Avengers: Infinity War Almost Had Captain America And Sharon Carter Living Together

Warning: SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame ahead!

When we reunite with Captain America in Avengers: Infinity War, we get the impression that he and fellow fugitive Black Widow have been conducting clandestine missions on their own outside of the law. Cap and Nat enter the film right in the middle of the action though, so we never really get clear answers on what they’ve been up to other than that or their living situation in the two years since Captain America: Civil War.

The assumption is that they have either been living on the run or basing themselves out of Wakanda. However, according to screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, Infinity War almost had Captain America and Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter living together. The Marvel scribes said:

In an effort to address all the lingering plot threads in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the heroes’ various romantic entanglements, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely initially had Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers living with Sharon Carter in Avengers: Infinity War, as they told Yahoo Entertainment. This setup would have continued the relationship between the two characters that started in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

But despite the function it would have served, addressing a lingering plot thread and providing some background for what Cap was up to and where he has been in the two years since Civil War, this part of the script got the axe. Elsewhere in the interview, the screenwriters said that anything that didn’t really propel the plot forward of the fast-paced film had to go. As they’ve said in the past, there simply wasn’t time for “previously on the life of Steve Rogers.”

What exactly the reason that led Kevin Feige to hilariously wonder ‘what the hell’ they were doing by having Cap and Sharon live together is unclear. Although I expect, if having Cap and Sharon live together was part of a romance between the characters, I’m not sure many people would have loved the idea of having the two in a troubled relationship. Nobody wants to see Cap be a bad boyfriend.

If Sharon Carter was included though, and she and Steve were on the rocks, her potentially dying in the Snap would have affected him in a major way. Beyond just being one more person Cap lost that meant something to him, it would have had an extra sting because it would have made their domestic struggles seem insignificant.

The great niece of Peggy Carter was introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent living undercover as Steve’s neighbor and spying on him for Nick Fury. She eventually helped Cap fight Hydra and then joined the CIA. In Captain America: Civil War, Sharon Carter helped Steve, Bucky and Sam when they were on the run, getting them their equipment back, including Cap’s shield.

After this assist, Captain America and Sharon Carter share their first kiss. Therefore it wouldn’t have been out of left field to see these two in an actual relationship and living together. Of course, with the government presumably after them both at that point, it would make sense for their relationship to be a little strained.

We haven’t seen Sharon Carter since Captain America: Civil War and it would have been nice to get some closure on her relationship with Steve Rogers, but Avengers: Infinity War didn’t need it and turned out great without it. You can still include Steven and Sharon living together in your head-canon if you want, but given how he goes back to Peggy at the end of Avengers: Endgame, it’s probably best to forget their brief tryst.

Just because she and Steve never got to live a blissful domestic life together on the big screen doesn’t mean that we’ve seen the last of Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter in the MCU. The actress is in talks to reprise her role for the Falcon & Winter Soldier mini-series on Disney+ alongside Daniel Brühl’s Zemo.

What is Disney Movie Rewards? How Does It Work?

Fake Disney DVDs from Zootopia

Whether you’re buying Blu-ray discs or going to the theater, movies can be an expensive form of entertainment. It would be nice to be able to get something a little more out of it. Luckily, if you’re a Disney fan (and let’s be honest, who isn’t a fan of something from Disney these days), there is a way to get a little something more out of your movie experience through Disney Movie Rewards.

But what is Disney Movie Rewards and how does it work? It it worthwhile to get an account? Below you’ll find answers to all your Disney Movie Rewards Questions.

Judy Hobby and Nick Wild at the DMV in Zootopia

What is Disney Movie Rewards?

Disney Movie Rewards is essentially a loyalty program. It’s not that different from the programs you might use at your local supermarket or coffee shop. While those might get you a free latte now and then after you buy several of your own, Disney Movie Rewards does the same thing for movies. Purchase Disney films on Blu-ray or buy tickets to see them in the theater and you’ll earn points.

Then, you take those points and redeem them for Disney-related stuff. You can turn right around and buy more Blu-rays or movie tickets, or you can buy Disney stuff like t-shirts, Disney gift cards or even a tour of the Walt Disney Studios, though I’ll tell you, you have to buy a lot of Blu-Rays to earn that one.

How Do I Get My Disney Movie Rewards?

The first thing to do is set up an account on the Disney Movie Rewards website. It doesn’t cost anything, which means it doesn’t require even giving up a credit card number. All you need to do is create a username with an email address and then make a password.

Once you have the account, you can start accruing points. The main way to ear Disney Movie Rewards is by buying stuff. If you purchase a Disney Blu-Ray or DVD that has a Disney Movie Rewards logo on the outside, inside the case, you’ll find a piece of paper with a code on it. Simply input the number on the Disney Movie Rewards home page and you’ll get your points. Points vary on discs between around 50 and 200 points, depending on what version of a disc you buy.

Getting points for buying movie tickets is a bit more involved. In that case, you’ll need to make sure you keep your ticket stub and be sure it actually says the name of the Disney movie in question. Select the movie you saw on the Disney Movie Rewards site and you’ll be given a unique ID number. Write that number on your ticket, then take a picture of the ticket and upload the photo to the Disney Movie rewards website. Tickets are usually good for about 75 points.

Another thing to keep in mind is that points can only be earned on tickets for movies currently in theaters, so you don’t want to stock up on your tickets and try to redeem them all at once. Be sure to get your points as soon as you can so you don’t miss your window.

