The Rom-Com Icon Rebel Wilson Tried to Get To Cameo In Isn’t It Romantic

Isn’t it Romantic is one of the big releases in theaters this Valentine’s Day. The new movie is playing fairly well with critics and audiences alike, but it could have also had a rom-com icon near the end of the movie had it played its cards right. Per star Rebel Wilson, the production reached out to actress Julia Roberts about popping in for a quick cameo. She told CinemaBlend in a recent interview:

Julia Roberts is still acting these days, but she’s not using her million dollar smile quite as much, instead opting for more serious roles. Lately she’s played the mother of a young man with a facial deformity in Wonder and the mother of a drug addict in Ben Is Back.

She’s also the lead in the first season of Amazon Prime’s Homecoming, a psychological thriller about a support center helping soldiers to return to civilian life.

In short, she’s far past the years when she flirted with Hugh Grant, Richard Gere, and plenty of other handsome leading Hollywood men on the big screen. Obviously in the past, Julia Roberts took roles outside of rom-coms, but there was a specific point in her career when people identified her specifically with romantic comedies. Now, that’s not longer the case.

Although Isn’t It Romantic is the sort of romantic comedy that is self-aware and cheeky about the genre, it’s easy to see why Julia Roberts would have passed on the gig. (Just as it’s easy to see why the movie would have reached out anyway.)

Previously, Julia Roberts even revealed that she had pretty much reached the end of the line in the rom-com genre, noting that there was a time and place in her career for those sorts of movies, but that time is not now. She said,

The last rom-com she was attached to was Mother’s Day in 2016 and even that movie featured Julia Roberts as a mother and not a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. With all of this in mind, the likelihood of getting her to cameo in Isn’t It Romantic, while not hopeless, was also not high. Still, it would have been pretty cool.

Rebel Wilson stars in Isn’t It Romantic with Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect reunion alert) and Priyanka Chopra, both of whom can be seen in our exclusive interview with the cast. Take a look below.

For more exclusive content, stay tuned to CinemaBlend and be sure to catch Isn’t It Romantic in theaters this weekend.

Happy Death Day 2U Has A Bunch Of Clever Back To The Future Tributes

This feature is loaded with spoilers for Happy Death Day 2U**, so stop reading now if you haven’t yet seen the sequel.**

Happy Death Day 2U does exactly what most sequels should aspire to do: Instead of just regurgitating more of the same that audiences liked about its predecessor, it steps back and looks at the first movie through a new prism. In doing so, Happy Death Day 2U shifts from a slasher-horror exercise into a dense, twisty sci-fi/time-travel adventure that still fits the pattern established by the original.

Naturally, when a movie plays with time travel, and established timelines, it needs to pay homage to one of the greatest time-travel adventures of our generation: Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future trilogy. There are a bunch of references to the BTTF films in Christopher Landon’s Happy Death Day 2U, some blatant, and some that were less obvious. How many of these did you catch? And what ones did you see that we missed?

The BTTF conversation

Once Tree (Jessica Rothe) starts to describe the phenomenon that she might have woken up in a slightly different version of her reality, Carter (Israel Broussard) and Ryan (Phi Vu) immediately reference Back to the Future Part II. It’s a table-setting conversation, so that the audience will know that the references are coming. Yes, it’s funny that Tree admits to having never seen the BTTF films. But it also frames the plot of Happy Death Day 2U moving forward, so we can see how Tree and her friends will have to interact with the events of the first movie, and reset her timeline.

Biff’s Tree Cutting Service

At one point during the movie, Tree determines that it’s easier for her to commit suicide than it is to be stalked by the Baby Face killer. So as the time-travel team tries to run through scenarios that might close the currently open loop, Tree absorbs the science behind their trials, then kills herself in spectacular fashion to restart the day. In one such death, she dives head first into a woodchipper, and the company doing the work is Biff’s Tree Cutting Service, a nod to the bully Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) from the BTTF trilogy. Bonus Sighting: In another death in the montage, Tree skydives without a parachute .Right before she jumps, there’s a sign in the plane that says “Like A Leaf.” It’s a fantastic nod to the joke Biff always messed up, “Make like a tree and leaf.”

