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‘Scandal’ Final Season Review: Shonda Rhimes’ Gladiators Exiting Loud & Large

It’s 100 days into the administration of America’s first female President, but as the final season of Scandal makes very clear, the most powerful person in the world is Olivia Pope.

If you are already a fan of the Shonda Rhimes created and Kerry Washington starring soapy and high stakes ABC drama, then you are going to love the heightened wish fulfillment fiction seventh and last season of Scandal. However, in an America very different than big time Hillary Clinton supporters like Rhimes and Washington likely envisioned a year ago, if you are new to the series or distinctly weren’t a TGIT fan before, check Scandal out before its last 18 episodes air and it’s gone.

With all the verve of a new sharp-elbowed show, Rhimes and crew unsurprisingly, but thankfully, as I say in my video review above, aim to go out loud, large and leaving little on the table.

Don’t be fooled just because the name on the office door of the Gladiators may have changed and Washington’s always calculating Pope is now at the pinnacle of corrupting power as the White House Chief of Staff to President Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young). Taking things to expected and entertaining way off course places at the same time, this strong female-led show has crash-landed on the face of its own Sun. A deliberate act that, from what I’ve seen, intends to make sure things get hot.

From the center stage-deserving Young to Joe Morton’s ever threatening Papa Pope, the rechristened Quinn Perkins and Associates and the excellent Jeff Perry as now Vice-President Cyrus Beene, the whole gang is back with a few new additions. Though Tony Goldwyn directs the second “Pressing The Flesh” episode of the season, his now former President Fitzgerald Grant III is in the background early on – but clearly and poignantly not for long.

So, before you tune into the season opener on October 5, take a look at my video review above of the last season of Scandal. And tell us, will you be having a fine glass of wine on Thursday?

This review was originally posted on October 3.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Tickets Go on Sale Monday

Get your wallets ready and start planning ahead, Star Wars fans, because tickets for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are going up for sale very soon. Though Disney and Lucasfilm haven’t officially announced it, the expectation, thanks to a since-deleted tweet from Mark Hamill, is that the new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi will debut during Monday Night Football this upcoming Monday. Now, a new report claims that pre-sale tickets for the movie are going to be made available on the same day. So plan accordingly.

The news comes courtesy of Furious Fanboys editor Jeremy Conrad. Since he isn’t directly connected with Disney or Lucasfilm, this should be taken with a bit of skepticism, but it does seem to make a lot of sense. In any case, he claims that both AMC and Regal are already preparing their systems for Star Wars: The Last Jedi pre-sale tickets now, which will be made available to the public on Monday. Here’s what he had to say about it.

“It’s 100 percent true. 100 percent true. I know for a fact two of the major theater chains in the U.S., Regal and AMC, are programming their systems this week for tickets. They got a notice on Monday.”

Considering that Disney released pre-sale tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in conjunction with the premiere of a new trailer during an NFL game back in 2015, this strategy, though unconfirmed, makes a good deal of sense. However, some theaters released tickets ahead of The Force Awakens trailer debut, which angered many eager fans. Things seemed to be a bit more smooth for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last year, despite insanely high demand. Since this is the follow-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we can guess that the demand for Star Wars: The Last Jedi tickets will be even higher.

According to Jeremy Conrad, Disney and Lucasfilm are also planning to have special screenings on Thursday, December 14 that will screen Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi back-to-back. Considering that the Star Wars movies are said to bump right up against one another, that may be a very desirable option for many fans. That said, those tickets are probably going to see very fast.

Unfortunately, Jeremy Conrad wasn’t able to confirm what time pre-sale tickets for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are going on sale Monday in his Twitter post. But bet on them going on sale Monday, October 9. So keep your eyes peeled and be ready to buy your tickets at a moment’s notice on Monday. If this is indeed true, expect an official announcement from Disney and Lucasfilm any day now. Considering that Star Wars: The Force Awakens did more than $100 million in pre-sales alone, this is likely to be a huge, and possibly headache filled, day for Star Wars fans. Take a look at the video from Jeremy Conrad’s Twitter.