However, there is an easier way to get your ticket purchases added to your Disney Movie Rewards account. Disney Movie Rewards allows you to link your Rewards account to Atom Tickets, Fandango VIP and the Regal Crown Club. This means that if you buy tickets to a Disney movie through one of these online sites, your points will be automatically added to your Disney Movie Rewards account.

The other purchasable item that earns you points is Disney music. Many Disney movie soundtracks, as well as the popular collectible, vinyl “picture discs,” are good for 100 points or more.

Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi

How Do I Use My Disney Movie Rewards?

Once you have enough points to redeem them for something you want, simply go to the Disney Movie Rewards website, log in and select the item. If it’s an item that requires physical shipping, like a movie poster or DVD, you have the choice of paying for shipping and handling separately, or using additional points to cover the cost, so you really can get something for no additional cost to you.

Do Disney Movie Reward Points Expire?

Disney Movie Reward points only expire if your Disney Movie Rewards account sees no activity for 365 consecutive days. This means as long as you add points to your account or redeem points for something once a year, your points won’t go anywhere. With the frequency with which Disney releases new movies in theaters and on Blu-ray, odds are you’ll be spending money on at least one a year.

One nice way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to log in and take the Disney Challenge. This is a brief Disney trivia quiz that won’t take you more than a minute to complete. Doing so will earn you all of five points (unless you’re really good, in that case you can get bonuses), but those five points will keep your account active for another year.

Rapunzel and Flynn on a boat in Tangled

Do I Need To Cancel Disney Movie Rewards?

There isn’t really much need to cancel your account. You can certainly do so, but Disney Movie Rewards doesn’t cost anything, so even if you decide to stop using it, you can just ignore it and let it go.

Can I Get Disney Movie Rewards Points For Digital Movies?

At this point, purchases of Disney movies through digital storefronts cannot be used to earn Disney Movie Rewards points, although based on the Disney Movie Reward FAQ, it sounds like the implementation of such a thing could happen, so keep checking back.

Genie in Aladdin

Is Disney Movie Rewards Worth It?

Disney Movie Rewards doesn’t cost you anything beyond the money you were probably going to be spending on Disney movies anyway, but does that mean it’s obviously something you should do?

Most of the rewards are some pretty simple stuff like movie posters and t-shirts, and if they end up having something you want, that’s great. However, little of seems like “must have” merch. Still, is there a better cost than free?

A Blu-ray disc goes for something like 700-800 points, and if you receive 150 points for buying one, you end up getting a movie free for every five you buy, which is a pretty decent ratio so if you’re building a serious Disney movie collection, it’s worth incorporating Disney Movie Rewards into that plan. This goes double if you join the Disney Movie Club, as most of those movies will earn you points alongside your obligation to the club.

Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for all the latest and greatest news concerning Disney. The company’s latest movie, the live action Aladdin remake, hits theaters this Friday, May 24.

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The Best Romantic Comedies To Watch On A First Date

Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon - The Big Sick

It’s date night and what better plan for a date night than romantic comedies? After all, you want things to go as perfectly as possible, particularly given it’s not merely any ordinary date night; it’s your first date. If things go south, there might not be a second chance. So you need the best romantic comedies that will set the mood. Something that will make you laugh, maybe even cry and hopefully propel a future relationship. Or, at least, a chance at a second date. In short, if you want the perfect date, you need the perfect movie. But what exactly are you gonna watch?

There are so many romantic comedies out there, hundreds of them, honestly. Your selections are vast and plentiful. Yet, you don’t want to settle for something average… or worse. You want a darn good romantic comedy film. No, you want a great one.

We’re here to help. Here are just a few great romantic movies to watch on your first date. Because we can’t guarantee things will work out between you two, but we can assure you that these movies are worth your while. Pop them in — or, more likely, find them on your favorite streaming service — and let the romance sing. Thank us later.

Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook

David O. Russell’s exhilarating, enrapturing romantic dramedy Silver Linings Playbook is one of the few recent rom-coms that made its way into critics’ top ten lists and heavy Oscar consideration. As well it should, too. The romantic comedy, which made Bradley Cooper a dramatic heavyweight and earned Jennifer Lawrence her first (and, to date, only) Oscar, is a firecracker of a movie. How the sparks do fly! Centered around former teacher Pat (Cooper), who has just been released from a mental institution after an incident, is living with his parents and trying to reconnect with his ex-wife. That presents several challenges, of course. And a few more come into play when Pat meets Tiffany (Lawrence), who begins to change Pat’s perspective on life.

Somewhat loosely based on the Matthew Quick’s debut novel of the same name, which is also well worth a read if you find the time, Silver Linings Playbook is a film that deals with the difficulties of life in a high-turmoil fashion that relates to the character’s point of view. Through the excellent performances, wonderfully grounded character work and the magnificent direction of David O. Russell, it results in a  captivating and stimulating romantic comedy that you certainly don’t want to miss. Here’s your silver lining indeed.

Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke - Before Sunrise

Before Sunrise

In Richard Linklater’s delightfully quaint Before Sunrise, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy find themselves in a meet-cute that lasts throughout the entirety of the film’s length. As two young starry-eyed dreamers traveling through Europe with big ideas in mind for their future and idealism in their hearts, they begin to form a casual friendship that is explosively charismatic to everyone but them. As they walk and talk through their European destination, however, it even becomes apparent to them that love is in bloom.

Few movies capture the wondrous feeling of falling in love quite as honestly and realistically as Before Sunrise. Through the magnetic chemistry of our leads, the fantastically thoughtful dialogue they’re give and the casual confidence of the director-screenwriter Richard Linklater, Before Sunrise has gone one to be one of the most beloved romantic comedies of the ’90s, and it spawned a trilogy of films reconnecting these two characters every nine or ten years. In fact, this series has aged like fine wine. You can save those two for future date nights, however. They’re well worth it.

Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan - When Harry Met Sally...

When Harry Met Sally…

Particularly for folks who like their romantic comedies a little more mature and lovelorn, When Harry Met Sally… is a golden ticket for any date night. The film centers around two characters who begin to fall in love with each other throughout 12 years of casual encounters, and it’s the type of rom-com that doesn’t like to play by expected rules. It uses witty banter from the late, great screenwriter Nora Ephron to not only spice things up but to give the film its emotional heft, and it relies on the evolving-yet-also-instantaneous chemistry between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan to make this one of the best romantic comedies for a date night.

In my opinion, at least, director Rob Reiner has typically (or, at least, often) been at his best inside the romantic comedy genre (as I’ll explain in more detail later). And When Harry Met Sally… remains one of his best movies. More than that, it’s one of the best romantic comedies of the 20th century, producing a number of timeless quotes and winning romance to make any date night the perfect occasion to be introduced to this beloved cinematic couple. Feel free to meet these characters yourself when you bring them into your next date night.

Cary Elwes, Robin Wright - The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

You can never go wrong with another of Rob Reiner’s classics, The Princess Bride. It’s a fantasy film that has been quoted more times than the Bible — at least by some pop culture aficionados — and it certainly has a warm place in many people’s hearts. There’s a good reason this romantic comedy has resonated. It’s a film that doesn’t fit into any neat boxes, and it’s a film that can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages and fans of nearly all genres. It’s got action, comedy, drama and swashbuckling extravaganzas in addition to the romance, but it is first-and-foremost a love story. And a very sweeping one at that.

Robin Wright and Cary Elwes share fantastic chemistry together in this love story fable, sharing a delicate-yet-adventurous romance that is easy to enjoy and even easier to be swept by. The work of a filmmaker on a Hollywood hot streak and the type of cinematic fable that unfortunately only comes one in a generation, if that, The Princess Bride is certainly one that’s easy to enjoy with your date, whether it’s your first or 400th. That’s far from inconceivable.

Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck - Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday

It’s hard to go wrong with Audrey Hepburn. The actress has appeared in no shortage of classic titles, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina, Funny Face, My Fair Lady, Charade and Best Picture winner, The Apartment, to only name a few. But when it comes to her early days of cinema, you would be hard-pressed to find many cinematic romances better than the one Hepburn shared with Gregory Peck in 1953’s Roman Holiday.

The romantic comedy that paved the way for many more after it, this trendsetter of a romantic comedy has everything: laughs, drama, European backdrops and more. It’s a lovely, gorgeous little movie, and the romance between the two leads is downright infectious. (Obviously, quite charming too.) Ultimately, when it comes to Roman Holiday, Aubrey Hepburn may quickly help you to fall in love with the idea of your own holiday away.

Nick Robinson - Love, Simon

Love, Simon

In Greg Berlanti’s tender, affectionate LGBTQ teen drama, Love, Simon, Nick Robinson plays the title character, a teenager who keeps his homosexuality identity a secret from his friends and family. Based on the YA novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, the film paints a well-realized protagonist who is gradually learning to accept himself and be true to himself. Particularly as he forms a pen pal e-mail correspondence with another closeted gay man in his class known only to Simon as “Blue.”

A compassionate and caring movie that provides as many laughs as it does sweeping drama moments, it’s a film that allows you to go through several different feelings all throughout the course of nearly two hours. Particularly as the central romance comes into fruition towards the film’s final moments. While this movie might work best for younger audiences, Love, Simon should win over hearts of all ages.

Zoe Kazan, Kumail Ninjani - The Big Sick

The Big Sick

Real-life couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon turned their turbulent off-screen romance into a romantic comedy for the ages in The Big Sick. Directed by Michael Showalter and written by Nanjiani and Gordon, the film stars Nanjiani as a fictionalized version of himself, while Zoe Kazan plays Emily. As the story unfolds, struggling comedian Kumail and graduate student Emily meet cute over the course of several weeks, only to be met with a strain in their relationship when Emily contracts a mysterious illness which puts her in a coma and her life potentially on the line.

Since the writers of the film have gone on to make the film a reality, we know that it’s going to work out for them throughout the course of the film. Nevertheless, as Kumail interacts with Emily’s parents, played wonderfully by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, and the comedian begins to find himself in spite of his family expectations, you find yourself with a beautifully realized, gorgeously human tale of life, romance and identity that plays a lot of the expected romantic comedy beats while still finding a new way to make it all feel real. The result is one of the best romantic comedies of the ’10s.

Of course, these are only a few options made available to you. There are several other selections to be found, and there’s always a chance that these movies won’t float your boat. Because hey, not every movie will work for everyone. Nevertheless, if you are in a pinch and you want a date movie that will (hopefully) set the night off on a right note, you can certainly do worse than the movies listed here. Here’s hoping it works out!

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Brightburn Reviews Are In, Here’s What The Critics Think

Jackson A. Dunn in Brightburn

The last several years have been good to superhero movies and horror movies, as those genres have delivered many cinematic offerings that have been met with critical and/or commercial success. This weekend, the two genres are being merged together for Brightburn, the twisted, R-rated story during by David Yarovesky and produced by James Gunn that shows what would happen if a Superman-like figure became a force for evil, using superpowers like super strength, flight and heat vision to wreak havoc on humanity.

