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
Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield in talks to star in drama about Black Panther Party leader
Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, who both starred in Jordan Peele’s psychological thriller Get Out in 2017, are set to reunite for the upcoming film Jesus Was My Homeboy, a historical drama detailing the controversial death of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton.
The film, which is being produced by Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and Charles King, will reportedly “follow the rise and untimely demise of Hampton as seen through O’Neal’s eyes,” according to Deadline.
Shaka King is directing and producing Jesus Was My Homeboy, working from a script he co-wrote along with Will Berson.
Kaluuya is in talks to play Hampton, while play Stanfield is in talks to play William O’Neal, a federal government informant who infiltrated the Black Panthers and provided authorities with key details about Hampton the layout of Hampton’s apartment.
Hampton and Mark Clark, another Black Panther Party member, would later be killed in Hampton’s Chicago apartment by a tactical unit of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, who were carrying out orders from Chicago police and the FBI in December 1969.
While their deaths were ruled to be a “justifiable homicide,” a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of relatives of Hampton and Clark found otherwise, and the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the federal government were required to pay $1.85 million to the plaintiffs.
Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Kim Roth, and Poppy Hanks are executive producing the film, which is expected to begin production later this year.
New photo teases Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys in Marielle Heller’s Mister Rogers biopic
Tristar Pictures has released a new image from A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the upcoming Mister Rogers biopic starring Tom Hanks in the role of the beloved children’s television show host. The film comes courtesy of Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller.
Per the film’s official synopsis, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is “a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod,” who you may have seen featured in the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? last year.
Written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, the story begins when a jaded magazine writer (Matthew Rhys) accepts an assignment to write a profile piece on Mister Rogers, following him as he overcomes his skepticism about Rogers and learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor in the process.
Marc Turtletaub, Peter Saraf, and Youree Henley are producing the film, which also stars Chris Cooper, Susan Kelechi Watson, Enrico Colatoni, Maryann Plunkett, Tammy Blanchard, Wendy Makkena, Sakina Jaffrey, Carmen Cusack, Noah Harpster, and Maddie Corman.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will open in theaters just in time for awards season on November 22, 2019.
You can check out the newly released image above.
Amid an intense wave of backlash, the Academy has decided to air all Oscar categories live
In the wake of an intense wave of backlash, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday that they will be reversing their controversial decision to present four technical categories their awards during commercial breaks at the 91st Oscars ceremony next Sunday.
“The Academy has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling,” the AMPAS board of governors said in a statement. “All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format.”
Sources familiar with the matter tell Silver Screen Beat that the Academy’s change of heart came after AMPAS president John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson met with members of the group’s cinematography branch Thursday evening to discuss the decision, which did not go over well with many Hollywood filmmakers and craftspeople.
“Relegating these essential cinematic crafts to lesser status in this 91st Academy Awards ceremony is nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession,” read an open letter to the Academy signed by dozens of industry figures, including directors Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee and cinematographers Roger Deakins and Rachel Morrison.
The letter ends with a quote from Academy member Seth Rogen, who tweeted earlier this week, “What better way to celebrate achievements in film than to NOT publicly honour the people whose job it is to film things.”
The 91st Oscars will air live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 24 on ABC.