Johnny Depp

Film Fanatic: ‘Avatar 2’ Removed From Release Date, Johnny Depp Returns to Crime


Film Fanatic


‘Avatar 2’ Removed From Release Date

By the time Avatar 2 finally hits theaters, it will have been at least eight years since the original was released in December 2009. You would think that would be enough time for director James Cameron to release a sequel. Apparently it isn’t because 20th Century Fox has officially pulled Avatar 2 from its December 2017 release date and no new release date has been announced.

There are two ways to look at this news: One, Cameron is one of only a handful of directors in Hollywood who can take as much time as he wants to make a movie so Fox could just be giving him all the time in the world to lock down his new trilogy of films. He has made the two most successful movies financially in the history of cinema (Titanic, Avatar) so he certainly has some slack on the rope.

James Cameron -
James Cameron on the set of ‘Avatar.’ | (

The second way to look at this and probably the correct one is that another giant movie recently announced their presence with authority by buying real estate space in December 2017. Just a few days ago in fact, Disney officially pushed Star Wars: Episode VIII from its original May 2017 release date to December 15th, 2017. Coincidence, I think not.

Avatar is the biggest franchise Fox owns and with Disney all but officially staking claim to the month of December for the foreseeable future, Fox probably decided it was in their best interest to move the film to another release date. When exactly is hard to say. Summer would be an obvious choice, but perhaps they would release it a month early in November 2017 to get ahead of the Star Wars crowd.

At the time of its release, Avatar was one of those “event” films you had to see on the big screen regardless of how good it was. It was also the beginning of the 3D explosion and Avatar remains to this day the best 3D movie ever released because it was actually filmed with 3D cameras. Now nearly every blockbuster is post-converted into 3D, but the average movie-goer doesn’t know the difference. After nearly a decade between films, will Avatar 2 get lost in the 3D shuffle? Probably not. It will be a massive success, but not quite as big as the original. But now it can stay away from Star Wars which is probably what every studio is thinking about with their respective franchises.


Christopher McQuarrie Brought in to “Save” ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ Script

Speaking of Star Wars news, this story might concern some fans of the upcoming Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

According to Birth.Movies.Death, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie has been brought in to quote “save” the project. If you look up “save” in the dictionary, the first thing it says is, “to preserve from danger.”  Yikes! Save is a strong word but then again, what major motion picture doesn’t go through countless rewrites? The Force Awakens went through at least three writers and that film turned out great.

Director Christopher McQuarrie on the set of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation from Paramount Pictures and SKydance Productions.
Christopher McQuarrie on the set of ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ | (Paramount Pictures)

Gary Whitta was the original screenwriter of the Gareth Edwards-directed Rogue One, but he eventually moved on to another project. Chris Weitz was then brought on before McQuarrie’s arrival. The overall structure of the story is apparently strong so perhaps McQuarrie’s involvement is for minor touch ups.

But fear not Star Wars fan because McQuarrie has sort of become the screenwriting safety net. He was brought in to “actually save” the third act of World War Z and he had a hand in Edge of Tomorrow. He also recently wrote and directed the highly enjoyable and successful Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. It turned out so well, he’s returning for M:I 6 marking the first time that a director will be returning to make another Mission: Impossible.

Rogue One is a heist film following a group of rebels working to steal plans to the Death Star. The film stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker and Diego Luna. The film will be released on December 16th.


Johnny Depp in Talks to Star with Tom Hanks in Crime Thriller ‘Triple Frontier’

The slow process of rehabilitating Johhny Depp’s movie star career began with the good but not great Black Mass late last year. It was a welcomed change of pace for the actor who had starred in a number of dreadful movies ranging from downright boring (The Tourist, Transcendence) to goofy and over the top (Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger, Mortdecai) and his acting in them reflected how dismal they were.

Black Mass was a return to dramatic acting for Depp and while the film didn’t earn Depp an Oscar nomination, it at least reminded us all that he still has that kind of range. I mean, how many actors can play both an eccentric pirate and a ruthless real-life crime boss?

Depp loved working on the film and it appears he may be returning to the world of crime. According to Variety, Depp is in early talks to star with Tom Hanks in the drama Triple Frontier. The title refers to the border zone Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, which is a haven for organized crime.

Johnny Depp -Warner Bros.
Johnny Depp was hopefully pondering his future acting gigs in this scene. | (Warner Bros.)

The film has endured a long road to making it to the big screen. The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty collaborators Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal planned to re-team for the crime thriller way back in 2009. But Bigelow’s reported $80 million budget demand was turned down by the studio because she wouldn’t cast Will Smith in the lead.

Bigelow eventually left the project and J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year, All is Lost) has been hired to take over directing duties. Boal’s script is still in play and now both Hanks and Depp could be working together for the first time.

But it’s going to be awhile before we see Depp in a project like this as his next two major films will be more sequels (Alice Through the Looking Glass, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales). So I guess we’ll have to endure a couple more retreads before Depp gives another original and hopefully good performance.