#TheLastJedi tickets on sale Monday & theater special events. https://t.co/uEFWOBWVdw

— Jeremy Conrad (@ManaByte) October 4, 2017

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Harvey Weinstein Accused of Decades of Sexual Harassment

The Weinstein Company head Harvey Weinstein, a man responsible for six Best Picture Oscar-winning movies, has been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment over the course of several decades. The shocking details were revealed in an expose recently released by The New York Times. In the expose, it is said that Weinstein “has reached at least eight settlements with women” over the years, with more coming forward to accuse him.

Ashley Judd, who is best known for her work on films such as Kiss the Girls, Heat and most recently Twin Peaks, worked with Harvey Weinstein over the years and came forward in the expose to detail her experiences with him. According to her account, Weinstein had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in just a robe and asked if he could give her a massage, or if she would watch him shower. In the situation, she thought, “How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” This was not the only incident, as she has been approached by him many times over the years. Here’s what she had to say about it.

“I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask. It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”

Ahead of the release of the New York Times article, the 65-year-old Harvey Weinstein hired several attorneys and PR consultants, as news of the expose broke prior to its release. Among those hired were Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder, who represented Hulk Hogan in its fight with Gawker, a website that was forced to shut down after Hogan won his case over them publishing his sex tape. These new sexual harassment allegations confirm years of persistent rumors about Weinstein, who is one of the most notorious film executives working in Hollywood. Though all of this happened a long time ago, Ashley Judd feels now was the right time to come forward.

“Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.”

It isn’t just Ashely Judd who came forward in this new piece. According to The New York Times, eight women shared similar stories. The report notes that Weinstein had a pattern of sexual harassment and misconduct. It is said he would appear “nearly or fully naked in front of them, requiring them to be present while he bathed or repeatedly asking for a massage or initiating one himself.” Harvey Weinstein commented on the matter, releasing a statement about his alleged sexual misconduct over the years.

“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. I came of age in the 60′s and 70′s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”

In a statement that is likely to haunt Harvey Weinstein following these accusations, the Hollywood figure said to THR prior to the release of the article that it “sounds so good, I want to buy the movie rights.” Later, actress Rose McGowan, who was one of the eight women who was paid a settlement over the years, tweeted, “I want to buy the rights.” McGowan received a $100,000 settlement for an incident that occurred in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival. Though, the settlement was “not to be construed as an admission.” It was, rather, to “avoid litigation and buy peace.” McGowan, though she declined to make a statement in the New York Times piece, released a statement on Twitter, taking aim at the protection that has been afforded to men who have sexually harassed women in Hollywood for decades. Here’s what she had to say.

“Hollywood boy’s club press: protecting violators since 1919. You’re in foul company, gentlemen, you must be so proud of yourselves.”

According to New York Times, the settlements that Harvey Weinstein made over the years were for “unwanted physical contact.” Sources say the settlements were anywhere between $80,000 and $150,000. Attorney Lisa Bloom, who is said to have been advising Weinstein over the last year, said that he is “an old dinosaur learning new ways,” who uses “words and behaviors [that] can be perceived as inappropriate, even intimidating.” Harvey Weinstein will be taking a leave of absence to “deal with this issue head on.” Though he has acknowledged wrongdoing, Weinstein is denying many of the claims being made against him. You can also check out Weinstein’s full statement in response to the allegations for yourself below.

“I came of age in the 60′s and 70′s, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then. I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office, or out of it. To anyone. I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment. My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons. Over the last year I’ve asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me and she’s put together a team of people. I’ve brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all women and regret what happened. I hope that my actions will speak louder than words and that one day we will all be able to earn their trust and sit down together with Lisa to learn more. Jay Z wrote in 4:44 ‘I’m not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children.’ The same is true for me. I want a second chance in the community but I know I’ve got work to do to earn it. I have goals that are now priorities. Trust me, this isn’t an overnight process. I’ve been trying to do this for 10 years and this is a wake-up call. I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them. I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. One year ago, I began organising a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom and I won’t disappoint her.”

This news comes at a time shortly after former Birth.Movies.Death editor Devin Faraci, who was fired for sexual misconduct, was re-hired by Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League to do some work for this year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. You can read the full piece on Harvey Weinstein over at The New York Times.

I want to buy the movie rights

— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 4, 2017

Hollywood boy’s club press: protecting violators since 1919. You’re in foul company, gentlemen, you must be so proud of yourselves.

— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 4, 2017

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Rush Hour 4 Is Happening Says Jackie Chan

It’s been more than a decade since Rush Hour 3 hit theaters, and there are still fans waiting for Rush Hour 4 to bring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan back together. Those fans may get their wish soon, since Jackie Chan just revealed in a new interview that both he and his fellow Rush Hour franchise star Chris Tucker are getting ready to meet the director, with production possibly starting at some point next year. Here’s what the action legend had to say below.

“Good news. Next year, Rush Hour 4, and I hope the script done. And day after tomorrow we meet the director and Chris Tucker again to make sure we go the right track.”

While Jackie Chan wouldn’t mention the director by name, it’s quite possible that he’s referring to Rush Hour franchise director Brett Ratner, who directed all three movies thus far, and even revealed in March that he’s still talking to writers about a Rush Hour sequel. We also reported in August that Brett Ratner was set to produce a Hugh Hefner biopic, although he is not directing. The filmmaker has taken an extended hiatus from directing, having not taken the helm of a feature film since the underperforming 2014 action-adventure Hercules.

While there is no indication that Brett Ratner would be directing this Rush Hour sequel, since these movies are his biggest hits as a director, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him return to the helm for this fourth adventure. There has been talk of a fourth Rush Hour sequel ever since the third movie hit theaters a decade ago, and while there seems to be movement on the project every few years or so, it never comes to fruition. While the franchise is certainly steeped in box office prowess, the third installment sagged quite a bit from its predecessors, which could be one of the reasons this project has failed to move forward over the years.

The first Rush Hour, starring both Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan as their careers were on the rise, was a huge box office blockbuster, earning $141.1 million domestic and $244.4 million worldwide, from a $33 million budget. The domestic mark good for the seventh highest-grossing box office total of the year. The 2001 sequel Rush Hour 2 took in $226.1 domestic and $347.3 million worldwide from a $90 million budget. The third movie took a bit longer to put together, arriving in theaters in 2007, although it couldn’t reclaim its predecessors’ box office glory. It earned $140.1 million domestic, just under the original, with $258 million worldwide from a ballooning $140 million budget.

Jackie Chan wouldn’t divulge any specifics about the fourth Rush Hour movie in his interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, but perhaps the time is right to make this sequel happen. You may recall that the producers did try to bring this franchise to the small screen with a Rush Hour TV series on CBS, which starred Justin Hires and John Foo as the two main characters. The show only lasted one season on CBS before getting cancelled. Hopefully we’ll have more on Rush Hour 4 soon, but until then, take a look at Jackie Chan’s full interview with the San Francisco Chronicle for his new film The Foreigner.

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Spawn Reboot Starts Filming February 2018

It looks like things are moving right along with the R-rated Spawn reboot. Todd McFarlane closed a deal over the summer with Blumhouse Productions to direct the movie, making it his directorial debut. Now, thanks to a panel at New York Comic Con, McFarlane reveals that pre-production is slated to start just after Christmas, with cameras set to roll on the low-budget Spawn in February of 2018. That means, if all goes well, we could see the movie arrive in theaters in early 2019.

Deadline reports that Todd McFarlane, who created the Spawn comic in the 90s, is also promising to provide is Facebook followers with daily updates from the set. This is something that most major productions wouldn’t allow, but since the movie is being independently financed, director Todd McFarlane will have a lot of freedom. Not to mention that he wrote the script, is on as a producer and director. This movie is his baby and he’s doing it his way. Blumhouse has a first look deal with Universal Pictures, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the movie winds up somewhere else. Here’s what McFarlane had to say about it and his sole creative control.

“The only things we need from them. are distribution and marketing. We don’t need your input, we don’t need your cash, we don’t need your creativity, and they don’t like those deals. They always want the budget to go up because then they have to put money in it and then they own it.”

Todd McFarlane did note that Universal Pictures is likely to “take it,” meaning that they’ll probably sign up to distribute Spawn, but it’s clearly only going to happen under his strict set of conditions. He also reiterated that the movie will be “dark and R-rated.” While comparisons will be made, he said it won’t be like Deadpool “with a couple F-bombs and a couple bare asses.” He said, “I will have a shark in black water and if you’re swimming he will come and you’ll be gone and he will f*ck you up.” As for where he gets his confidence to be able to direct such an ambitious movie even though he’s never directed a movie before? Here’s what he had to say in response to a fan question.