88 mph

Tree knows that every time she dies, she restarts the day. She remembers what happens, but no one else does. After Tree decides to stay in the current timeline and live in an existence where her mother is still with her, she learns that Carter is murdered at the hospital. Tree can’t live with that, so she drives into a Power Station in order to kill the power in the city and stop Ryan’s time machine from resetting the loop. I know. It makes more sense in the movie. But as she’s racing toward the massive power grid, the camera shows Tree’s speedometer, and you bet your ass it’s on 88 miles per hour. Let’s call that scene, “The Power of Love.”

The dorm-room poster

This one is about as obvious as the actual Back to the Future Part II conversation. But whenever Tree wakes up in the dorm room, there are visible posters on the wall behind her. They Live! is prominent, as is Repo Man. The red poster right behind her, though, is a BTTF poster I’ve never seen before, and it’s so different from the traditional one-sheet with Marty standing in front of the Delorean, looking at his watch, that you might almost miss this blatant nod.

The Alan Silvestri musical cue

Back to the Future has one of the most memorable movie scores, thanks to the genius of Alan Silvestri. Happy Death Day 2U composer Bear McCreary puts musical nods to Silvestri’s score all over his sequel, though the most obvious is the twinkly, stars-falling music that happens at the :25 second moment of the above clip.

Should I stay, or should I go?

This one is a little more obtuse than the others. But the central conceit in Christopher Landon’s Happy Death Day 2U finds Tree (Jessica Rothe) deciding between living in an alternate reality where her mother is no longer deceased, or going back to her “normal” existence, where she’s together with Carter (Israel Broussard) – and he’s no longer with the horrible Danielle (Rachel Matthews). While not a direct lift, it’s similar to the conundrum that Dr. Emmet Brown faced in the concluding chapter of the Back to the Future trilogy. Stranded in the Old West, Doc (Christopher Lloyd) meets and falls in love with Clara (Mary Steenburgen). So when Marty (Michael J. Fox arrives to “rescue” Doc, he has to make a very tough decision of whether he should stay in this world, where he’s happy, even if he knows he’ll be shot to death.

You don’t need to know much about the Back to the Future trilogy to fully enjoy Happy Death Day 2U. The movie works entirely on its own if you have as much knowledge about Robert Zemeckis’ seminal films as Tree does. Meaning, none. But you absolutely do need to watch the original Happy Death Day in order to get the most out of this sequel, as the events of the new movie intertwine beautifully with everything that you remember about the first movie. And though this sequel is a total genre switch from slasher to time-travel thriller, they work together in continuity.

Writer/director Christopher Landon told our own Eric Eisenberg that he does have an idea in place for a third chapter in this story. And our own Mike Reyes wrote about how the mid-credits sequence in Happy Death Day 2U shows where a third chapter might be going, if in fact enough people turn out to support this movie, and warrant the greenlighting of Part Three. Are you going to check out Happy Death Day 2U? Or did you go already, and spot more BTTF references that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below.

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War Machine’s Armor May Be Getting A Major Upgrade For Avengers: Endgame

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently on a precipice, with just a few months left before Phase Three concludes with Avengers: Endgame. Moviegoers have waited a year to find out what happened after Infinity War, where Josh Brolin’s Thanos succeeded in accruing the Infinity Stones and wiping out half the galaxy with the snap of his big purple finger. Fans and the surviving heroes were left mouth agape as the MCU was changed forever, and countless character turned to dust before our eyes.

The original Avengers were somehow spared from The Snap, alongside characters like Nebula, Rocket, and War Machine. The latter will once again be played by Don Cheadle, and is briefly seen during the first trailers for Endgame. Now it looks like War Machine may be getting his own Hulkbuster armor, as shown in leaked images of Endgame‘s Lego sets. Check it out below.

Is anybody else geeking out right now? With Tony Stark currently stranded in space, it looks like Rhodes is going to get a major upgrade to his tech, and take on a massive Hulkbuster suit previously worn by both Tony and Bruce Banner.

The good guys lost a great number of heroes during Thanos’ finger snap of death (aka The Decimation), so the surviving Avengers are going to need all the help they can get in order to fight the Mad Titan and hopefully reverse its affects. While Captain Marvel and Ant-Man will no doubt play a major role in Avengers: Endgame, it looks like War Machine has his own way to stepping up to the plate. And if the leaked Lego designs (via Reddit) are to be believed, Rhodes is getting some serious firepower in The Russo Brothers’ upcoming blockbuster.

