Despite being wowed by all of the footage I’ve seen from Ex Machina director Alex Garland’s new sci-fi thriller Annihilation, I became a bit worried about the film not only when I heard Paramount had sold the international distribution rights to Netflix, but also when I saw that the review embargo does not lift until the day before the film opens in the United States.
However, to my surprise, the studio decided to screen Annihilation for a small group of film journalists in both New York and Los Angeles last night and, shortly after the screening was over, they were allowed to share their thoughts on social media, and let’s just say the first reactions I’ve seen have put any worries I had about Annihilation to rest.
Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation follows Lena, a biologist and former soldier, who joins a mission to what happened to her husband inside Area X, a mysterious phenomenon expanding across the American coastline. Once inside, Lena’s expedition discovers a world of mutated landscape and creatures that threatens both their lives and their sanity.
Annihilation stars Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson, and will open in U.S. theaters on February 23, and will hit Netflix just 17 days later for those of you overseas. You can check out the first social media reactions to the film below and be sure to keep an eye out for the full reviews on February 22.
ANNHILATION is, in wholly inelegant terms, one hell of a mindfuck. Most of the time, I didn't want it to end; occasionally, I was so unsettled I thought I might keel over.
— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) February 8, 2018
— Jenna Busch (@JennaBusch) February 8, 2018
ANNIHILATION: I was lucky enough to get an early peek, and have kept thinking about it for months. Alex Garland has crafted a thrilling, beautiful and scary sci-fi which is progressive by not pointing out the gender of its protagonists. I spent a lot of it hiding behind my hands! pic.twitter.com/1e3Dv0d9pG
— Alicia Malone (@aliciamalone) February 8, 2018
Alex Garland’s #Annihilation is another example of the kind of brainy sci-fi we don’t see enough of. Badass female cast and a story that’s both beautiful and wickedly disturbing, and an ending you will talk about for days. Dug it so much pic.twitter.com/fW77z6xX4v
— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) February 8, 2018
#Annihilation is big budget Alex Garland with all the head-spinning intelligence of "Ex Machina." It's violent and patient and then suddenly so transfixing you're pinned to your seat.
It'll take time to process. Another auteur studio gamble from Paramoint after "mother!"
— Zack Sharf (@ZSharf) February 8, 2018
This much is clear: #Annihilation is NOT the movie you walk out and take to Twitter for a quick opinion. It's grabs you hard and leaves you frazzled. Hats off to Paramount for letting Garland be himself on a bigger budget https://t.co/1nkKEmuPkF
— Zack Sharf (@ZSharf) February 8, 2018
Alex Garland's #Annihilation is absolutely phenomenal. It's gorgeous and mesmerizing, with brilliant performances from the entire ensemble. It's a remarkable vision, and has a sequence so thrilling that I was left literally dizzy. It will be on my Top 10 of 2018 without question. pic.twitter.com/zGmDGlyh0M
— Eric Eisenberg (@eeisenberg) February 8, 2018
The below image from ANNIHILATION is only mere taste of audacious weirdness that Alex Garland's film offers. By final 15 minutes, I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing on-screen. @jeffvandermeer fans, and anyone looking for big-budget ideas-based sci-fi, will be thrilled. pic.twitter.com/09boC0xx1v
— Barry Hertz (@HertzBarry) February 8, 2018
#ANNIHILATION: This is the type of sci-if we always say we want to see. Bold, challenging, singular, visually dazzling. Would not be the least bit surprised to see it hailed as a masterpiece (and it might actually be one).
— Ben Pearson (@benpears) February 8, 2018
— Drew Taylor (@DrewTailored) February 8, 2018
You know who else annihilates (I’m not gonna get tired of this) their roles? @HereIsGina AND @TessaThompson_x. Can all sci-fi films just have perfect all-female ensemble casts from now on? #Annihilation pic.twitter.com/QugaPYJqxk
— Manuel Betancourt (@bmanuel) February 8, 2018
Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson save the world in a new ‘Men in Black: International’ trailer
Sony Pictures has released a new trailer for Men in Black: International, the newest installment in the long-dormant franchise that originally starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, which now finds Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in the lead roles.