With Brightburn only days away from release, reviews for the movie have started coming in, and it looks like it’s fallen into mixed territory, with some appreciating the story and others being underwhelmed by it. CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg gave Brightburn 4 out of 5 stars in his review, saying that it’s not filled with “big, complex contemplations,” but nonetheless succeeds in delivering a number of “fantastic shudder/scream-inducing sequences” and boasting a great cast.

Brightburn is ultimately a fine example of high-concept storytelling: taking an easily digestible idea, and exploring it to its full potential in compelling and entertaining fashion.

io9’s Germain Lussier wasn’t as kind towards Brightburn, writing in his review that although he would have watched a sequel right after Brightburn concluded, overall it’s a “poorly told story.” While Brightburn works within the horror genre structure in how it shows the young Brandon Beyer giving in to his dark impulses and some of the later payoffs and reveals are “satisfying,” the movie as a whole suffered from poor execution, which Lussier speculates might have been fixed had James Gunn directed.

Alas, Brightburn is a competent movie crafted out of incredible ideas. It’s gross, interesting, scary, and has fascinating mythology, all of which would be so much better if nearly all of it wasn’t delivered in such an obtuse way. Still, this is a story worth telling with characters we’d love to see again. Maybe next time, though, with a bit more care taken as to how the story is presented.

Back on the more positive end of the spectrum, Witney Seibold from IGN awarded Brightburn a 7.1 out of 10 score. Seibold noted that many of us have similarly deconstructed Superman, which might make the movie feel “weirdly familiar,” and that rather than providing dark commentary on how power corrupts, Brightburn plays out like a standard slasher, making for a “perfectly entertaining” experience.

… A wickedly fun little horror flick with enough gore and superhero lore to keep fans of both satisfied.

Conversely, The Wrap’s Robert Abele was disappointed by Brightburn, saying that its idea of showing an evil Superman isn’t enough to sustain an entire movie and will not please “either horror aficionados or even a caped-crusader fandom hungry for variations on the theme.” The main character is unremarkable and there’s little weight to the actions his parents take when trying to stop his rampage.

But while we can perhaps be grateful that the superficiality of “Brightburn” probably kept it from opting to exploit elements of disturbed-kid narratives that have been all too common in our more tragic news stories, what remains is still never terribly entertaining as either popcorn or a bent take on superhero myths.

Chris Evangelista from Slashfilm was more receptive towards Brightburn, stamping a 7.5 out of 10 score on it and calling it a “bleak, brutal subversion of the Superman mythos” that works. As mentioned earlier, this isn’t a story where redemption is on the table, and Evangelista notes that there a “nihilistic streak” that reminded him of the Rob Zombie Halloween remake. While Elizabeth Banks’ part is “disappointingly underwritten,” it’s David Yarovesky’s direction that keeps Brightburn “flying high.”

Nasty is indeed the name of the game here – Brightburn is cold and unflinching, fully committed to unsettling its audience. It’s the type of movie that will make you thank your lucky stars that superheroes don’t really exist.

The AV Club’s Jesse Hassenger was among those underwhelmed by Brightburn, giving it a C- grade. In Hassenger’s opinion, the movie doesn’t have a “modicum of wit or insight on its human side,” resulting in Brandon’s parents being terribly predictable, and Brandon himself fails to be interesting. Ultimately, Hassenger saw Brightburn primarily as a dunk on Zack Snyder’s depiction of Superman in the DC Extended Universe.

For such a specific, clever-on-paper idea, Brightburn follows a shockingly predictable turn of events, possibly because it has few reference points beyond other pop-culture stories.

Finally, William Bibbiani from Bloody Disgusting bestowed Brightburn a 3.5 out of 5 score, calling it a “exceedingly clever genre mash-up,” albeit a gross one, both literally and figuratively. The movie also doesn’t feel quite “genuine,” and it’s Brandon’s parents that infuse a sense of humanity in the proceedings, but Bibbiani concludes that after watching Brightburn, you’ll be left wanting more, signifying franchise potential.

The film is, in the end, mostly just an ambitious slasher movie about a monster modeled loosely on Superman, and on that level it’s certainly a success. David Yarovesky makes an impressive impression with a film that walks a fine line between wry pop culture commentary and genuine terror, the cast is great and – perhaps most important of all – it leaves you wanting more. Much more. Sequels and sequels after sequels.

These are just some of the reviews out for Brightburn, so feel free to venture into other corners of the internet find out what other critics are saying. Overall, it sounds like Brightburn won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but there are at least a scattering of moments for comic book and/or horror fans to enjoy.

Brightburn’s main cast includes Jackson A. Dunn, Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Matt Jones, Meredith Hagner, Steve Agee and Becky Wahlstrom. The movie is already playing in various territories worldwide, but it’ll have some competition this weekend in the form of Disney’s live action Aladdin remake and the Olivia Wilde-directed Booksmart.

You can judge Brightburn for yourself starting this Friday, May 24, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more coverage on the movie. In the meantime, you can plan your visits to the theater for the rest of the year accordingly by checking out our 2019 release schedule.

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An Update On Daniel Craig’s Bond 25 Injury

It’s been a long and difficult road getting Bond 25 to the big screen, and earlier this month, it was dealt another blow when it was reported that Daniel Craig suffered an injury during filming in Jamaica. Apparently the actor slipped while running, resulting in an ankle injury that caused the production to be temporarily suspended. Now there is an official update on the status of Daniel Craig and Bond 25. Check it out:

Daniel Craig’s ankle injury will unfortunately require surgery to repair, but the fact that it is minor surgery at least indicates that the injury is perhaps not as bad as it initially appeared or could have been. It sounds like he will be back on his feet pretty quickly too, with only two weeks of physical rehabilitation after he undergoes the surgery.

