The Circle Review: A Sledgehammer Satire of Social Media

Cover your webcam, muffle your cellphone, you’re not paranoid, they really are watching you. Welcome to the world depicted in The Circle, a sledgehammer satire of privacy and pesonal freedom. The film puts a bullseye on the Big Brother reach of companies like Google and Facebook. The ideals and concerns presented are valid, but the execution is overdone and blase. We get the message. It’s delivered via firehouse.

Emma Watson stars as Mae Holland, a customer service rep struggling to get by. Her best friend, Annie (Karen Gillan), gets her a job at The Circle, a behemoth internet company that has pioneered social media. It’s charismatic CEO, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), belts out tech breakthroughs and wisdom to the cult-like employees a la Steve Jobs. Mae at first struggles to fit into the ultra-connected corporate culture. But personal issues at home and with a childhood friend (Ellar Coltrane) soon has her drinking the Kool-Aid as well. It’s not until a chance meeting with a mysterious coworker (John Boyega) does Mae truly grasp the power of the company.

The Circle spends a lot of time making pointed barbs at the culture of Silicon Valley. We get the earnest millenials slaving away at a cheery compound. Resplendent with ping pong tables, pool, yoga classes, dorms; all of the accoutrements needed to work twenty hour days. These initial scenes, especially the dialogue from the worker bee clones, are humorous. The gag loses its luster quickly as the plot progresses. We are meant to believe that ostensibly intelligent people, able to create algorithms and advanced tech, are lemmings when it comes to privacy issues. It’s entirely unbelievable after a point. The film then drags considerably as we’re preached to like the sheep it mocks.

The Circle is co-written by Dave Eggers, the author of the 2013 novel the film is based on. This one is a headscratcher as the script is mundane. It plays out very slowly and in a ham-fisted way. It could be that the novel has similar beats and is just being recreated. I’ve never read the book, so can’t make that judgment. It’s just intriguing, and a rarity, that the original writer’s script is so boring.

The characters in the film are completely unbelievable. Some, like the Tom Hanks ceo, are meant to be caricatures. The others fall flat in their intelligence and naivete. I can buy a girl being impressed by a new job, but not much else that Mae does. Emma Watson cries and croons, but her actions are nonsensical. The why, especially after the film’s climactic event, is totally illogical. The Circle takes what should be a lucid character and boxes her into the overly satirical plot.

Privacy issues, surveillance, the ability to be off the grid, we’ve seen these themes tackled before in far superior films. It’s 2017, Orwell’s 1984 is decades past. The average social media user is keenly aware of its dangers. The Circle isn’t telling or showing us anything new in this regard. It needed to be faster paced and more entertaining. From STX Pictures, The Circle is a dull and bloated exercise in technology’s overreach.


Jesse Eisenberg To Star In, Write & Direct Comedy TV Series In Works At Bad Robot

EXCLUSIVE: Jesse Eisenberg has teamed with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Prods. for The Market, a half-hour single-camera comedy series project, which Eisenberg is writing and will be starring in and directing. Warner Bros. TV, where Bad Robot is based, is the studio.

The Market centers on the recently widowed Harold Katzman who moves to Pittsburgh to live with his adult son, Stan (Eisenberg). Both men simultaneously lose their jobs due to the changing American economy and are thrust into an unforgiving job market.

Eisenberg is executive producing The Market with Bad Robot’s Abrams and Ben Stephenson.

In addition to being an Oscar-nominated actor for The Social Network, Eisenberg has written three plays, including The Spoils, which recently completed a successful West End run with Eisenberg starring. He also wrote and starred alongside Vanessa Redgrave in his play The Revisionist, and in 2011 he wrote and starred in the play Asuncion at the Cherry Lane Theatre, earning a Drama League nomination.

Eisenberg’s acting credits also include Roger Dodger, The Squid and the Whale, Adventureland, Zombieland Batman v. Superman, the Now You See Me franchise and Café Society. He will be seen in Justice League, reprising his role as Lex Luthor. Eisenberg started his acting career in TV as one of the stars of Clyde Phillips’ short-lived 1999 family drama Get Real before segueing to features.

Eisenberg, a frequent contributor to The New Yorker magazine and the author of the collection, Bream Gives Me Hiccups, from Grove Press, is repped by CAA and Felker Toczek Gellman Suddleson.


Bad Robot has another high-profile series project in development, recently teaming with RuPaul and reality production company World of Wonder for a half-hour dramedy series, a fictionalized version of RuPaul’s rise from club kid to drag queen, gay icon, and global star.

Bad Robot is producing the breakout HBO drama series Westworld and recently announced new horror drama series for Hulu, Castle Rock, based on the works of Stephen King. The company is repped by CAA.


