John Malkovich to Play Harvey Weinstein-Like ‘Depraved’ Mogul in New David Mamet Play in London (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Pulitzer-winning playwright David Mamet has a new play titled “Bitter Wheat,” and he’s enlisted John Malkovich to portray a “depraved” Harvey Weinstein-like Hollywood mogul.

“Bitter Wheat” will be staged at the Garrick Theater in London’s West End from June 7 and Sept. 14, with the official opening night on June 19.

Mamet’s play is a response to the #MeToo movement and the accusations of sexual assault made against Weinstein. Malkovich will play Barney Fein, who falls from power to shame in a journey that mimics that of the epic “The Odyssey.”

Also Read: John Malkovich to Star in HBO’s ‘Young Pope’ Follow-Up Series With Jude Law

“Hollywood is a hell hole, where bloated monsters devour the young,” a teaser trailer for the play reads. “Money, sex, power. You only need one of them to see ‘Bitter Wheat.’”

Malkovich is returning to the West End stage for the first time in over 30 years. He most recently starred in the Netflix film “Bird Box.”

“Bitter Wheat” also stars Doon Mackichan and Ioanna Kimbrook, who makes her West End debut.

Also Read: David Mamet Tackles Harvey Weinstein and ‘Ungovernable Genie of Sexuality’ in New Play

Mamet first revealed he was writing a play about Weinstein back in February 2018. “I have a bunch of daughters, a young son,” he said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. “Every society has to confront the ungovernable genie of sexuality and tries various ways to deal with it and none of them work very well. There is great difficulty when you are switching modes, which we seem to be doing now. People go crazy. They start tearing each other to bits.”

Mamet also previously wrote the play “Oleanna” about sexual assault and power dynamics in the wake of Anita Hill’s accusations against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Mamet will also direct “Bitter Wheat” with a design by Christopher Oram and lighting by Neil Austin.

Watch a brief teaser for the production above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Alanis Morissette Musical ‘Jagged Little Pill’ Headed to Broadway This Fall

‘Eddie and Dave’ Theater Review: What a Drag! Van Halen Reimagined With Women as Classic Rockers

‘Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State’ Theater Review: How Not to Pick Sides in 2019

‘Bitter Wheat’ Trailer: John Malkovich Stars in David Mamet Play As Weinstein-Like “Bloated Monster”

Read on: Deadline.

John Malkovich is set to portray a Harvey Weinstein-like “depraved Hollywood mogul” in a world premiere UK production of David Mamet’s new play Bitter Wheat.
Just how close is the fictional character to Weinstein? In a trailer for the…

‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ Film Review: Jake Gyllenhaal Plays a Haunted Critic in Campy Art-World Horror Show

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sophisticated even as it mocks the pretentiousness and inflated self-importance of those who profit from creative endeavors, Dan Gilroy’s “Velvet Buzzsaw,” which premiered Sunday at Sundance Film on its way to Netflix, is a deliciously vicious satire unafraid to use campy gore to assert its commentary on commodified art.

An animated title sequence crafted to resemble moving oil paintings, perhaps a nod to what’s to come later, gives way to our first encounter with Morf Vandewalt (a fabulously wild Jake Gyllenhaal), a decisively flamboyant art critic whose opinions are weighted in gold. God-like power has been attributed to his reviews: his raves can increase the value of pieces, and he can ravage entire careers when vitriolic.

Simultaneously loathed and revered, Morf has the ear both of prominent art dealer Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo) and Gretchen (Toni Collette), an LA art curator with intentions to dabble in the market herself. Yet, the self-serving, presumably bisexual, expert only trusts Josephina (Zawe Ashton, “Nocturnal Animals”), who’s currently a receptionist at Rhodora’s firm but clearly holds higher aspirations.

Watch Video: Jake Gyllenhaal Plays a Snobby Art Critic in Horror Satire ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ First Trailer

Gilroy’s aptness for piercingly witty dialogue and morbid humor lace every one of the exchanges among these rabid purveyors and tastemakers. Morally repulsive characters also occupied his directorial debut “Nigthcrawler”; what’s changed here is the incorporation of a supernatural element not fond of these greedy antics. Reunited in service of the writer-director’s vision, Gyllenhaal and Russo reinvent themselves. This time out, his character is capable of remorse while hers stays affixed to her interests, even as appalling phenomena threaten her.