Following the initial report of Daniel Craig’s injury, we heard that production on Bond 25 would be only be briefly suspended, and that seems to be the case. According to the official James Bond Twitter account, production on Bond 25 will continue while Daniel Craig is rehabilitating. That might not have been possible had Daniel Craig’s injury been more severe and required a longer recovery time.

Fortunately, similar to what happened with Tom Cruise’s injury on Mission: Impossible – Fallout, work will still be done on Bond 25 while Daniel Craig recovers. So despite the previous delays and the potentially catastrophic consequences of a Daniel Craig injury, Bond 25 is still on track to meet its April 2020 release date.

Supposedly Daniel Craig was filming a scene where he was running when he slipped and fell in an awkward way that resulted in an extremely painful injury. This isn’t the first injury Daniel Craig has suffered as a part of his time as 007, as his tenure as the spy has been plagued with injuries from the start.

From losing teeth on Casino Royale to losing the tip of his finger and tearing a muscle on Quantum of Solace to injuring his knee on Spectre to his latest ankle injury on Bond 25, it is no wonder that Daniel Craig has on occasion been quite hyperbolic in describing his reticence to return to the franchise. Are you sure you want the role, Richard Madden?

Daniel Craig’s injury isn’t the only problem Bond 25 has faced, as the sequel to 2015’s Spectre has been beset by all manner of problems. Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle left the film over the oft-cited creative differences, and he was replaced by True Detective Season 1 and Beasts of No Nation director Cary Joji Fukunaga.

The script for the film has also went through different writers with a lingering question of if it is even ready now. Oh, for the days when just getting Daniel Craig to return to the role seemed like the biggest impediment to Bond 25.

Despite the slings and arrows it has faced, this latest news is encouraging that Daniel Craig will be okay and that Bond 25 will proceed as scheduled and meet its release date.

The as-yet-unnamed Bond 25 is set to open on April 8, 2020. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all of this year’s biggest movies.

How The Aladdin Live Action, Animated And Broadway Versions Compare To Each Other

Will Smith as the Genie in Aladdin

The following contains some minor SPOILERS for the new remake of Aladdin**.**

Aladdin was a smash hit when it was released by Disney in 1992. It contained one of the greatest animated voice performances ever by Robin Williams, it had an incredible collection of memorable songs and it had a story that combined great action, comedy and romance. It’s no wonder that Aladdin is now getting the live-action remake treatment from Disney in the same way that other successful Disney films have.

Of course, the new theatrical remake isn’t actually the first time the story of Aladdin has been re-told. After Robin Williams, but before Will Smith, Aladdin was adopted for the Broadway stage. How do these three different versions of Aladdin compare to each other, and which is the best version of Aladdin? Let’s break them all down and find out.

Guards dancing in animated aladdin

The Similarities

The Story: First and foremost, the main thing that ties the three versions of Aladdin together is the story. If you’ve seen one version of Aladdin, then you basically know where the story is going when you sit down to watch another version. Aladdin is a homeless thief. He meets a disguised Jasmine in the marketplace and falls for her. He is tricked by Jafar to go after the magic lamp. Aladdin frees the Genie and becomes a prince… etc… etc…

The characters: The majority of the characters are basically the same. Aladdin is still the dreamer who wishes for more in his life. Jasmine still wants to be free to make her own decisions. The Sultan is mostly clueless, and Jafar is just cartoonishly evil, even in the versions that aren’t actually cartoons.

The music: You’ll also find that most of the music is the same, while both the stage and live action film version have additional music that has been added, they also contain all of the songs from the original animated film soundtrack, if not every version of those songs.

What makes these iterations of Aladdin stand out, however, is what they do differently.

The peddler in animated Aladdin

The Differences

The story: While the general structure of the plot is essentially identical across the three versions, there are a few nuanced differences. The animated film and the new live-action one create a framing device which sets up the idea of a character telling us the story of Aladdin. The Broadway show just gives us a basic introduction by the Genie which is implied to be non-diegetic.

While both the animated film and the Broadway show have two major marketplace scenes, the “One Jump Ahead” song and the meeting with Jasmine, the new live action movie combines these into one. Also, in the new movie, instead of being imprisoned after being discovered with the princess, Aladdin breaks into the palace to see Jasmine again and gets nabbed then.

In the animated film, Jafar convinces Aladdin to help him while in disguise, which means he doesn’t know Jafar is dangerous when he meets the real vizier later on. In both the Broadway play and the new film, Aladdin knows he’s working for Jafar the whole time, which puts him (somewhat) on guard later.

The live-action film also contains a significant new scene where Aladdin, in his Prince Ali disguise, tries to woo Jasmine at a party, which helps build the relationship of the two.

While both animated and live-action films have Aladdin using his second wish to avoid drowning. On Broadway, Aladdin is simply thrown in prison but he uses his wish to get free.

The finale of the three stories is also significantly different. On Broadway, Jafar never wishes to make himself a powerful sorcerer (probably because it would have made the show really expensive). Instead, he wishes to make Jasmine his prisoner and to become Sultan.

In the animated film, Aladdin ends up doing battle with Jafar, who has magically transformed himself into a giant snake. In the live-action film, our big action finale is a chase scene as Aladdin and Jasmine try to keep the lamp out of Jafar’s hands while they’re being chased by a magically-enlarged Iago.

