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Mario Is Dead…So What Is Next?

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March 31st signified the end of the reign of Mario and his 35 years of existence. Depending on your preference, you were either happy for the extra attention the red plumber received – or like some, you were more than ready for his time in the spotlight to come to a halt. Especially considering a particular Nintendo mascot (hint: A little man in green) did not get the same love for their 35th anniversary of another popular Nintendo franchise.

We have moved past the death of Mario and are sitting here pondering what is next for Nintendo. Nintendo recently gave us a new Monster Hunter game to gush about and it is indeed a solid entry; nevertheless we are still wondering what bigger moves are to come for Nintendo?

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD remaster will surely be a huge hit for Nintendo in July as well as other unreleased titles including a few new Pokémon titles, but what about E3? Also, what about the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro? Maybe Nintendo did such a fantastic job over the last two years, as gamers we have become spoiled, but with so much in terms of library availability should we not expect more?

Maybe I am a being a bit hasty here, but 2020 was such a magnetic and massive year for the Switch that I am clamoring for much more. Maybe more secrets will trickle out during the E3 conference in June, but with a lack of love for the Legend of Zelda series, and a few new competitors in tow with the new next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft; it is time Nintendo drops a bomb that will keep it in the ranks among the other console elites.

The stagnant movement of Nintendo has been this way for most of the year. With a lack of major triple AAA titles, it seems the company is in a minor flux. Also let’s be honest, who wouldn’t pay the extra $3.99 to play Earthbound on the virtual console? It is time Nintendo pays attention to it’s consumers. It’s free money to port a title over when you have the rights, or maybe Nintendo is just playing hardball here.

Don’t get me wrong, Nintendo has done a spectacular job with the Switch and has totally closed the gap on it’s more “Prettier” console competition, but with the silence from Nintendo recently, we are ready to see what 2021 has in store. Maybe 2020 wrote a check that 2021 for Nintendo can’t cash? Well only time will tell…The ball is in your court Nintendo, make your move.

 

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Comic Book Movies

Opinion | Why Affleck Is Right About Superhero Movies

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The whole “superhero vs. cinema” debate has been talked about ad nauseam, but add Ben Affleck to the list of actors who have put out their sort of opinion about the genre that he was once a part of. For those who don’t know, and for context, Affleck played Daredevil in the 2003 adaptation of the same name, along with Batman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Justice League, and finally, Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Take it from someone who has done nothing but small movies recently, with the exception of reshoots for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, franchise movies are killing the spotlight for non-franchise movies. Note: Not the theatrical experience, as people are still going in droves to see No Way Home which is great for theaters, but the ability to see something other than Tom Holland at their local movie theater.

Affleck’s quote was pretty clear, talking to Entertainment Weekly, the Good Will Hunting star said: “Hey, I’m so into the Marvel Universe, I can’t wait to see what happens next.” And there’ll be 40 movies a year theatrically, probably, all IP, sequel, animated.” He would then go on to mention The Last Duel, the Ridley Scott film that he starred in this last fall that had critical acclaim but underperformed at the box office, only making $30.5 million worldwide according to Box Office Mojo. The Last Duel did top VOD charts, so at least they can hang their hat on something.

When reading Affleck’s quote, some may roll their eyes at yet another person using Marvel as their example, but the numbers back it up. The top ten highest-grossing movies of 2021 domestically were all franchise movies of the prequel, sequel, and franchise kickstarter assortment. The first original movie to come up (not counting Free Guy or Jungle Cruise, which obviously have hopes for sequels) was another Ridley Scott movie, House of Gucci. Hell, Disney accounted for a quarter of the entirety of 2021’s domestic box office (CNBC), with Sony, by the power of Spider-Man: No Way Home and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, coming in at second place.

Ben Affleck photographed exclusively for EW on December 8, 2020, in LA.

Nothing that Affleck said above is wrong. Argo, Affleck’s Oscar-winning 2012 film, likely would be relegated to a streaming series. Hell, Martin-freaking-Scorsese had to make The Irishman for Netflix and his next film, Killers of the Flower Moon, for Apple. And look, thank God for streaming, or else these voices wouldn’t get to share their work. Ricky Gervais’ After Life has resided on Netflix for each of its three seasons, and it’s some of his best work. But what is depressing is that movies like Affleck’s The Tender Bar, which is not a perfect movie by any means, get a limited theatrical run before heading to Prime Video, a common practice nowadays for films without a post-credits scene.

And I should be the first to say, that I am very blessed to experience the number of movies I do at press screenings. If I hadn’t made a screening to see Flee, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, or The Tragedy of Macbeth to name a few, I likely would have missed them before they hit streaming. My local AMC usually does a decent job of getting the smaller releases, they had India Sweets and Spices for a week, but all three mentioned in the previous sentence were nowhere to be found at any point of their theatrical run. And I know that The Tragedy of Macbeth is heading to Apple TV+ this Friday, but it’s a visual spectacle more than anything, and seeing it on the big screen probably enhanced my enjoyment rather than watching the Bergman-like imagery on a laptop.

I must also disclose that screeners do have a certain level of convenience. Sometimes the commute into New York or Philadelphia does not outweigh the enjoyment of sitting in bed watching The Night House or Annette, so I cannot act like I am not guilty of opting for a screener, but there are also times where there isn’t a choice.

I’m also not trying to kid myself, not every movie needs a big-screen to fully experience the movie, but that also doesn’t mean that filmmakers who don’t make movies about men in tights should instantly be thrown onto a streaming service, with a limited theatrical run in New York and Los Angeles as the coveted added bonus.