It should be fascinating to see how each of the surviving heroes factor into the narrative of Avengers: Endgame. While Thanos believed in the snap because its victims were randomly selected, The Russo Brothers no doubt have a very specific plan for each of the characters who didn’t turn to dust before our eyes. With Tony currently stranded in space with Nebula, perhaps War Machine will step up to the plate as the primary mechanized Avenger. Although rumors also indicate that Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts will be suiting up in armor of her own.

If Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony spends most of Endgame separate from the rest of the surviving Avengers, one has to wonder how War Machine’s possible Hulkbuster armor will be constructed. It’s possible that Tony already had it made, as the genius playboy billionaire philanthropist has been planning ahead since the Battle of New York in The Avengers. Or perhaps Rhodes and Pepper will unite to craft this new armor, and give Don Cheadle’s signature Marvel character some extra firepower in the battle to come.

Alas, only time will tell how it all shake out. Marvel Studios is keeping its cards close to the chest for Endgame, with the first trailers only offering brief glimpses of the post-snap world. This includes a shot of Rhodes and Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang gearing up for an impending battle.

All will be revealed when Avengers: Endgame arrives in theaters on April 26th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Jumanji 3 Has Begun Filming, Here’s How Dwayne Johnson Celebrated

People weren’t sure what to expect when Dwayne Johnson announced a sequel to Jumanji. Many were worried the film wouldn’t live up to the memories they had of the beloved original that starred Robin Williams. However, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a massive hit so you can be sure a lot of people are looking forward to yet another sequel. That movie went into production yesterday and Dwayne Johnson celebrated the announcement on Twitter.

Dwayne Johnson wished everybody a Happy Valentine’s Day yesterday while also using the opportunity to make fans of Jumanji aware that the new movie has begun production. This movie is looking to have an incredibly fast turn around as it is currently set to hit theaters this December.

Along with the announcement comes a single image. We see a pair of hands holding the Jumanji video game cartridge from the last movie. It’s a little beat up but appears to be in one piece. Remnants of smashed electronics are visible in the case in the background.

At the end of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the four kids smashed the hell out of the Jumanji game and console in an attempt to be sure nobody ever accidentally played it again. It seems somebody has picked up the pieces.

Perhaps these hands belong to one of the kids who played the game initially, if they discover a reason they have to go back into the game world. We do know that all four teenagers who played the “real world” versions of the four game avatars will be back, making this new movie a more direct sequel to Welcome to the Jungle, than that film really was to the original Jumanji.

Alternatively, this could be some other character who has come across the game. The question then becomes if this person actually knows what they have or not.

Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, and Awkwafina have all been added to the cast of the new Jumanji, though we don’t know anything about the roles they’ll be playing.

It will be very interesting to see what Jumanji 3 does to make itself feel as fresh and unique as Welcome to the Jungle did. That movie updated the premise of the original Jumanji by turning the board game into a video game and putting the characters inside game avatars, played by Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart.

With the new movie being a direct sequel with all of the same main players, will going back into the video game world for another adventure be enough or has the new film found another way to update the premise to give new life to this new adventure? We’ll find out on December 13 when Jumanji 3, though it almost certainly will be called something else, hits theaters.

Ben Affleck Explains Why He’s Leaving Batman Behind

The DC live-action universe has had a fascinating run theaters, full of peaks and valleys. While Warner Bros. is currently surfing the massive success of Aquaman, it’s clear that the original plans for the DCEU are no longer coming to fruition. This includes Ben Affleck’s role as Batman, as the Oscar winner has officially hung up the cape and cowl for good, following the disappointing performance of Justice League and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

This news was a major bummer for DC fans, who enjoyed the hulking and jaded energy that Ben Affleck brought to his version of Bruce Wayne. But once he dropped out as a director and then star of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, thinks were looking bleak. Now Affleck has confirmed and explained his departure, saying:

Turn off the Bat signal, because Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne won’t be answering the call anytime soon. He’s officially left his superheroic role, making way for another director and actor to take the mantle and bring the Dark Knight to theaters with The Batman.