Not long into the film, uproar pierces Morf’s privileged bubble when Josephina discovers numerous pieces by an unknown artist named Vetril Dease, who died mysteriously in her apartment building. With Morf’s help, Rhodora and Josephina (now business partners) amplify the reputation of the unknown master whose paintings depict unsettling scenes of violence. Demand is high, and the entire art world apparatus is ready to make a killing.

Also Read: MSNBC, CNN Slapped With ‘Nightcrawler’ Comparisons for Raiding San Bernardino Shooters’ Home

But the more that’s unearthed regarding Dease’s past and inspirations, the higher the risk for anyone involved in his art’s commercialization of being punished by an otherworldly entity. Inventively, Gilroy utilizes exaggerated horror tropes to take to task our cynical thoughts about artistic creation. His sharp “Velvet Buzzsaw” is an exquisitely diabolical exposé on the merciless materialistic ambitions that run rampant in cultural fields.

Bearing Gilroy’s signature, the film can also be described as an amalgamation of Ruben ?-stlund’s “The Square,” the “Final Destination” series, and the Hungarian animated feature, “Ruben Brandt, Collector,” about a psychotherapist tormented by several paintings that come to life before his eyes in terrifying ways. Gyllenhaal’s Morf shares Ruben Brandt’s symptoms, since he also sees Dease’s tortured subjects menacingly jump from the canvas.

“Critiquing is limiting and emotionally draining,” says Morf, hoping that Dease will allow him to surpass the barriers of his own perception when analyzing subjective material. Though Morf’s yearning may not be fulfilled, the highly quotable lines he unleashes make of the movie a prime candidate for a cult following.

Also Read: Inside Toni Collette’s Blazing, ‘Deeply Draining’ Performance In ‘Hereditary’

In juicy supporting roles, the rest of the cast gets to rejoice in extravagant personas that nourish the over-the-top brilliance of Gilroy’s screenplay. Toni Collette exudes Edna Mode vibes and gets the biggest laughs in outrageously dark fashion. Meanwhile, Billy Magnussen as Bryson, a handyman at Rhodora’s company, cleverly upends typecasting and pigeonholing. Then there is John Malkovich as a depressed veteran artist seeking redemption, and Daveed Diggs as an emerging voice not willing to sell out. Lastly, Natalia Dyer as young employee Coco, who works for literally everyone else in the film at one point or another, is a scene-stealer that connects with audiences in the way Lil Rel Howery did in “Get Out.”

“Velvet Buzzsaw” is as lavishly produced as one would expect a film set in this ravishingly expensive underworld to be. Production designer Jim Bissell (“Surburbicon”) deserves special recognition for the fantastic recreation of spaces, the paintings at the center of the ghost-story plot, and other contraptions like the Sphere, a metal ball with multiple holes for the user to insert his arm and experience a variety of sensations — sometimes painful ones. Bissell presented cinematographer Robert Elswit (another “Nightcrawler” alum) with a colorful domain to capture, and their partnership results in a sublimely shot pastiche of which Morf himself would approve.

Negative reviews eventually haunt Morf into self-destruction, and whether or not this is a cautionary tale for critics, reviewing a film about the act of observing, interpreting, and grading almost feels like winking back at Gilroy for pushing us to do so in the first place.



Related stories from TheWrap:

John Cena to Star in Jason Bateman Directed Film at Netflix

Here’s Everything Coming to and Leaving Netflix in February

Netflix’s ‘Queer Eye’ to Head to Japan

‘High Flying Bird’ Film Review: Steven Soderbergh Shoots and Scores With NBA Drama

‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ Film Review: Zac Efron Chillingly Captures Ted Bundy’s Killer Charm

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” the stridently descriptive and wordy title for Joe Berlinger’s narrative feature about Ted Bundy, could have been more conveniently used to refer to Lars von Trier’s “The House That Jack Built.” That ghastly picture from the Danish auteur revels in the grotesque and sadistic exploits of a serial murderer, as the monster intellectualizes his crimes and is outspoken about his desire to kill.

“Extremely Wicked” takes a completely opposite approach to engaging with the actions of its own hazardous charmer. Working from Michael Werwie’s Blacklist script, Berlinger — whose career in documentary has concentrated on the perpetrators and victims of heinous crimes — adamantly refrains from displaying explicit physical violence, opting instead to dwell on the efficacy of Bundy’s manipulation tactics. To that end, “Extremely Wicked” is less a play-by-play perusal of the killer’s methods and perversions, and more an examination of our biases and unending fascination for those among us that find twisted fulfillment in brutality.

