallout, the choreography is balletic.

Cruise prides himself on performing his own stunt work, and so the spectacle on display is more ageless than an overreliance on CGI which would become dated, not if, but when. McQuarrie has earned the right to helm the next two sequels.

As much pure dumb fun as Mission: Impossible is, it may be more “dumb” than “fun” for some. Ethan’s increasingly convoluted mission reveals can be laughable, and the longer he survives his escalating stakes (such as nuclear apocalypse), the greater the suspension of disbelief.

Then again, the ridiculousness is all part of the entertainment value, and Mission: Impossible is anything but self-serious.

In fact, it is its sillier flourishes that attract its cult following, and if you “get” it, you’re in for a ride.

Andy Muschietti’s “The Flash” (2022) may be canceled

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The project was first announced in 2014 with a then release date for 2018 – team changes have repeatedly pushed it back. (Image Courtesy: Out).

Video footage surfaced earlier this week of actor Ezra Miller, star of Andy Muschietti’s ill-fated The Flash (2022), allegedly choking a woman in Iceland, according to Out. During a live stream, Lords of the Long Box reported Mikey Sutton, who is known among superhero movie aficionados as a reliable source of leaked information, posted that Warner Bros. may cancel the film as well as reboot the entire DCEU pending an investigation into the clip. After appearing in David Yates’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), Miller confirmed they will be involved in a third installment of the series.

Library of Congress streaming preserved films online for free

Even though the Library of Congress is temporarily closed to the public, they are streaming more than seven thousand videos online for free, according to The New York Times. The largest library in the world was created in 1800 by the same act of Congress that moved the federal government to Washington, D.C., with President John Adams approving a five thousand-dollar budget for books. The library also invites the public to nominate titles for the National Film Registry, which adds “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” texts annually with the help of the advisory body that is the National Film Preservation Board.

James Gandolfini wanted “The Sopranos” to be a movie before passing away in 2013

Vincent Pastore, who played Salvatore Bonpensiero on HBO’s The Sopranos (1999-2007), told The Sunday Times series star James Gandolfini wanted to adapt the show to film before he died of a heart attack at fifty-one years old on vacation in Italy, according to Metro. Pastore says showrunner David Chase ended the series ambiguously on purpose so as to open The Sopranos up for a movie. Chase describes the “genius” actor as one of the greatest of all time, Gandolfini having won three Primetime Emmy Awards as well as a Golden Globe for his performance as conflicted mob boss Tony Soprano.