Ben Affleck’s comments come from his recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and is the first time he’s spoken about leaving his DC role at length. While it was rumored for a number of months before this confirmation, the news will no doubt be disappointing for DC fans who appreciated what he brought to the role. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice might have been critically panned, but Affleck’s performance was largely considered the saving point of the movie. He also popped up briefly in Suicide Squad, before taking on a larger role in Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon’s Justice League. But after all three of those movies were poorly reviewed, it seems that Affleck was ready to say goodbye to the bat.

Fans were eager to see what Ben Affleck would as the director of a Batman solo flick, considering his long tenure as a filmmaker. But it appears that he simply couldn’t figure out the right story to bring to the silver screen, which is why he ultimately stepped down and made room for Matt Reeves. And while he was originally going to star in the developing project, it was recently revealed that Reeves is bringing another actor in to play a younger version of Bruce Wayne for the noir-inspired blockbuster.

While Batman fans may be walking around with Sad Affleck faces, hope isn’t lost for the character in the DC Universe. Matt Reeves seems to be moving forward with the development of The Batman, and Gotham City’s finest will be a major focus with projects like Birds of Prey and Joker. Now we’ll just have to see who ends up replacing Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight.

The next installment in the DC Universe will be Shazam! on April 5, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

How Alita: Battle Angel Brought Its Crazy Motorball Sequence To Life

Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel is a very faithful adaptation of its beloved source material, but it does make one notable change. Borrowing an element that isn’t introduced in the manga until closer to the middle of the series, the film introduces audiences to the violent sport known as motorball: a deadly, dangerous game played by cyborgs at high speeds.

It’s an interesting addition not only from a visual effects perspective, but also in the movie’s storytelling – and I felt compelled to ask about it when I interviewed Robert Rodriguez, star Rosa Salazar, and producer Jon Landau during the movie’s domestic press day in Los Angeles earlier this month.

Sitting down with the trio in a recreation of one of the sets from the movie, my first question was about the introduction of motorball to Alita: Battle Angel and the challenges of bring it to life – and Robert Rodriguez opened by saying that there was a mix of positives and negatives within the execution. In the case of the former, for example, the film doesn’t actually feature any full scenes of the sport being played, so that took a bit of narrative weight off their shoulders and allowed the production to have a bit more fun with it:

It wasn’t in the two books that [James Cameron] was adapting into the script, but he pulled it out of book three and four. He said, ‘I think fans of the manga would be really upset if they got an Alita movie and there’s no motorball. And he found a really cool way to use it where they’re not even playing the game; they’re all just trying to kill her – which I thought was awesome because then it’s more character driven.

Writing the script, James Cameron handed Robert Rodriguez a pretty handy shortcut that avoided a sequence dedicated to explaining the rules of motorball… but that was just one item taken off of a still very full plate. Just because there was no need for an exposition dump (one that notably didn’t actually exist in the manga either) didn’t mean that the filmmakers didn’t have to still figure out the mechanics of the sport, and that process created its own special issues.

As an example, the director explained how even figuring out how fast the characters needed to go was a process with hurdles. While the Alita: Battle Angel source material did provide some guidance, the practicalities of filmmaking required a few alterations in the physics department, which then themselves required further alterations in other areas. Rodriguez explained,

I did a bunch of speed tests really early on, just with some animatics in Austin, trying to figure out how fast they really needed to be going so that it would feel fast – because it was always described as being like a 100 mph. Which, you know, when you put it on a track, because the track doesn’t have a lot of discernible visuals, it just didn’t seem fast enough. So it’s more like 400 mph just to get it, and that means right away we’re out of track, so we had to just keep elongating the track. There’s a lot of cheats in there to get the feeling, this breathless feeling of the track.

Of course, just because Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron didn’t fully outline the rules of motorball in the making of Alita: Battle Angel doesn’t mean that they’ve cast the task aside permanently. While the making of this movie didn’t make that job a requirement, Rodriguez added that it’s something that would certainly be done for a sequel:

Because the story point was just that they were trying to kill her. We can just throw that out the door and go, ‘Okay. As long as it feels like there’s some sport being played, we don’t really have to figure it out in this movie. We will eventually!