The characters: The biggest character changes take place between the animated Aladdin and the Broadway version. While many Disney musicals have used intricate puppets to recreate the parts of animated movies that are difficult to realize on stage, Aladdin avoids this problem by eliminating and changing those characters.

Aladdin’s pet monkey Abu doesn’t make the jump to the stage. Instead, Aladdin has three friends, named Babkak, Omar and Kassim, that he pals around with who are in similar financial and living situations as he is.

Rajah the tiger also doesn’t appear on stage. In his place, Jasmine has three handmaiden characters that she give her somebody to play off of.

Jafar’s pet Iago does slightly better. The character exists, but rather than being a parrot, Iago is a man. He’s just a basic henchman.

The new live-action film uses the realistic CGI that Disney has had such success with to bring Abu and Rajah back. Iago is also a parrot again, though while he does speak, he sounds more like the way a parrot would naturally speak, rather than speaking fully coherent English as he does in the animated film.

Jasmine does, however, still have a single handmaiden character in the new film. The character of Dahlia is much more involved in the story than any of the similar characters from Broadway.

Jasmine herself sees the most interesting evolution across the three versions. She’s mostly a bystander character in the animated movie. Her desire for freedom and to make her own choices are given more time to breathe on Broadway. It’s actually the new movie where the character is fully realized as a much more independent woman.

Jafar is largely identical on Broadway and the animated film. The live-action movie gives the character a little bit of backstory and motivation not present in the other two iterations. He only attempts to actually marry Jasmine in the animated version.

The biggest, and likely most important character change, however, is, of course, the Genie. The animated film gave us a manic Robin Williams. The character makes a host of modern pop culture references and breaks into one impression after another. Will Smith’s Genie in the new Aladdin is essentially, The Fresh Prince of Agrabah, the actor/rapper’s own persona amplified.

While the Robin Williams and Will Smith Genie’s are obviously different in execution, they’re largely the same in result. On Broadway, however, the Genie is quite different. This one is never blue in color. He actually tends to look a lot like Will Smith’s Genie when he’s disguised as human, one way the Broadway show likely influenced the new movie.

The Broadway Genie’s humor is also less pop culture focused. Of course, what modern jokes there are have the potential to change as the stage show is continuously performed, similarly to the way the Aladdin stage show at Disney’s California Adventure was handled, if you’ve ever seen that. You can get a taste of what the stage Genie is like in the clip below.

The music: Using the animated original as our baseline, all the music from that movie makes the jump to Broadway essentially unchanged. Several new songs are also added. “Proud of Your Boy” is actually a song originally written for the animated film that was cut, which has Aladdin singing to his dead mother about his desire to make her proud, a motivation missing from the other versions. Aladdin’s friends have a pair of songs they sing with Aladdin. One precedes Aladdin meeting Jasmine, the other as part of Aladdin getting himself free of the dungeon.

Jafar gets his own full song “Diamond in the Rough” on Broadway. In the live-action film, Jafar’s reprise of the “Prince Ali” song gets cut, so the villain never gets a chance to sing at all.

On Broadway, Jasmine sings about her desire to be free with her handmaidens in the song “These Palace Walls.” In the new live-action movie Jasmine sings “Speechless” about her desire to be able to speak her mind.

Aladdin and the lamp

The Quality

Animated Aladdin: It’s difficult to say much against the original version of the story. By virtue of being the first, it’s the one that is the most creative since it started with nothing. The music is great and Robin Williams just is that great. If there’s a downside to the performance, it’s that some of the pop culture references probably don’t work as well today as they did in 1992. Does anybody remember who Arsenio Hall was?

Broadway Aladdin: The Broadway version is a tough one to judge because the show evolves over time. The show you see in one town isn’t necessarily the same you get a year later in another place. Having said that, none of the additional music from Broadway is going to replace anything from the original soundtrack as your favorite song. Some of the show’s action, like chase scenes, suffer due to the limited space of the stage, and the finale is incredibly rushed. At the same time, the Genie is having a lot of fun on that stage, and that fun can be incredibly infectious.

Live action Aladdin: Will Smith does a good job making the role of the Genie his own, though the CGI on him isn’t perfect. All of the classic music is given a bit of an update, so while they’re still songs you know, they’re not identical, meaning you may want to actually listen to them now and then. The one new song, “Speechless,” is a valiant attempt at a strong anthem for Jasmine, but the song itself feels shoehorned in. Jasmine as a character, however, is at her best in this version.

So Which Is Best?

Each of the three versions have unique things about them which make them each worth seeing, but in the end, both Broadway and the new live-action movie are just trying to reinvent the wheel. Both Broadway and the live-action film basically rely on your love of the original. The nostalgia is a necessary element of both, which the original never needed.

You can judge the live action Aladdin movie for yourself once it hits theaters this Friday, May 24.

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Quentin Tarantino Compares Once Upon A Time In Hollywood To Pulp Fiction

If you ask many film fans, or even many laypersons, what their favorite Quentin Tarantino movie is, there’s a good chance they’ll say Pulp Fiction. The auteur’s 1994 tale of the intersecting lives of criminals in Los Angeles is his calling card and the film in his oeuvre that is the most firmly engrained in pop culture. Speaking about how his 9th film, the Los Angeles-set Once Upon a Time in Hollywood compares to Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino said:

Long before we saw the first trailer for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the film was being described as Pulp Fiction-esque and Quentin Tarantino affirmed the comparisons in his recent interview with Esquire. While all of Quentin Tarantino’s films bear certain hallmarks of the director’s style, his new film will be the closest thing he has done to Pulp Fiction, a tease that is sure to delight fans of that movie.