Review: ‘Rango’


♣♣♣♣    out of    ♣♣♣♣♣

Let’s talk 3-D for a minute. Right now 3-D is everywhere. Walk into a Best Buy, what’s the “hype” all about (besides iPad2)? You guessed it… 3-D. I picked up a new game for the PS3 yesterday, and what do you know? It’s 3-D ready (if you have thousands of dollars for a 3-DTV). I haven’t seen this big a push since HDTV… but 3-D is no HD. We all literally JUST upgraded to flatscreens! We just managed to get our wives/girlfriends’ eyes adjusted to high def so that they recoil in horror at the sight of standard definition! Now TV companies are just being GREEDY. I remember seeing 1080p for the first time and it took me back to the 4th grade when I got my first pair of glasses… Thinking how “this is how we’re supposed to see things on TV.” There is no benefit to 3-D like with High Def… When I ponied up the cash to go see Avatar 3-D, I will admit that I was totally impressed. Avatar’s 3-D is amazing, hands down. Being filmed in 3-D with the new technology made it one of the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, but sadly, no one has recaptured that (until Avatar 2 I’m sure). The past year and half has brought us more 3-D movies than I ever remember from the last time they tried to sell it too us… and all of them have been sub-standard, dark, and make your head hurt.

Rango on the other hand, is presented in beautiful and glorious 2-D. The animation is of the caliber when you can’t tell if it’s stop-motion puppets or CGI. There are moments in Rango where I honestly thought I was looking at a real desert, a real town, the movie’s computer generated world is on par with anything coming out of Pixar… a feat not easy to accomplish. It tells the story of a lonely chameleon named Rango, who’s world is literally shattered one day on the side of a desert highway. He ends up in the small western town of Dirt, and unwittingly becomes the new sheriff.

“Voiced” by Johnny Depp, Rango is a blend of Depps. Take one part Captain Jack Sparrow,  one part Raoul Duke, mix them together with a healthy dose of Mad Hatter and you’ve got one funny little spazoid-chameleon. His mannerisms and dialog alone were enough to have me giggling, but the hairy situations Rango finds himself in were laugh-out-loud funny. We took our 10 year old daughter and our 4 year old son, my daughter was glued to the screen– my 4 year old started to fidget halfway through and had to be talked through it a little… but he loved it in the end. The plot is simple, remember Blazing Saddles? Yeah, except instead of a railroad, it’s water. The town of Dirt has none, and it’s up to the new sheriff to help solve the mystery of the disappearing h2o.

Other actors like Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy, Ned Beatty, Ray Winstone and Timothy Olyphant all lend hands to make this homage to the classic western. While it is mainly aimed at a 5-15 age group, parents will love the old movie references, innuendos, Blazing Saddles jokes, and even a cameo by the two convertible-driving madmen from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (bats included).  The movie certainly pushes the boundaries of PG, with all of the animals in the “old west” touting guns, drinking, and spitting… a lot… but it never takes it’s eye off the kid-friendly prize. Some parents might feel it a tad inappropriate when Rango asks his headless Barbie friend if “they are real?” I heard my 10 year old daughter laugh, but I wonder at what…?

All in all Rango sits comfortably at 8.5 on a scale of 1 (All Dogs Go to Heaven 2) to 10 (Wall-E). If your kids are yanking at your shirt to go see it, do yourself a favor and take them. Rango is rated PG for rude humor, language, action and smoking.

RANGO – ‎1hr 47min‎ – ‎Rated PG‎ – ‎Animation/Action/Adventure‎
Regal Valley River Center Stadium 15 – 500 Valley River Center, Eugene, OR
11:35am 12:05 2:00 2:30 4:35 5:05 7:10 7:40 9:50 10:20pm
Cinemark 17 – Springfield OR – 2900 Gateway Street, Springfield, OR – Map
11:25am 12:45 2:05 3:25 4:45 6:05 7:25 8:45 10:05pm

New Releases in theaters for Friday 3/4


EUGENE– Oscars hangover anyone? Well if you haven’t seen all of the award winning films from last Sunday, especially The King’s Speech, then you’ve still got another week at local theaters. The Fighter, True Grit, and Black Swan are all excellent movies, and are still playing. Opening this weekend, however, is another wave of bigger movies… ah the oncoming tide of summer.

Rango movieFirst up we’ve got the charmer Rango, voiced by Johnny Depp. Rango is brought to us by the makers of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and looks like all the fun an animated chameleon can have in the wild west. It follows the adventures of Rango, a city-slicker chameleon who winds up in the western town of Dirt… that just so happens to need a sheriff. Rango is NOT in 3D, thank the stars. I’ve seen the preview a few times, and my kids are dying to see it. This is one that I’ll be glad to take them too. Rango is rated PG for rude humor, language, action and smoking.

Second out is the Matt Damon thriller The Adjustment Bureau. Damon plays an up and coming politician who takes on the agents of fate in order to meet Emily Blunt. The two flee across New York City and try to outsmart the Bureau, an FBI-type force that corrects fate when things go wrong. It sounds like an intriguing plot, and it looks like a smartly made movie. For anyone wanting action and romance, The Adjustment Bureau is rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image.

Next up we’ve got the comedy Take Me Home Tonight, yes named after the hit song from the 80s. The movie takes place late in that same decade and follows Topher Grace (from That 70s Show) as he graduates MIT, gets sickened by the greed and materialism of the 1980s, and quits his high-paying job to work in a video store. The movie centers around a Labor Day Weekend party where the sensitive male lead follows his dream girl around… Like a John Cusak movie. Take Me Home Tonight is rated R for language, sexual content and drug use.

Last up is the teen drama Beastly. Think Beauty and the Beast meets Twilight… which is weird because we’re also getting a Little Red Riding Hood meets Twilight… I’ll be glad when this Twilight things is over. Anyway, Beastly is brought to you by CBS Films and is rated PG-13 for language including crude comments, brief violence and some thematic material.