Cannes Adds Roman Polanski’s ‘Based On A True Story’ & More Films To Lineup

The Cannes Film Festival has just made a handful of additions to its Official Selection, including Roman Polanski’s Based On A True Story (D’Après Une Histoire Vraie) which will screen out of competition. The Eva Green-starrer had been tipped to be part of the lineup originally announced on April 13, and its inclusion today comes during a time when the director’s 40-year-old child sex conviction is again in the U.S. courts.

This may be seen as a bold move by the festival, although it has consistently supported the helmer who resides largely in France. He was last in competition with 2013’s Venus In Fur and won the Palme d’Or for 2002’s The Pianist.

Based On A True Story is based on the novel by Delphine de Vigan and co-scripted by Olivier Assayas. It’s centered on a writer who gets involved with an obsessive admirer after the release of her latest book. Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner also stars with Vincent Perez.

With Polanski such a fixture in Cannes — and France — over the years, it will be interesting to see if this film’s presence on the Croisette has a new resonance given the current headlines. The director, who has been in and out of courts these past several years as prosecutors have sought his extradition to the U.S. over the 1977 case, was the subject of an outcry here back in January when he was named honorary president of the César Awards (France’s equivalent to the Oscar), but ended up pulling out after French women’s groups threatened protest.

Leaving aside the controversy, let’s also note that added to the lineup is Ruben Ostlund’s The Square. The film will screen in competition. This is the next from the director of 2014’s lauded and Foreign Language Oscar-shortlisted Force Majeure which many felt was snubbed when it came to nominations. He moves up to competition from Un Certain Regard.

Added to UCR this year are La Cordillera by Santiago Mitre and Walking Past The Future by Li Ruijun. Barbet Schroeder is getting a Special Screening berth with Le Vénérable W., as is Carré 35 from Éric Caravaca.

Cannes has also added a tribute to André Téchiné including his latest film, Nos Années Folles; a Children’s Screening of Zombillénium d’Arthur by Pins and Alexis Ducord; and an event with concert and film by Tony Gatliff.


D23 2017 Features Marvel, Star Wars & Disney Animation Panels

D23: The Official Disney Fan Club has announced the lineup of the most highly anticipated presentations at D23 Expo 2017, July 14-16. The Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, will kick off the Expo on Friday morning, July 14. Later that same day, The Walt Disney Studios will give fans a sneak peek at all the latest from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar. On Saturday morning, The Walt Disney Studios will preview the coming slate of live-action films from Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm.

Then, on Saturday afternoon, fans will get a preview of what’s in store at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts during a presentation hosted by Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek. Sunday afternoon, Disney Legend Alan Menken will take fans on a musical journey during an all-new concert. These Expo favorites will take place in “Hall D23,” the 6,800-seat venue located in Hall D of the Anaheim Convention Center. The schedule of Hall D23 Events and Presentations are as follows, with all events subject to change.

The Disney Legends Awards Ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Friday, July 14. The ceremony, hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, will once again honor those visionaries and artists who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy. This year’s recipients are: Carrie Fisher, Clyde “Gerry” Geronimi, Manuel Gonzales, Mark Hamill, Wayne Jackson, Stan Lee, Garry Marshall, Julie Taymor, and Oprah Winfrey.

The Walt Disney Studios will present a behind-the-scenes look at its blockbuster collection of upcoming films in two jam-packed Hall D23 sessions. At 2:30 p.m. on Friday, fans will discover what’s on the drawing board for the acclaimed filmmakers at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios. On Saturday at 10:30 a.m., Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm showcase the Studios’ exciting slate of live-action films. As always, attendees will be treated to exclusive footage, special guest appearances, and more! It’s possible that the Saturday morning panel will feature a sneak peek at upcoming Star Wars movies like The Last Jedi or perhaps the Han Solo spin-off, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.

On Saturday, July 15, at 3 p.m., step into the worlds of magic of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts with Chairman Bob Chapek to find out what’s new and what’s next for resorts around the globe. To round out the weekend, Disney Legend Alan Menken will perform his exciting new one-man show, A Whole New World of Alan Menken. The eight-time Oscar-winner introduced new generations to musicals through such box office hits as Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Enchanted and Tangled, as well as the Broadway shows Little Shop of Horrors, Sister Act, Newsies, and A Bronx Tale, as well as the ABC television series Galavant. Menken will perform his own music and share entertaining anecdotes about his unrivaled career during the show, which will be performed Sunday, July 16, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. in Hall D23 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Tickets for D23 Expo 2017 are available for $81 for a one-day adult admission and $59 for children 3-9. Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $72 for a one-day adult admission and $53 for children 3-9. Multi-day tickets are also available. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2017, visit D23 Expo The Ultimate Disney Fan Event brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event, which will take place July 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center, provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks, and celebrities. For the latest D23 Expo 2017 news, visit Presentations, talent, and schedule subject to change. To join the D23 Expo conversation, be sure to follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube, and use the hashtag #D23Expo.