As for the performance perspective, the majority of the professional motorball sequence is primarily brought to life with pure visual effects – but that doesn’t mean that Rosa Salazar was totally sidelined for the experience. Obviously she wasn’t strapped to any kind of machine that would whip her around at 400 mph, but there were particular parts in the making where her talents were required.

Speaking to her work on the motorball scene, Rosa Salazar noted that the work was a bit more fractured, but could highlight the moments her involvement (primarily involving close-ups and dialogue) – with Robert Rodriguez chiming in to add an extra detail.

Rosa Salazar: Here’s the thing – there were specific moments during all of those motorball battles that we actually shot separately. When he’s trying to push my head into the ground and I break… a couple of different moments. Obviously right before I bust through the glass at the starting line, ‘Take it easy on me, guys.’ Taking off. All of those things were shot.

Robert Rodriguez: We had a start line where all of them were together and she could actually interact with everybody. Even though all their bodies were going to be replaced, we still had to photograph all of their faces.

You can watch Robert Rodriguez and Rosa Salazar discuss the process of bringing the motorball sequence to life by clicking play on the video below:

If you’re now totally pumped to see this insane action on the big screen, the good news is that you can do it right now. Alita: Battle Angel – which has Rosa Salazar joined by an outstanding cast including Jennifer Connelly, Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, and more – is now playing in theaters everywhere. We’ll have plenty more about the film coming your way in the next few days as it fights its box office competition during the Valentine’s Day weekend, and be on the lookout for more behind the scenes stories.

For more of what’s coming to a theater near you in the weeks and months ahead, be sure to check out our 2019 Release Calendar.

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Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man Is Filming Sooner Than Expected

For a while it very much looked like Universal Pictures had a clear idea what it wanted to do with the company’s classic lineup of monsters, but things didn’t exactly wind up going as planned. The Dark Universe was an ambitious approach, however it was stopped dead in its tracks by the failure of a single film: Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy. Despite all of the planning the studio did, and nice deal of A-list casting – including Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man – the entire thing fell apart surprisingly quickly.

As a result of these developments, we were again left wondering what the future would eventually hold for this collection of cinematic icons, and in late January we learned an interesting update. Notable horror studio Blumhouse announced they were moving forward with their own version of The Invisible Man, with writer/director Leigh Whannell at the helm. And while the report suggested it as a project still in early development, I recently had the chance to speak with producer Jason Blum about how the whole thing came together, and he confirmed a start for later in 2019:

It came about very organically because Leigh had a spectacular idea. And so when he had this idea we talked to the studio about it, and I would say the idea kind of fits squarely into the tenants of Blumhouse. It’s really character-based, it’s story-based. It doesn’t rely a ton on stunts and visual effects, and I love it. We’re going to shoot it this year, and I can’t wait for people to see it.

The latest title from Blumhouse, Happy Death Day 2U, is now playing in theaters, and earlier this month I hopped on the phone with Jason Blum to not only talk about the new film, but also the many projects that are currently in the works at Blumhouse. At one point I steered the discussion towards the recent announcement about The Invisible Man, and learned not only about its origins, but the production schedule plans.

When news about this new take on the classic science-fiction story was announced, it was said that it was unclear if it would actually be the next Universal Monsters feature to go in front of cameras. Given Jason Blum’s comments, however, one can pretty much assume at this point that will be the case.

First adapted by director James Whale back in 1933, The Invisible Man was originally a late 19th century H.G. Wells novella about a scientist named Griffin who discovers a chemical process to turn himself completely invisible. Unfortunately, one of the side effects is also total madness, eventually leading Griffin on a horrific crime spree, and the authorities challenged with facing off against a criminal they can’t see.

Surely there will at least be some effects work at play in Leigh Whannell’s new vision, as it will have to sell the audience of the protagonist’s invisibility, but a more character and story-based interpretation of the story sounds fantastic. The Invisible Man is a pretty straight-forward premise that lends itself to new and interesting narrative choices, and based on Jason Blum’s comments, it sounds like Whannell has discovered something novel.

This will probably be of little surprise to those who have been following Leigh Whannell’s recent work – especially his most recent directorial effort, Upgrade. He’s always been a talented writer, as seen through his many collaborations with James Wan, but his Blumhouse action film from last year is next level. The cinematography and editing featured – particularly in fight sequences – is brilliant, bonkers, and unique, and the thought of him taking a similar visually stylistic approach to The Invisible Man generates extreme cinematic anticipation.