“I didn’t use to draw comic books and I drew comic books and I won awards. I don’t know how to read music and I have a Grammy Award…I’m spending my own money so who cares if it doesn’t work out. It’s a $10 million budget movie, and (a studio) would just get a 22-year-old punk director. I just want to be the old punk directing it.”

Spawn isn’t at all going to be your average comic book movie in a lot of ways. Not only in what is being presented to audiences, but what is going on behind-the-scenes to get it made. If this works out, we could see something of a shakeup going on. For now, we can look forward to production kicking off early next year and a whole lot of updates from Todd McFarlane. We’ll be sure to keep you up to date as more information on the Spawn reboot is made available. This new report from Deadline could be just the first update we get on this project as New York Comic Con kicks off.

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Dark Universe in Trouble, Bride of Frankenstein Indefinitely Delayed

It looks like Universal’s very lofty plans for the Dark Universe may have been a bit premature. Bride of Frankenstein is, or possibly was, intended to be the next movie in the studio’s interconnected Dark Universe series of monster movies, following Tom Cruise’s The Mummy, which arrived with a critical thud over the summer. Now we have word that Universal has, at least temporarily, pulled the plug on Bride of Frankenstein.

According to Deadline, pre-production was already taking place on the remake of the 1935 classic, which is set to be directed by Bill Condon (Beauty and the Beast). Universal had pre-production stopped, with “the crew has just been told to go home for the time being.” Despite the stoppage, Universal released a statement saying that they are still intending to make Bride of Frankenstein, but they don’t want to be rushed to “meet a release date.” Here’s what they had to say about it.

“After thoughtful consideration, Universal Pictures and director Bill Condon have decided to postpone Bride of Frankenstein. None of us want to move too quickly to meet a release date when we know this special movie needs more time to come together. Bill is a director whose enormous talent has been proven time and again, and we all look forward to continuing to work on this film together.”

Originally, Bride of Frankenstein was supposed to start shooting on February 1 in order to meet the previously announced February 14, 2019, release date. That isn’t going to happen now, as David Koepp is reportedly doing rewrites on the script. It is also being reported that Javier Bardem, who is signed up to play Frankenstein’s monster, and Angelina Jolie, who is in talks to play his reanimated bride, are both waiting in the wings and aren’t leaving the project as of yet. Bill Condon also seems committed, as he recently spoke with Collider about his vision for the movie.

“This is Eve before Adam; the bride comes first. So in its own way, you know, we all know the Bride only exists for 10 minutes in the Whale movie. She’s there and the movie’s over. So I keep thinking [it's], in a way, at least a tribute to what Whale might have done if he’d made a third Frankenstein movie and he’d done it in the 21st Century,”

The Mummy was intended to launch the Dark Universe in epic fashion. That didn’t go so well. The movie had a very troubled production, which resulted in a critical disaster. Currently, The Mummy, which did a lot of world building for the Dark Universe, has an ugly 16 percent approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with an absolutely terrible 35 percent audience rating. Despite that, the movie managed to pull in $407.7 million worldwide. Though, more than 80 percent of that came from overseas. Certainly not what Universal was hoping for.

Can Universal’s Dark Universe be saved?

Johnny Depp is also starring in The Invisible Man remake and there is a script being written for a Van Helsing reboot, among other projects. With Bride of Frankenstein put on pause, the future of at least some of these projects is in doubt, but Deadline didn’t make any mention of what’s going on with those projects in their report. It’s probably best that Universal doesn’t rush into something until it’s right, given what happened with The Mummy. Still, this isn’t the best way to kick off a new cinematic universe. Not by a long shot.

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Deadpool 2 Set Photos Tease Cable’s Time Travel

Buckle up, Deadpool fans, because it looks like the sequel is going to get weird, but also awesome. Some brand new set photos from Deadpool 2 have surfaced online, giving us a brand new look at Josh Brolin’s Cable. This time, he’s in an entirely new costume and that could be hinting at some big things to come. Specifically, could we be seeing some time travel in Deadpool 2? It seems entirely possible.

The new photos come to us courtesy of Just Jared and they feature Josh Brolin in costume as Cable, but not the Cable costume we’ve seen previously. A while back, some of the first official photos of Cable in Deadpool 2 arrived online and showcased a very traditional, comic book faithful version of the character’s costume. However, in this batch of photos, Cable is in a skin-tight, much more futuristic looking costume. Granted, this could be something that is going to have a whole bunch of CGI added to it in post-production, but it still looks like this is going to be different than the previously revealed costume.