What this comparison should mean in practice, beyond the similarity of both films being set in Los Angeles, is that like Pulp Fiction, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will be an ensemble film with multiple characters. Some of those characters are based on real people and others are born entirely from Tarantino’s imagination.

Like Pulp Fiction, these vignettes of the character’s individual stories in 1969 Los Angeles are seemingly disparate until the characters and their stories collide in unexpected and consequential ways. We don’t know how this will come about yet in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but it brings to mind Jules and Vincent eating breakfast at the diner Honey Bunny and Pumpkin rob or Butch catching Vincent unawares while on the toilet.

This quality definitely adds a bit of excitement and tension to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, because while we are watching the film we will wonder what the overarching story is and what the circumstances are that will bring characters together. The answer to that must be pretty wild and exciting considering how Quentin Tarantino has requested that nobody spoil the film in their reviews.

In addition to the Pulp Fiction comparison, Quentin Tarantino also calls Once Upon a Time in Hollywood his most personal film, comparing it to what Roma was for Alfonso Cuarón. Roma depicted the Mexico City of Alfonso Cuarón’s childhood and the film itself was semi-autobiographical.

While Once Upon a Time in Hollywood isn’t autobiographical in quite that way (presumably six-year-old Quentin Tarantino never had a run-in with the Manson family) the film is depicting the Los Angeles the director grew up in. The Los Angeles of Quentin Tarantino’s youth shaped him and meant a lot to him and thus his new film is reflective of that, acting as a love letter to the city and that time period.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiered at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday and the early reactions are quite positive, as you might expect. Coinciding with the world premiere, a new trailer was released for the film and even in those brief 2+ minutes that love for Los Angeles comes through.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens in theaters on July 26. Check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of that and all of this summer’s biggest movies.

Yes, Zachary Levi Prefers DC To Marvel, Thank You Very Much

What started off as the MCU dominating the on-screen superhero sphere and DC playing catch up has switched up n recent years. Warner Bros has made a good case for the potential of its own universe with entries such as Wonder Woman, Aquaman and most recently with the success of Shazam!.

Zachary Levi, who played the titular hero, is one of the few actors who has played comic book characters in both the Marvel and DC film worlds. Naturally, fans are curious how working under the two mantles compare. When Levi took questions at a panel at MegaCon in Orlando, here’s what he said:

This isn’t a huge surprise. The actor was given an entire hero to call his own in the DC Extended Universe. For Marvel, he revealed that he was cast to play Fandral in the first Thor movie, but was unavailable. As a result, Josh Dallas took on the role for the 2011 film and Levi took over for Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok. Although he seems to have loved his character in the Thor franchise as well, it didn’t live up to its potential. He continued with these words:

Fandral and the Warriors Three may have been a common thread in the Thor trilogy, but they continued to be on the sidelines as the films went on and didn’t get much screen time. Levi previously expressed interest for the Thor sidekicks to get a spinoff of their own, but they were killed off in Ragnarok. After The Dark World struggled to impress Marvel fans, Levi’s Fandral didn’t even get a line in Ragnarok. His last words (or any lines for that matter) were cut from the film.

Zachary Levi even admitted his relief that Fandral didn’t make it out alive for Avengers: Infinity War, because it may not have freed his schedule for Shazam!. He said he likely would have been a sitting duck on set for three months only to be killed off then too.

When you ask Zachary Levi to compare his experiences with the two comic book franchises, his answer isn’t tough to predict or understand. His time with Marvel may have been a bit of a letdown, but it was redeemed in a big way when he took on the role of the adult Billy Batson. His Shazam! role allowed him to really show off his acting chops and play a kid in a superhero’s body. He was far from disappointed by the product since the movie was met with positive responses from critics and fans.

There really is no comparison for the actor given his experiences. That said, he has spoken out to fans in the past to stop pitting the two franchises against one another when Captain Marvel and Shazam! were being placed side by side at the box office and since the two heroes once shared the same title.

Why pick a side anyway? Both the comic book universes are offering something different for fans and can be appreciated in their own lights as they both continue to stack its slates with exciting releases.

Christopher Nolan’s New Movie Tenet Is Putting Together A Fantastic Cast

Christopher Nolan is a filmmaker who, even at his most generous, loves to keep the public in the dark about what he’s working on until the last possible moment. His latest film, slated for release next summer, is certainly no exception, as it has just recently unveiled its title, Tenet, on this the first day of shooting. Plot details are also sparse, as the recently provided description of “North By Northwest meets Inception” was dismissed as quickly as it had arrived, though the “world of international espionage” has now been thrown out as the setting of the film’s story.

With such a diverse and dangerous setting comes a cast of impressive actors taking on the task of working with Nolan himself. So fresh off the back of Tenet getting a title, and a few new members to its’ cast, now is a good time to run down the line and see who’s on board for this would be blockbuster of summer 2020! We’ll start with Mr. Robert Pattinson himself!

Life Robert Pattinson sitting in a theater, watching a movie

Robert Pattinson

Initial reports have mentioned that Christopher Nolan’s latest film is to have two male leads, with a female lead around the same age range. Robert Pattinson is the most recently cast male out of the two, with his credits of late being represented in the sci-fi drama High Life, and the western/comedy Damsel. His casting in Tenet seemed sure to set off the rumor mill, as Pattinson’s name has been come up as the all but confirmed as a successor to Ben Affleck in the role of Batman. Which makes Robert Pattinson’s collaboration with the director of the still highly regarded Dark Knight Trilogy practically kismet.