Johnny Depp will definitely not be starring in Leigh Whannell’s film, which means that the role of Griffin is seemingly up for grabs – and even though it isn’t exactly a “face” part, one can imagine a lot of talented individuals in the industry going after the project. Given the scheduling plans, it would not be at all surprising if we were to learn the identity of the star in the coming weeks and months.

The Invisible Man doesn’t currently have a target release date, but it sounds like it is coming together fast – so be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for all of the latest updates. And for a fantastic dose of new Blumhouse awesomeness that you can see in theaters right now, go check out Happy Death Day 2U, which is playing nationwide.

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The Humans In The LEGO Movie Franchise Are Way Better Than Those In Toy Story

Warning: SPOILERS for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part are ahead!

The Toy Story movies and LEGO movies have a lot of common, mainly that they revolve around child playthings that come to life and go on crazy adventures. And naturally, these playthings are owned by humans, but when looking at these movies through these toys’ owners, that’s where a big difference is noticeable. Because while the main human characters in the Toy Story movies are primarily on the sidelines and usually come out of these storiesunchanged, the main human characters in the LEGO movies are actually important to the story, as well as grow and develop. In that regard, that makes the latter franchise more interesting than the former.

Just to be clear, I’m only talking about the main LEGO movies with the particular topic. No humans appeared in The LEGO Batman Movie, and The LEGO Ninjago Movie only used that kid and the old man as bookends to the main narrative. The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, on the other hand, used humans within the main stories, although that wasn’t immediately clear in the first movie. It wasn’t until approximately three-fourths into The LEGO Movie that we learned that Emmet Brickowski and the gang’s adventure was coming from the imagination of a young boy named Finn, who’s been playing with his father’s LEGO collection, but is chastised by his dad, a.k.a. “The Man Upstairs,” for “ruining” the playlets and ignoring the instructions.

Okay, maybe the LEGO events aren’t entirely fictional given that Emmet eventually became aware of Finn’s existence and the real world (and this becomes an even more curious subject through Rex Dangervest in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part), but the point is that not only is The LEGO Movie an allegory about Finn’s father’s perfectionism and how LEGOs should be played with, but by the end of the movie, Finn’s father realized the error of his ways, unglued the LEGO sets and allowed his son to play with the toys as he saw fit. Lord Business’ redemption and the LEGO characters succeeding represented Finn and Finn Sr. (whatever his name is) improving their relationship.

Thankfully, this human element was retained for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, which built off the Duplo LEGO characters owned by Finn’s sister invading Bricksburg at the end of The LEGO Movie. This time around, the references to the real world were more on the nose, such as Queen Watevra Wa’Nab hailing from the “Systar System” and Emmet having dreams of “Our-Mom-ageddon.” And once again, the events in the LEGO story corresponded with the events of the real world, with Finn’s sister, Bianca, trying to play with her brother, but him not having any of it, eventually resulting in a big fight and their mother stepping in and forcing them to pack up their LEGOs. Ultimately, though, the siblings reconcile and learn to play together. Once again, the humans grow and develop from their small, but important life experiences, and that translates to what happens within the LEGO-verse.

Then there are the three Toy Story movies that have come out so far, with Toy Story 4 arriving this summer. These toys definitely exist in the real world, with the playthings pretending to be lifeless whenever humans are around. There are some exceptions to this rule, like when Woody, Buzz and the mutant toys belonging to Sid scare the teenager straight in Toy Story. But for the most part, humans are oblivious to the shenanigans these toys get into, and as a result, they’re basically the same person at the start of the movie as they were at the end. As key as Andy is to the first three Toy Story movies, he’s not a major player in these tales. It was emotional watching him go off to college in Toy Story 3 and having him give his prized toys to Bonnie, but we really don’t know that much about him. We didn’t need to.