Rather than opening with a gory episode, Berlinger introduces us to law student Ted (Zac Efron) having a romantic encounter with single mom Liz Kloepfer (Lily Collins) at a Seattle bar in 1969. An instant hit with Liz’s daughter Molly, though not as much with the dog they adopt, Bundy quickly moves in with them under the premise of starting an unassuming life together.

See Photo: Zac Efron Channels Ted Bundy’s Intensity in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ Image

Not long after, and much to Liz’s disbelief, he winds up arrested in connection to a kidnapping; she’s convinced that it’s because his face looks oddly similar to the sketch of the suspect. With unnerving conviction, Ted insists that the incident a misunderstanding, that the authorities are searching for a scapegoat. Admitting guilt is not part of his ongoing systematic evasion of the truth; even when he is convicted, Ted escapes through a window and mysteriously appears near another scene of unspeakable carnage.

Efron is savagely convincing in the most psychologically-layered performance of his career. The actor’s persona as an attractive, clean-cut, straight white man groomed within the Disney machinery — further cemented by turns in bro-friendly comedies — has positioned him as the perfect choice to personify the kind of evil that festers beneath a wholesome façade, neatly packaged for self-preservation.

Harnessing good looks as deceptive camouflage to inspire trust allowed Bundy to defy the archetypal image of nefarious predators and to elude justice for as long as he did. Malevolent beauty was similarly examined in Luis Ortega’s recent Argentine drama “El Angel,” which chronicles the appalling transgressions of Carlos Robledo Puch, a teenage serial killer whose angelic face consistently got him off the hook. Both examples debunk the Social Darwinist theories of Cesare Lombroso, an Italian criminologist who claimed deviants could be identified by their unappealing physical traits and defects. Handsome individuals, he believed, weren’t genetically disposed to behave with such ruthlessness.

Also Read: Netflix Orders True Crime Series on Ted Bundy

Berlinger’s orchestration of Werwie’s text effectively operates as a mystery from Liz’s vantage point, even if anyone familiar with Bundy knows the full extent of his misdeeds. For her, the man she loves has been wrongly convicted and that injustice, for which she feels partly responsible, torments her. Though believable as a woman in a permanent state of distress, Collins is mostly captured in one-note takes of suffering. It’s not the actress’s fault that this character study only turns to her when Bundy calls from prison (to quote Henri Charrière’s “Papillon”), when investigators knock at her door, or as the televised trial — the first one in American history — entrances the country. Nevertheless, a final confrontation between Liz and Bundy both serves as cathartic resolution and grants the actress an empowering moment.

Efron’s articulate portrayal, particularly during the circus of the courtroom sequences, is astute enough to beguile viewers who don’t have a thorough background in the case. Confidently dismissive of the facts, Bundy could make you doubt the accusations against him as he acted as his own attorney. Efron nails that psychopathic superpower through reassuring gestures and a chillingly good-tempered demeanor.

See Photo: See Jim Parsons Argue With Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy in Court

By interspersing the fictionalized account with archival footage to accentuate the clues that point to what Liz refuses to accept, Berlinger counteracts some of the moments that may seem over-the-top or simply too unfeasible to be real. No killer before Bundy or since managed to get away with nearly as much; the film’s moments of madness that seem the most implausible are, in the greatest tradition of truth being stranger than fiction, the ones that actually occurred.

That non-fiction footage acts simultaneously as a palate cleanser from the often excessive use of music in an attempt to smooth out the disjointed, non-chronological editing via evocative montages. Most members of the supporting cast go nearly unnoticed in small parts that are functional for the plot but not otherwise emotionally resonant. They include Haley Joel Osment as Liz’s new boyfriend, John Malkovich as moody Judge Edward Cowart, and Jim Parsons as the prosecutor. Only Kaya Scodelario, deftly playing obsessed Bundy groupie Carole Anne Boone, transcends the material.