BlacKkKlansman John David Washington checks a note on a Post It at his desk

John David Washington

The first lead cast in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, John David Washington will be adding this sought after role on top of a year that’s brought him a lot of notice. His role in the HBO series Ballers saw its fourth year of action in 2018, with his lead role in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman netting him several prestigious award nominations in that very same year. Washington’s recent credits also include Monsters and Men, as well as The Old Man and The Gun.

Widows Elizabeth Debicki examining a gun in her hands

Elizabeth Debicki

Also part of the previously known cast for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is none other than rising star Elizabeth Debicki. 2018 was also good for Debicki, as Steve McQueen’s Widows saw her impressing the hell out of critics and fans alike, as one of the titular stars alongside Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Cynthia Erivo. Previously, Debicki was seen in franchise sequels The Cloverfield Paradox and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, as well as the Guy Ritchie feature film adaptation of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Welcome Back Dimple Kapadia posing in the poster art

Dimple Kapadia

Primarily known for her work in the Indian film world, actor Dimple Kapadia has been added to the cast of Tenet in the film’s most recent run up to production. Kapadia has been a fixture since the 1980’s, most recently starring in Welcome Back, alongside fellow Indian actor/crossover star Anil Kapoor. Tenet marks Dimple Kapadia’s first Hollywood film.

Outlaw King Aaron Taylor-Johnson kneeling with a sword held in front of him

Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Best known for his roles as both Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the lead in Mark Millar’s comic adaptation Kick-Ass, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is another one of Tenet’s latest additions to the cast. Most recently seen in Netflix’s Outlaw King, Taylor-Johnson will also be seen in the Kingsman: The Great Game, which will see the famed spy organization’s origins in the 1900’s.

Genius: Picasso Clemence Poesy smiling in the sunlight

Clémence Poésy

If you’re struggling to remember where you’ve seen Clémence Poésy before, we’ll go ahead and tell you that you most likely recognize her from her role of Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter film franchise. You may even remember her from films like In Bruges and 127 Hours. But lately, this Tenet star has been seen in TV shows like National Geographic’s Genius: Picasso, where she played French icon Françoise Gilot, as well as the British/French TV procedural, The Tunnel.

King Of Thieves Michael Caine looking dour on the streets of London

Michael Caine

Known quite well as the lucky charm to Christopher Nolan, as well as an actor of great distinction and honor, Michael Caine makes his return to appearing on camera for Nolan with Tenet. Previously, Caine made an uncredited cameo as the voice of Fortis Leader, guiding Tom Hardy and his air squadron in Dunkirk. Caine’s notable credits in the cast range from classics like Alfie and The Italian Job to more recent films like Now You See Me 2.

Dunkirk Kenneth Branagh looks up at the incoming air attack from the docks

Kenneth Branagh

In what looks like his addition to the Christopher Nolan repertory company, Kenneth Branagh is the last and latest addition to the Tenet cast. Much like Michael Caine, Branagh was also part of the massive cast that made Nolan’s Dunkirk come to life. More recently, Branagh starred and directed in the Shakespeare biopic All Is Well, and has Artemis Foul ready to go for release next summer through Disney.

As the cast for Tenet continues to form up, and more details besides those provided previously are made known, we’ll update this list to reflect the new changes. But until then, know that this newly titled Christopher Nolan event film will be released in conventional and IMAX theaters on July 17, 2020. So, it’s probably best you find some movies throughout the rest of 2019’s release schedule to pass the time in-between.

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New DVD Releases March 2019: All The Latest Movies And TV Shows

Although the summer months are geared toward plenty of outdoor activities, kids are also home from school and have plenty of free time. Which means there’s plenty of time for kids to plant themselves in front of a screen. Sure, there’s always YouTube and Netflix, but for the latest releases, look no further than this June list of titles.

This summer, we’ll see some big hits like Captain Marvel and Us finally being available in homes (the former will also be housed on Disney+). But don’t take it from me, check out the full list of the titles coming to DVD, Digital and Blu-ray below.

Early Digital releases are mentioned in the early Digital column; same day Digital releases come out when the DVD and Blu-rays do. As for DVD release, if you’re looking for May titles head here. In addition,

New DVD Releases June 4, 2019

Available currently for pre-order, this week will feature some indie hits, as well as Tyler Perry finally saying goodbye to Madea, a character that helped him to become a household name.

New DVD Releases June 11, 2019

A big new Marvel release is usually something to celebrate, and this week will be no exception, as Marvel’s first titular female superheroine will be getting her own DVD release with Captain Marvel! In addition, there are quite a few fun TV releases out this week.

Early Digital Releases Week of June 11, 2019

High Life
The Aftermath
Hotel Mumbai

New DVD Releases June 18, 2019

Following a successful run at the box office, Jordan Peele’s latest horror flick Us is making its way onto DVD and Blu-ray this week. It’s one of several high profile releases coming out, although some fared better at the box office than others. Take a look.

Wonder Park
The Beach Bum
Hotel Mumbai
Will & Grace (The Revival) Season Two
Patrick Melrose
Killing Eve: Season Two
Suits: The Complete Season 8
Slaughterhouse Rulez
Lords of Chaos

New DVD Releases June 25, 2019

So far, there are fewer new releases this week than I’ve seen in some time. Of these, the highest profile release is probably The Aftermath, a period drama starring Kiera Knightley. When Knightley was doing press for the movie, she revealed why she’s not longer excited about doing nude scenes.

The Aftermath
The Hummingbird Project