None of this is to say that the LEGO movies are better than the Toy Story movies overall. In fact, in the grand scheme of animation history, the Toy Story series is likely to held in higher esteem, from how Toy Story was the first feature-length computer animated to how Toy Story 3 raked in numerous accolades and over $1 billion worldwide. Nevertheless, because The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part opted to take a different approach with the relationship between toys and their human owners, the result is that what goes down in the LEGO-verse echoes what happens in real life, which is the point. We’re watching the way these Finn play with these toys reflect how he’s growing and changing. If The LEGO Movie 3 happens, I wouldn’t be surprised if it took a Toy Story 3-like approach and showed Finn either packing up his LEGO upon reaching adulthood or, if they wanted to go even further into the future, show him playing with his and his dad’s LEGO collection with his own child.

Toy Story, on the other hand, is about what toys are up to when humans aren’t around or watching. It’s fun to see Woody, Buzz, Hamm, Slinky Dog and the rest of the main characters navigate the real world without being caught. But consequently, the humans just aren’t fleshed out because they’re on the sidelines, which makes sense given the direction Pixar wanted to go. After all, this isn’t the Human Story film series. That being said, it would be interesting to see what would happen if a human were to actually learn that toys are living entities and fully absorb this new concept, as opposed to thinking they were hallucinating or imagining things, like Sid probably ended up doing as he got older.

In any case, the LEGO movie franchise and the Toy Story franchises are each unique in their own ways, but as far as using humans goes, LEGO has the distinct advantage. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is now playing in theaters, and Toy Story 4 will come out on June 21. Those of you interested in learning what other movies there are to look forward to this year can browse through our 2019 release schedule.

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The Pirates Of The Caribbean Reboot Just Hit A Setback

For over 15 years, the Pirates of the Caribbean has brought Disney a treasure’s trove of success, but as Disney film chief Sean Bailey said, the franchise needs a “kick in the pants.” While the studio was in talks with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to have them steer the ship of the next Pirates film, the writing team are now taking one cue from the Disneyland ride – telling no tale.

That’s right, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are no longer attached to write the planned Pirates reboot, per Deadline. Back in October, the pair were reportedly in talks to pen the project. Sean Bailey previously expressed his excitement to have them aboard detailing they would make “pirates punk rock again” and bring “energy” back to the property. Disney will now either be looking elsewhere or abandoning the project all together.

Following the release of the fifth film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, in 2017, the studio announced it would be developing a sixth installment. However, after the swashbuckling adventure flick brought the lowest numbers of the franchise, it was rumored the next film would be a “reboot” instead, and without the return of Johnny Depp’s iconic Jack Sparrow. One rumor pointed to one of the ride’s pirates, a female buccaneer named Redd, who was recently revamped in the Disneyland attraction, could lead the retelling.

The Pirates of the Caribbean movies have made a combined $4.5 billion at the box office, though earnings have slowly started to sink in recent years. Dead Men Tell No Tales undoubtedly made a lot of cash worldwide (over $794 million), though only $172 million were domestic earnings. In comparison to Dead Man’s Chest’s over $1.06 billion worldwide and $425 domestic gross, the series has certainly fallen behind.

Calling on Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick was an inspired idea. The writing team have not only penned the Deadpool films, but also Zombieland, which has a sequel on the way this October. Reese and Wernick are also attached to a Clue remake under Fox and Disney that will star Ryan Reynolds.

Without Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, the next Pirates of the Caribbean would certainly have a different feel to it. The actor is enamored in his role as Grindelwald for Harry Potter spinoff franchise Fantastic Beasts for three more films. The actor has also recently received backlash for abuse accusations from his former wife, Amber Heard.

Pirates franchise leads Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom have not showed any interest in returning to the franchise. Recent Pirates films have been dancing around their absence and shoeing in new characters each time, such as Penélope Cruz’s Angelica in Strangers Tides and the addition of Brenton Thwaites as Henry Turner in Dead Men Tell No Tales.

So if Disney is planning on continuing the Pirates movies, a reboot is not only a good call, but maybe the only call. With Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick jumping ship, it could be some time before the franchise returns.

The 10 Greatest Rap Songs Created For Movies

People may not initially tie the world of cinema and hip hop together, unless of course they’re thinking of the various hip hop icons who have transitioned into the genre as actors. Despite the disconnect, hip hop and movies have gone together for quite some time and have given some great songs to the world. No, we’re not talking about Eminem’s “Venom” or that line in the song he dedicated to getting high off the scent of elephant manure.