This is Efron’s show, with all elements gravitating towards him for better or worse. Despite the inherent flaws in Werwie’s script, “Extremely Wicked” winds up a thought-provoking piece of cinema that avoids the easy temptation of shock value in favor of a more philosophical take on a diabolical murderer.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Zac Efron Accused of ‘Cultural Appropriation’ Over Dreadlocks

Watch Zendaya, Zac Efron Accidentally Collide During ‘Greatest Showman’ Outtake (Video)

15 Buzziest Sundance Movies: From Shia LaBeouf’s ‘Honey Boy’ to ‘Leaving Neverland’ (Photos)

Sundance Market Preview: Will Netflix and New Streamers Apple and Disney+ Go on Buying Sprees?

Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy Says He’s ‘More Popular Than Disney World’ in ‘Extremely Wicked’ Trailer (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The first trailer for “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” has been released and Zac Efron is just as creepy as you would expect, playing serial killer Ted Bundy as viewed through the eyes of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer.

And Efron has certainly taken to the part, winking at cameras, putting on the charm in front of kids and playing the media for saps during his circus of a trial after he had been accused of murder.

“I’m more popular than Disney World,” Efron’s Bundy said in the trailer. “Let me get back to plotting my escape here.”

Also Read: 15 Biggest Box Office Hits to Premiere at Sundance, From ‘The Blair Witch Project’ to ‘Hereditary’ (Photos)

Also in the trailer, Bundy vehemently denies that he did anything wrong when asked by his girlfriend, but we see him attacking someone with a crowbar, wielding a butcher knife and dragging a body into the woods. Bundy eventually confessed to 30 homicides across seven states between 1974 and 1978.

Lily Collins, Kaya Scodelario, Jim Parsons and John Malkovich also star in Joe Berlinger’s film, which was written by Michael Werwie.

“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” plays at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday and is one of the hot titles on the market at this year’s festival.

Watch the first trailer above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Zac Efron Channels Ted Bundy’s Intensity in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ Image (Photo)

15 Celebrities Who Have Been Accused of ‘Cultural Appropriation,’ From Katy Perry to Zac Efron (Photos)

That Time Zac Efron and Michael Jackson Made Each Other Cry (Video)

Jake Gyllenhaal Plays a Snobby Art Critic in Horror Satire ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ First Trailer (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Most artists and critics would tell you they’d die defending their work, but they probably didn’t mean like this.

In “Velvet Buzzsaw,” Jake Gyllenhaal plays a snobby art critic in the wealthy, contemporary Los Angeles art scene who discovers a breathtaking new artist, only to discover that his paintings are alive and out to kill.

“You ever notice anything about this painting,” a character played by Daveed Diggs says in the trailer. “You look at it long enough, it moves.”

Also Read: Jake Gyllenhaal to Star in Remake of Danish Cop Thriller ‘The Guilty’

Yeah, it sounds ridiculous, but that’s the point. Dan Gilroy’s film is a horror satire, playing on how art collides with commerce in often violent ways, and in this case, not metaphorically speaking. It reunites both Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo with their writer/director on “Nightcrawler,” and it also stars Toni Collette, Daveed Diggs, Natalia Dyer, Billy Magnussen, Natalia Dyer, Zawhe Ashton, Tom Sturridge and John Malkovich.

This is Gilroy’s follow-up to “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” starring Denzel Washington, and it is just Gilroy’s third film after his debut on “Nightcrawler.”

“Velvet Buzzsaw” will make its premiere at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, and then it will debut for streaming on Netflix on Feb. 1.

Watch Gyllenhaal in the first look trailer above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

10 Movie Stars You May Not Realize Did Westerns, From Brad Pitt to Jake Gyllenhaal (Photos)

Jake Gyllenhaal, Stephen Colbert Scare Up Voters With ‘Night Before Election Day’ Skit (Video)

Jake Gyllenhaal and Benedict Cumberbatch to Star in Edward Berger’s ‘Rio’

‘The New Pope’: HBO Gives First Look At Jude Law And John Malkovich; Unveils Cast For Limited Series

Read on: Deadline.

In the name of the father, son and holy Jude Law — HBO has released the first official image of The New Pope featuring two-time Academy Award nominees Law and John Malkovich serving some fierce papacy realness. The premium cabler also announced r…

Zac Efron Channels Ted Bundy’s Intensity in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ Image (Photo)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Zac Efron shared an up-close-and-personal look at his character, serial killer Ted Bundy, in Joe Berlinger’s crime thriller “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.”