See Wonder Woman Every Day with Regal’s Ultimate Ticket

Regal Entertainment Group has announced today their Ultimate Ticket promotion for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie. Starting today, fans can purchase their Ultimate Ticket for Wonder Woman, which allows them to see Wonder Woman once per day, for every day of the theatrical release. Here’s what Regal had to say about this Ultimate Ticket, which will cost $100.

“This one-of-a-kind collectible ticket features Wonder Woman‘s world famous double W logo laser cut and etched into textured anodized steel. Each card is personalized with the cardholders ship to name inscribed permanently on the back. Guests with the Regal Wonder Woman Ultimate Ticket receive ONE ticket to ONE showtime on each business day during the initial release of Wonder Woman at Regal theatres. Accepted for all film formats, including RPX and IMAX. No other film title will be substituted for any reason. Available exclusively at”

For members of the Regal Crown Club, you can earn 10,000 credits with each Ultimate Ticket purchase, but not everyone will be able to buy one of these limited edition cards. Regal is only selling 1,000 of these Ultimate Tickets, so if you want to see Wonder Woman in theaters every day this summer, then you better act fast. You can purchase these tickets by clicking the link above, and fans should allow between three to four weeks for shipping.

Earlier this month, box office analysts predicted that Wonder Woman could pull in upwards of $80 million during its box office opening weekend. While that figure is still a far cry from the $166.1 million debut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or the $133.6 million opening weekend of Suicide Squad, both of those movies suffered drastic drops in their second weekends, and it’s possible that Wonder Woman may have more longevity. Both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were trashed by the critics, though, but many critics found Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman as one of the highlights of BvS, so we’ll have to see how critics respond to this stand alone Wonder Woman movie.

We also reported earlier this month that Warner Bros. isn’t planning a Wonder Woman sequel, but that may change if the movie overperforms at the box office. Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny. The supporting cast includes Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya, Connie Nielsen and Lucy Davis. Take a look at this promo ad for the Wonder Woman Ultimate Ticket at Regal Theaters.

<em>Wonder Woman</em> Ultimate Ticket


World War Z 2 Moves Forward with Director David Fincher

The fate of Paramount’s World War Z 2 has been left up in the air for the past few months, after the studio pulled the zombie sequel from its release schedule and delayed the movie indefinitely. A lot has changed between now and then, with the studio getting a new CEO in Jim Gianopulos, with sources claiming that Paramount is closing in on a deal with director David Fincher to take the helm and direct. The studio hasn’t issued an official green light for the sequel yet, but that is expected to happen in the weeks ahead.

Variety reports that Paramount is eyeing a production start in the first quarter of 2018, although the studio hasn’t announced any release plans thus far. We first reported about David Fincher’s potential involvement back in August, with producer/star Brad Pitt reportedly “zeroing in” on David Fincher as his top choice to direct the sequel. However, plans for this project were pushed back due to Brad Pitt’s divorce with Angelina Jolie. After then-CEO Brad Grey indefinitely delayed the sequel, most had wondered if it would ever come to fruition, but that has changed now that Jim Gianapulos has taken over.

Back in February, a source revealed that David Fincher “really wants to direct” Brad Pitt in this movie, which would reunite the actor and director for a fourth time, following their work on Se7en, Fight Club and most recently The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It would also mark a return to the big screen for the director, who hasn’t made a film since 2014′s Gone Girl, although he has been keeping busy on the small screen, producing and directing Netflix’s House of Cards and Mindhunters, while developing a number of other TV projects such as Utopia. If a deal is finalized, this would also mark a rare sequel for the director.

After cutting his teeth directing a number of music videos, such as Madonna’s Express Yourself, Aerosmith’s Janey’s Got a Gun and many more, David Fincher made his directorial debut with 20th Century Fox’s Alien 3, the studio’s much-maligned sci-fi horror sequel that was widely panned by critics. The filmmaker has reportedly been wary of sequels ever since then, but he has always been open to any ideas brought to him by Brad Pitt. The director and star almost worked together on a remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but it never materialized.

This project would also mark a reunion for David Fincher and Jim Gianopulos, who gave his last feature film Gone Girl the green light when he was the CEO at 20th Century Fox. The script for World War Z 2 has been worked on by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises), with Dennis Kelly (Black Sea) providing a rewrite, but it isn’t known if another writer will be brought on board. The original World War Z, which starred Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale and Matthew Fox, earned $202.3 million domestically and $540 million worldwide, from a $190 million production budget.


Longtime Sony Distribution Chief Rory Bruer Retiring

The affable executive has spent his entire career working for the studio’s distribution division, beginning 40 years ago as a mail clerk.

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Johnny Depp Is Dealing With More Legal Trouble

It looks like Johnny Depp could be headed back to court soon. Find out what is happening now in the movie star’s saga of legal issues.

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