Instead, we’re talking about the 10 greatest rap songs that have been created for movies. Each song on this list is special in its own way and helped make the movie it was made for that much better. Listed in chronological order, here’s the breakdown of the best hip hop songs to have come from movies over the years.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II- “Ninja Rap”

There isn’t a lot to love about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze, but that Vanilla Ice cameo was pretty sweet. Those who say the rapper was a one-hit wonder clearly forgot about his rap about the green machine, who’s going to rock the town without being seen. If you’re looking for a song that perfectly encapsulates the fun and sillier side of early 90s rap, this is it.

Deep Cover- “Deep Cover”

This Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum drama was a fun ride from start to finish, and the theme song that accompanies it is an added bonus that’s been enjoyed long after the film. “Deep Cover” remains relevant in the hip hop world to this day not just because it’s a good song, but it was Dr. Dre’s solo debut and the first song from a relatively unknown rapper at the time, Snoop Dogg.

Dangerous Minds- “Gangsta’s Paradise”

Fun fact, “Gangsta’s Paradise” was originally eyed by the film Bad Boys to be its title track. Coolio told Rolling Stone Dangerous Minds offered more money, so the rights went to it. The move to Dangerous Minds wasn’t all bad, as one of the film’s producers ended up shooting the music video with Coolio and Michelle Pfeiffer. That producer was Antoine Fuqua who, as many may know, has since moved on to directing much bigger productions.

Space Jam- “Space Jam”

Quad City DJ’s were riding high in the mid-’90s, and the success of “C’mon And Ride It (The Train)” got them on Warner Bros. radar. According to Spin, the artists weren’t given any instruction beyond the song be “high octane” and mention Space Jam in the title. Suffice to say, the crew delivered in spades. Lemonhead later admitted he never saw the movie in theaters, making it the one film they contributed to he missed.

Men In Black- “Men In Black”

Will Smith has done many songs over his career for things he’s appeared in, and while “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air,” may be his finest work, this is a close second. The song was Smith’s first single that didn’t include DJ Jazzy Jeff, and ended up being a track he included on his solo album Big Willie Style. It also has a catchy beat and easy to follow dance instructions, and who doesn’t love that?

Bulworth- “Ghetto Supastar”

How many album covers of singles feature Warren Beatty in urbanwear next to Pras Michel in a three-piece suit? Just one, and what a glorious picture it is for a weird film like Bulworth. The song was featured on the film’s soundtrack, and has become a classic arguably more noteworthy today than the film. Perhaps if Bulworth had won one of its three Oscar nominations it was up for that year, it would’ve been a different story.

He Got Game- “He Got Game”

This is perhaps the best film and hip hop combo on the list, as Spike Lee’s basketball drama mixed with Public Enemy over a sample of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” is something special. It’s all elevated by phenomenal performances by Denzel Washington and former NBA superstar Ray Allen. In fact, it wouldn’t be crazy to argue that Allen delivered the best on-screen performance of any NBA star prior and since then.

8 Mile- “Lose Yourself”

Even if his Venom track may be lackluster, there’s no denying that Eminem has contributed one of the most popular rap songs and best rap films of all time. “Lose Yourself” is viewed as one of the rapper’s greatest songs, and it pairs wonderfully with the movie loosely based on his time as an up and coming MC in Detroit. Also, some respect is due to the first hip hop song to ever get an Oscar.

Hustle & Flow- “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp”

Eminem might’ve had the first rap song to be given an Oscar, but Three 6 Mafia managed to top him with one better. Their song “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” for Hustle & Flow also got the award, and was the first hip hop song to have ever been performed during the ceremony. Considering the other great songs that are on this list, that’s kind of hard to believe.

Suicide Squad- “Purple Lamborghini”

One may not immediately remember Suicide Squad has a rap theme song, mainly because there’s so much music in it to begin with. Rick Ross’ song can be heard during the club scene, where Jared Leto’s twisted and only briefly seen Joker is hanging out in the club. The song also got a music video, which will give fans of this film some additional scenes with Leto’s Joker they may have felt robbed of.

Readers with songs they loved that they felt should’ve been included in the list can feel free to sound off in the comments. After all there’s a surprising amount of songs beyond this list, many of which just barely missed the mark for appearing. For more on music in films, read up on James Wan’s reasoning for including a Pitbull song in the midst of Aquaman.

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