“Ready for Sundance!” Efron tweeted on Thursday, following Wednesday’s announcement that the movie would be premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

In the photo, Efron stars as Bundy, and he seems to be held up in a courtroom.

See Photo: See Jim Parsons Argue With Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy in Court

“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” follows one of America’s most notorious murderers from the perspective of his girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins), who struggled to accept the reality of her boyfriend’s nature.

The thriller is directed by “Paradise Lost” helmer Joe Berlinger and also stars John Malkovich as Edward Cowart, the judge who presided over Bundy’s trial in 1979. Haley Joel Osment, Kaya Scodelario and Jim Parsons also star.

Also Read: Jim Parsons to Star Alongside Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’

Shortly before his execution in 1989 and after more than a decade of denials, Bundy confessed to 30 homicides that he committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978. However, the true total of his victims may never be known.

See the picture below.

Ready for Sundance! #extremelywickedshockinglyevilandvile pic.twitter.com/u4ENciUST4

— Zac Efron (@ZacEfron) November 29, 2018

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Maze Runner’ Star Kaya Scodelario to Portay Ted Bundy’s Ex-Wife in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile’

Zac Efron Kills It as Ted Bundy in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ First Look (Photo)

Lily Collins to Play Ted Bundy’s Girlfriend in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’

‘The ABC Murders’: John Malkovich & Rupert Grint In BBC/Amazon Drama – First-Look

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: We’ve previously had a glimpse of John Malkovich as Hercule Poirot in BBC One/Amazon’s upcoming The ABC Murders, and today we have a new shot of the legendary sleuth alongside key cast members including Rupert Grint as Inspector …

‘Bird Box’ Film Review: Sandra Bullock Battles Her Fears in Thoughtful Thriller

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

There is no shortage of post-apocalyptic thrillers in film; audiences seem to be obsessed with watching, analyzing and thinking about when and how humanity will reach its end. “Bird Box,” the upcoming Netflix sci-fi thriller adapted from Josh Malerman’s novel, offers both an interesting take on the end of the world and riveting, emotional insights on survival, parenthood, and humanity itself.

Director Susanne Bier (“The Night Manager”) uses a very intuitive and keen style that combines the wise use of environment, as well as the innate psychology of a woman facing an uncertain journey that requires her to ultimately face her biggest fear: connection. Many will be tempted to compare it to “A Quiet Place,” and while the two share many similarities, “Bird Box” differs by building its thrills on emotion rather than playing with the quiet anticipation of the unexpected.

The film opens as Malorie (Sandra Bullock) is barking orders at two young children she calls Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair). They must head to the river nearby, get on a small riverboat quickly, and head to safety — while being blindfolded the entire time. Not exactly a nice boat ride with mom. Through a series of rapidly unfolding flashbacks, the film unveils that they are running from unidentified “creatures” that, if you look at them, will show you your deepest fears and then make you kill yourself.

Watch Video: Sandra Bullock Faces Her Worst Fears in Apocalyptic First ‘Bird Box’ Trailer

Malorie first encounters the effects of the creatures midway through her pregnancy, as she waits for her sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson) to pull up the car after an OB-GYN appointment. In rapid succession, Malorie watches in horror as people all around her find ways to kill themselves, filling the streets with chaos and danger that will remind many of the Sudden Departure scene from “The Leftovers.” She finds shelter in the home of Greg (BD Wong) home, which is filled with other terrified and bewildered survivors: Tom (Trevante Rhodes), an Iraqi war vet with a soft spot for Malorie; Charlie (Lil Rel Howery), a grocery-store employee with dreams of being a novelist; Doug (John Malkovich), an ornery and always on-guard neighbor; as well as Sheryl (Jacki Weaver), Lucy (Rosa Salazar), Felix (Colson Baker aka rapper Machine Gun Kelly). This group discovers what’s happening during the few minutes they are able to access the local news, and they discover that whatever this phenomenon is, it’s happening all over the world, and they must find a way to survive.

There is much to be said of the messages and symbolism within the film. The novel was written in 2014, but screenwriter Eric Heisserer (“Arrival”) brilliantly interweaves subtle contrasts that reflect on today’s world. His adaptation offers fleeing refugees seeking shelter (with a quick shot of the borders being ordered closed), climate change that no one can outrun, the mass amount of gun violence and more, all the while asking, How do you prepare the next generation, when you aren’t even sure you will survive the day?