MIB: International follows Agent H (Hemsworth) and Agent M (Thompson) as they carry out their usual duties of protecting the Earth from the alien scum of the universe. However, things become increasingly more dangerous for the pair when they’re assigned to their biggest mission yet: identifying a mole in the Men in Black organization.
In addition to Hemsworth and Thompson, the reboot also stars Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, and Emma Thompson, who reprises her role from Men in Black 3.
F. Gary Gray, who directed 2015’s Straight Outta Compton and 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, helmed MIB: International using a script written by Art Marcum and Matt Halloway, based on the Malibu Comic by Lowell Cunningham.
Men in Black franchise veterans Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald produced the film, with Steven Spielberg, E. Bennett Walsh, Riyoko Tanaka, David Beaubaire, Edward Cheng, Howard Chen, and Barry Sonnenfeld serving as executive producers.
Men in Black: International will hit theaters on June 14.
‘Bond 25’ reveals full cast and plot details, but no title, as production begins to get underway
In a special live streamed announcement on Thursday, the team behind Bond 25, including producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and director Cary Joji Fukunaga, revealed a number of key details about the long-awaited next chapter in the classic British spy franchise, stopping just short of the film’s title.
Fukunaga, who signed on to direct Bond 25 following the departure of Danny Boyle last year, confirmed the returning cast which, in addition to Daniel Craig in the titular role, also includes Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright.
As for the newcomers, Ana de Armas is set to join the cast along with Dali Benssalah, David Dencik, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen, and Rami Malek, who confirmed that he will be playing the film’s main villain, adding that he promises to make sure “that Mr. Bond does not have an easy ride in this.”
The film will find Bond having left active service and enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. However, his peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Neal Purvis and Robert Wade wrote the screenplay for the movie along with Fukunaga, Scott Z. Burns, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with the latter two having taken the most recent pass at the script.
Production on Bond 25, which will commence on Sunday, April 28, will be based at Pinewood Studios in the UK and on location in London, Italy, Norway, and Jamaica, where today’s announcement took place at GoldenEye, the former home of Bond creator Ian Fleming.
“We’re thrilled to return to Jamaica with Bond 25, Daniel Craig’s fifth installment in the 007 series, where Ian Fleming created the iconic James Bond character and Dr. No and Live And Let Die were filmed,” Wilson and Broccoli said.
Bond 25 is set to be released in the U.K. on April 3, 2020 and April 8, 2020 in the U.S.
Lili Taylor and Stefania LaVie Owen to star in the coming-of-age indie drama ‘Paper Spiders’
Lili Taylor and Stefania LaVie Owen have been cast as the leads in Inon Shampanier’s indie drama Paper Spiders, a bittersweet story about coming-of-age in the shadow of mental illness. The film is expected to begin production in Syracuse, New York later this month.
Written by Inon and Natalie Shampanier, Paper Spiders follows Melanie (Owen), a high school senior struggling to help her mother Dawn (Taylor), whose paranoid delusions spiral out of control.
“I am thrilled to work with these incredibly talented actresses,” Inon Shampanier said in a statement. “Lili Taylor and Stefania Owen bring great tenderness and depth to this mother-daughter story.”
Anne Clements is producing Paper Spiders for Idiot Savant Pictures along with Ash Christian for Cranium Entertainment.
Taylor, repped by APA and Untitled Entertainment, was seen most recently in last year’s The Nun, where she reprised her role from the 2013 blockbuster horror hit The Conjuring. She can be seen next in the upcoming indie The Evening Hour.
Owen is repped by McKeon/Myones Entertainment and Paradigm Talent Agency and can currently be seen onscreen starring opposite Matthew McConaughey in Harmony Korine’s stoner comedy The Beach Bum. She’ll appear next in Netflix‘s thriller The Messiah.
Inon and Natalie Shampanier, whose previous credits include 2015’s Beautiful & Twisted and 2012’s The Millionaire Tour, are repped by Chris Sablan of Avenue 220 and attorney Jacob Shapira.