So why would Cable have two radically different costumes in Deadpool 2? Those who are familiar with the character from the comics know that Cable, aka Nathan Summers, is a time-traveling mutant who is the son of Cyclops and Jean Grey’s clone, Madelyne Pryor. Comic books get pretty weird sometimes. Point being, traversing time is a huge part of what Cable does. But these photos are the first thing we’ve seen that actually hint at the possibility of time travel being featured in Deadpool 2.

Deadpool 2 is just one of three X-Men movies arriving in theaters next year, but it is easily the most highly-anticipated. New Mutants promises something totally different and X-Men: Dark Phoenix is going to (hopefully) bring us a solid adaptation of one of the most beloved Marvel Comics storylines ever. It must atone for the sins of X-Men: The Last Stand, which botched the job in a big way. But Deadpool 2 sees the return of Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson, along with Domino (Zazie Beetz) and the fan-favorite Cable. Couple that with the success of the first movie and throw a little time travel in the mix? What’s not to love.

The sequel also has a new director in the form of David Leitch, who took over for Tim Miller, who departed over creative differences. Deadpool 2 is set for release on June 1, 2018, which puts it right in the heart of the summer movie season. And that also means we should be seeing a trailer sooner rather than later. We’ll maybe know at that point whether or not time travel is going to factor in. For now, be sure to check out hew new set photos from Deadpool 2, courtesy of Just Jared, by clicking on the link in the tweet below.

Josh Brolin was seen in character as Cable on the #Deadpool2 set filming a new scene! See all the photos: https://t.co/sl7hEM4tdV

— JustJared.com (@JustJared) October 4, 2017

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Roman J. Israel, Esq Trailer: Denzel Washington Fights for Justice

Sony Pictures has debuted the new trailer for Roman J. Israel, Esq., which teams up Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington with writer-director Dan Gilroy. The filmmaker is making his second feature film as a director, following his critically-acclaimed breakthrough debut Nightcrawler. The filmmaker returns to explore the darker side of Los Angeles once again in this film, but this time, through the eyes of the title character, an lawyer whose life gets turned upside down.

Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a dramatic thriller set in the underbelly of the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system. Oscar winner Denzel Washington stars as a driven, idealistic defense attorney whose life is upended when a turbulent series of events challenge the activism that has defined his career. Colin Farrell costars as the ambitious, monied lawyer who recruits Roman to his firm. The film held its world premiere screening at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, ahead of its theatrical debut next month.

The supporting cast includes Carmen Ejogo, Nazneen Contractor, Shelley Hennig, Niles Fitch, James Paxton and Brittany Ishabishi. Sony Pictures has set a November 3 release date for Roman J. Israel, Esq., which has the unfortunate task of going up against Marvel Studios’ highly-anticipated superhero sequel Thor: Ragnarok, although it is expected to open in limited release. Given the star power this movie has with Denzel Washington leading a talented cast, this will most likely expand nationwide in the weeks and months ahead, but there have been no details given yet about a theatrical expansion quite yet.

This film could be another potential 2018 Oscar candidate for both Denzel Washington and Dan Gilroy, although there is still a long way to go until the full awards season picture comes into place. Denzel Washington is coming off an Oscar-nominated performance in Fences, and a successful remake with last year’s The Magnificent Seven. Dan Gilroy was nominated for an Oscar for his Nightcrawler original screenplay, but before he made his directorial debut with that film, he wrote the screenplays for movies such as Two For the Money, Real Steel, The Bourne Legacy, and, most recently, Kong: Skull Island, and he is also the brother of filmmaker Tony Gilroy (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Denzel Washington also serves as a producer on Roman J. Israel, Esq. with Jennifer Fox and Todd Black, with Brian Oliver, Betsy Danbury, Charles D. King, Kim Roth, Poppy Hanks, Michael Bloom, Adam Pincus, Aaron L. Gilbert, Alex Lebovici, Steve Ponce, Derek Dauchy and Ben Ross serving as executive producers. Going up against such a crowded field in November, especially starting out in limited release, this may not be a box office hit for Sony, but it could pay off big come awards season. While we wait for more on this upcoming drama, take a look at the new trailer, courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment YouTube.

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