Also Read: ‘Roma,’ ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ and ‘Bird Box’ to Open in Theaters Ahead of Netflix Debuts

Bullock’s performance is brilliant — she takes all these internalized fears and crafts a character who has already disconnected from emotion. Throughout the films, she challenges what “maternal” means in circumstances this dire. Does motherhood mean cuddles, rainbows, and filling a child with hope, or does it mean you raise a survivor, constantly teaching and training them, as you remain on guard, always holding them at arm’s length for fear of losing them to the ways of the world? How a mother protects her children from the world is a question every single parent contemplates, and figuring out how to raise the next generation is one of the scariest and most difficult issues we cope with every day.

For generations, the picture of motherhood has been that of a woman who connects with her child immediately, who is openly loving and soft. Motherhood today is not as simple. There are real dangers that our children face daily, simply by walking outside. There’s no new handbook to teach us how to prep our kids in case their school is taken over by a shooter, nor is there a guide on how to lead our children when we ourselves are uncertain of what the future holds. We’re all fumbling into this new parenthood blindly, hoping that we’re raising smart and strong kids while also allowing them to experience the joys of childhood, and it’s that innate understanding of parenthood that makes Bullock’s performance feel real. It’s equally fascinating and terrifying to watch.

Also Read: Sandra Bullock Says She Considered Leaving Hollywood Over Sexism

The supporting ensemble each brings a unique personality to the mix, but it’s Rhodes’ Tom who gives the story its heart and soul. He brings charm as well as a nuanced take on how strength can mean giving all of yourself, living and loving fully, even in times of chaos. An interesting insight within the dynamic of Malorie and Tom is the idea that there must be a balance of both, the survivor and the caretaker, in order to ensure humanity’s survival.

“Bird Box” is not the jump-scare thrill machine that some might expect when they hear “post-apocalyptic thriller.” It’s quiet at times and quick in others. Much like the film’s creatures, it digs into our deepest human fears and opens a world that lives in that fear. And when it asks you to remove the blindfold and watch what happens, it really is beautiful.



Related stories from TheWrap:

13 of Sandra Bullock’s Biggest Box Office Bombs and Blockbusters (Photos)

Sandra Bullock Says Sarah Paulson Tried Singing Like Rihanna on the Set of ‘Ocean’s 8’ (Video)

Marti Noxon Signs Multi-Year Overall Deal at Netflix

Netflix Sets ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Holiday Special (Video)

John Malkovich, Michael K. Williams, Vivica Fox Join ‘Arkansas’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Read on: Variety.

John Malkovich, Michael Kenneth Williams and Vivica A. Fox have joined Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn in Clark Duke’s feature directorial debut “Arkansas.” The film follows a pair of low-level drug runners in the Dixie Mafia, portrayed by …

Even the writers of Rounders are surprised that it’s still a dorm-room staple

Read on: The A.V. Club.

Twenty years ago, long before professional poker became the main staple of late-night ESPN programming, the movie Rounders hit theaters. It did alright at the box office, but would go on to become a cult classic among the type of college-aged dudes wh…

Mark Wahlberg’s ‘Mile 22’ Hunts Down $1 Million at Thursday Box Office

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Mark Wahlberg’s “Mile 22” grossed $1 million at the Thursday box office from 2,600 locations.

Thursday’s preview gross is comparable to that of Tom Cruise’s “American Made,” which earned $960,000 in previews before opening to $16.8 million. “Mile 22” is expected to have a $17-$18 million weekend, contending with “The Meg” for the No. 2 spot, after “Crazy Rich Asians.”

This is the fourth collaboration between director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg, and tells the story of an elite CIA team tasked with protecting a valuable asset being hunted by terrorists. John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais and Ronda Rousey also star.

Also Read: ‘Mile 22’ Film Review: Mark Wahlberg Shoots Off Weapons and His Mouth to Diminishing Results

The film is written by Lea Carpenter based on a story by Graham Roland and Carpenter. Berg for Film 44, Wahlberg for Closest to the Hole and Stephen Levinson for Leverage produced. John Logan Pierson executive produced.

“Mile 22” holds a score of 24 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sony Pictures and Studio 8’s “Alpha” earned $525,000 in previews from 2,303 locations on Thursday night, looking at a $10 million weekend.