Ben Affleck photographed exclusively for EW on December 8, 2020, in LA.

There are some filmmakers that seem to get theatrical runs; Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch expanded and was playing in almost every theater around me, Licorice Pizza has been going steady at the box office, hell, House of Gucci, by the same director of the financial flop that was The Last Duel, is still selling out showings almost two full months into its run.

The financial side of things is a whole other issue. Yes, of course, the film industry is a money-making business at the end of the day, but there has to be some middle ground that allows mid-budget/small-budget movies to see the light of day. There’s just something about seeing a comedy like Don’t Look Up in a crowded theater full of laughter that makes the movie funnier than watching it at home.

Look, at the end of the day, this is just my opinion and I am completely aware that people will go and see No Way Home for their sixth rewatch instead of The Worst Person in the World. I cannot act like I don’t catch the latest MCU movie, but I also make an effort to catch Spencer while it’s in theaters or do my rewatch of Licorice Pizza after already seeing it at a press screening at the AMC. I just wish that instead of asking people to cancel their reservation to see Nightmare Alley in an effort to open up auditoriums for No Way Home, Matrix Resurrections, etc., we let those films have at least one showtime. And none of what Affleck said was about the quality of the Marvel movies, that’s a whole different debate, it’s just the silencing of voices in the industry. With it seeming like the number of Marvel movies only rises every year, film lovers can only pray that Dr. Strange could cast that forgetting spell on moviegoers with the Peter Parker in this scenario being the MCU, DCEU, and any other franchise that has dominated the box office in recent years. Even Tom Brady and the Bill Belichick-led New England Patriots lost in the playoffs (thank you, Eli Manning) every once in a while.

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Batman

The Batman Director Matt Reeves Says Bruce Wayne is Inspired By Kurt Cobain

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The latest issue of Empire Magazine will feature new images and stories from the upcoming  DC film directed by Matt Reeves, ‘The Batman.’ In the latest issue, Reeves talks about his inspiration for this latest iteration of Gotham’s dark knight.

“When I write, I listen to music, and as I was writing the first act, I put on Nirvana’s ‘Something In The Way’. That’s when it came to me that, rather than make Bruce Wayne the playboy version we’ve seen before, there’s another version who had gone through a great tragedy and become a recluse. So I started making this connection to Gus Van Sant’s Last Days, and the idea of this fictionalised version of Kurt Cobain being in this kind of decaying manor.”

Robert Pattinson – Batman [credit: Empire Magazine | Warner Bros. Pictures]

Reeves knew that Robert Pattinson would be perfect for the role after seeing his performance in Safdie Brothers’ Good Time, which initially caught his eye.

“In that movie you could really feel his vulnerability and desperation, but you could also feel his power,” Reeves explains. “I thought that was a great mix. He’s also got that Kurt Cobain thing, where he looks like a rock star, but you also feel like he could be a recluse.”

Robert Pattinson also shed some light as to what we can expect from his version of the dark knight. We get the picture, that this Bruce Wayne will be a dark, tormented soul, finding purpose through his nightly struggles in the streets of Gotham.

“Bruce has been hiding away,” says Pattinson. “He’s not really a socialite at all. He’s building all these little contraptions and things, just with Alfred. And even Alfred thinks he’s gone insane!”

Robert Pattinson – Bruce Wayne [credit: Empire Magazine | Warner Bros. Pictures]

Some of the differences we will see in the new incarnation, will even appear in the bat-suit, in the form of limited gadgets but also, the noticeable wear and tear of the suit.

“He’s been out every single night for two years, getting beaten up and shot and stabbed and burnt, and it shows,” the actor explains. “There’s a bullet graze on the cowl, right at the beginning. I don’t think that’s been done before.”

The Empire Magazine “Batman Edition” hits shelves this Thursday 23 December.

The Batman hits theaters March 4, 2022

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Action

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – New Teaser Trailer

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You are invited back into the Magic! as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, audiences will be taken back into the familiar and immersive world of magic, fun and excitement, featuring even more compelling and unique magical beasts in an all-new story that truly expands the iconic Wizarding World in surprising and unexpected ways.

Synopsis

Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?

Image via Warner Bros

Dive into the complex, high-stakes relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore and unlock the story of these two legendary wizards.And for the first time, audiences will get an inside look at the complicated and enigmatic Dumbledore.

The film is also the ultimate wizard heist as what follows in The Secrets of Dumbledore is an action-packed cat-and-mouse game of secretive plans, mysteries and fun twists and turns. Our unlikely heroes – Newt, Jacob, Kama, Lally, Bunty and Theseus are brought together by Dumbledore in an attempt to defeat Grindelwald.

From the teaser trailer it looks like this film will be magical on the big screen as it’s a richly realised expansion of the story fans have been craving, a transportive cinematic experience for all ages that features familiar connections to Harry Potter, whilst also keeping the classic Magical elements like the whimsy humour as well as the heartwarming moments and heart-stopping action.

The film features an ensemble cast led by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”), two-time Oscar nominee Jude Law (“Cold Mountain,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley”), Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Katherine Waterston, and Mads Mikkelsen.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” was directed by David Yates, from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling & Steve Kloves, based upon a screenplay by J.K. Rowling. The film was produced by David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves, Lionel Wigram and Tim Lewis. Neil Blair, Danny Cohen, Josh Berger, Courtenay Valenti and Michael Sharp served as executive producers.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” is the newest adventure in the Wizarding World™ created by J.K. Rowling.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore will be released in cinemas across the UK & Ireland on 8 April 2022 by Warner Bros. Pictures.

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