Also Read: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Opens to $5 Million Wednesday at Box Office

Telling the story of the earliest days of man’s relationship with canines, “Alpha” stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as Keda, a Paleolithic hunter left behind by his tribe after he is injured during a hunt. Struggling to survive on his own, he encounters a wolf who has been similarly abandoned by his pack, leading to the two bonding together to survive. Albert Hughes directed the film.

Meanwhile, Jon M. Chu’s “Crazy Rich Asians” is in full swing, grossing another $3.8 million on Thursday, bringing its cumulative to $8.7 million. The film, starring Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan and Awkwafina, is expected to have an five-day opening weekend total of $26-$27 million.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Mark Wahlberg Buys Chevrolet Dealership in Columbus: ‘With Hard Work, Dreams Come True’ (Video)

Mark Wahlberg Plans to Reboot ‘Captain Kangaroo’ (Video)

Why Mark Wahlberg Got ‘All the Money in the World’ for Reshoots and Michelle Williams Didn’t

‘Mile 22’ Film Review: Mark Wahlberg Shoots Off Weapons and His Mouth to Diminishing Results

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Primed to harsh any buzz you might still be enjoying from the exhilarating international spy high jinks of “Mission Impossible: Fallout,” Peter Berg’s “Mile 22” is an angry, hyperviolent downer of an action flick that is the August blowout-sale of its ilk: loud and desperate.

Mixing obnoxious geopolitical cynicism, fashionable fight incoherence and — still? really? — the fading appeal of Mark Wahlberg in grim-hero mode, the movie feels like Berg in a state of retaliatory cinematic aggression after the lackluster showing of his recent real-life-bravery tales, “Deepwater Horizon” and “Patriots Day.”

The fictional “Mile 22” — another secret-ops saga about last-resort warriors, albeit with none of the escapist appeal of the “Mission: Impossible” movies — is the movie equivalent of being shouted at by your drunk ex-Army dad about how stupid and pointless your taste in popcorn fare is, and why can’t there be more bloody combat scenes with foreigners?

Watch Video: Mark Wahlberg Plans to Reboot ‘Captain Kangaroo’

There really is someone doing an awful lot of shouting in the film, however, and it’s Wahlberg, whose eternally pissy special-forces commando character, Jimmy Silva, won’t shut up about global threats, workplace annoyances, colleague incompetence or — in useless flash-forwards in which Jimmy is getting debriefed/interrogated — the philosophical particulars of an op.

Lea Carpenter’s inanely speechifying screenplay includes Jimmy musing that “An op is a living thing” and “When they have what you need, they know they have the power” — the kind of “duh” moments that should only be answered by a cutaway to a functionary in the corner rolling his eyes.

Wahlberg’s monologues are so noise-polluting and self-consciously performed they’ll make you miss the days when action heroes were tight-mouthed mercenaries whose snarls, fists and derring-do did the talking for them. But they also provoke wonder that an actor who had once carved out a curiously sensitive masculinity on screen has somehow entered an action-spectacle rut that’s chipping away at his star appeal.

Watch Video: Mark Wahlberg Buys Chevrolet Dealership in Columbus: ‘With Hard Work, Dreams Come True’

We’re first introduced to the Overwatch team in a servicably gritty opening sequence in which Jimmy and members Alice (Lauren Cohan, “The Walking Dead”), Sam (Ronda Rousey), and Dougie (Carlo Alban) — led off-site by a sweatered John Malkovich surrounded by monitor minions — infiltrate a Russian safe house in a leafy East Coast suburb.

The mission goes sideways and incurs a body count, but two years later the core group is holed up in the U.S. embassy in the turbulent (and fictional) Southeast Asian country of Indocarr, trying to find track down stolen radioactive material, which incurs another barky diatribe from Jimmy about dirty bomb aftereffects that includes — no kidding — references to and photos from John Hersey’s legendary 1946 New Yorker article “Hiroshima.” (Seriously, is there a pop quiz in the closing credits?)

What finally gets us out of the claustrophobically filmed embassy (and, for the most part, away from the moving mouths) is the main mission, which requires Jimmy’s team to transport asylum-seeking Indocarr cop and intel source Li Noor (Indonesian star Iko Uwais from “The Raid” movies) to a waiting plane before he’ll tell them where the missing bomb chemicals are. Lying in wait: seemingly every hired killer in the country, led by an Indocarr diplomat’s head goon (Sam Medina).

Also Read: Ronda Rousey to Become First Woman Inducted Into UFC Hall of Fame

The last 30 minutes are the gauntlet, and while one is grateful for the emphasis on a “package” delivered over dialogue poorly delivered, it winds up being more of the same situationally chaotic approach to mayhem. A street gun battle feels like a poor cousin of the one in “Heat,” while an apartment building standoff is an even poorer “Raid” knockoff. And speaking of “Raid” connections, why have a gifted martial artist like Uwais perform his own choreographed fights if the stammering camerawork and shred-iting undercut his prowess? Shot that way, we could all look like badasses.

Meanwhile, anyone hoping Rousey’s own MMA athleticism would be showcased will have to resort to YouTube videos when they get back home; she’s a forgettable addition. Only Cohan gets a few meaty, wild-eyed noncombat scenes with an unfortunately retrograde subplot about April’s fiery guilt for being an absentee mom tasked with saving the world. So, of course, she must save a young girl in the climactic apartment shootout.

There’s a metaphor for America’s interventionist folly somewhere in that use of a silent Southeast Asian kid left standing in a wrecked home, but Berg and Thompson have something bigger in mind when it comes to hammering home their points. Besides the government-bad/military-good opinions spouted by Wahlberg’s character — reinforced by presidential bobblehead decor (including ones of Obama and Trump) in the Overwatch control center — the movie ends with a twist with multiple intentions: to shock your mission-accomplished dreams, upset your patriotism, lay groundwork for a sequel and even, in one weird touch, to go meta on its brow-furrowed star.

If, in one closing scene, you suddenly think of Andy Samberg’s “Saturday Night Live” impersonation of Wahlberg, I’m 98 percent sure it’s intentional, even if I have no idea why it’s there. Chalk it up to August at the movies. And yet I’d still rather see the charismatic Wahlberg of 10 years ago who inspired Samberg’s imitative homage than the tired weapon-firing crank who’s turned working with Berg into a heroism-movie series with ever-diminishing returns.



Related stories from TheWrap:

Peter Berg’s ‘QB1: Beyond the Lights’ Gets Premiere Date

John Malkovich to Star in HBO’s ‘Young Pope’ Follow-Up Series With Jude Law

Don’t Be Surprised If ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Blows Away Box Office Expectations

Mark Wahlberg Denies Steroid Ring Involvement: ‘Accusations Are Completely False’ (Exclusive)

John Malkovich to Star in HBO’s ‘Young Pope’ Follow-Up Series With Jude Law

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Jude Law has a big name co-star set to join him for the follow-up to HBO’s “Young Pope.”

John Malkovich has been cast to play opposite Law in director Paolo Sorrentino’s “The New Pope,” the premium cable network announced Monday.

No character details were given for Malkovich’s upcoming role.

Also Read: HBO Greenlights ‘The New Pope,’ Follow-Up to ‘The Young Pope’

“The New Pope” is written by Sorrentino with Umberto Contarello and Stefano Bises and marks Sorrentino’s second limited series set in the world of the modern papacy. The original series, “The Young Pope,” also created and directed by Sorrentino, debuted on Sky in October 2016 and on HBO in January 2017. Law was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture for his performance.

The follow-up limited series hails from HBO-Sky and is produced by Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani for Wildside and co-produced by Mediapro. FremantleMedia International will handle global distribution.

“The Young Pope” told the story of the beginning of Pius XIII’s pontificate. Previously known as Lenny Belardo (Law), he is a complex and conflicted character full of compassion towards the weak and poor. During the series, he faced the fear of being abandoned, even by God. However, he is not afraid to defend that same God and the world representing Him.

Also Read: Jude Law Talks Young Dumbledore’s Sexuality: ‘Another Layer’ to ‘Great Wizard’ (Exclusive)

The series aired its final episode in November 2016 and HBO greenlit “The New Pope” last May.

Production on “The New Pope” is set to begin in Italy in November.

Related stories from TheWrap:

John Malkovich to Star in HBO’s ‘Young Pope’ Follow-Up Series With Jude Law

HBO Greenlights ‘The New Pope,’ Follow-Up to ‘The Young Pope’

What Does the Young Pope Really Want? (Commentary)

‘The Young Pope’ Major Characters Ranked From Worst to Best (Photos)