Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer Could Board Kenneth Branagh’s MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Remake

Kenneth Branagh is directing and starring in a remake of the famous Agatha Christie murder mystery story Murder on the Orient Express, and although he once had Angelina Jolie in talks to play one of the passengers on board the deadly vehicle, the actress has since dropped out of the project. That's OK, though, because a new piece in THR indicates that Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer, who worked together on the vampire comedy Dark Shadows a few years ago, are "names of interest" for the new movie, though they caution that neither actor has been officially offered a part...yet.

The story follows detective Hercule Poirot as he attempts to solve the murder of an American businessman that occurred on a cross-country train. The 1974 film starred big names like Albert Finney, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, Anthony Perkins, and many more, so clearly Fox is trying to attract a similarly star-studded cast for this new effort.

Hilary Strong, CEO of Agatha Christie Limited, explained to THR why they're remaking the movie in the first place (via The Playlist):

“One of the criticisms that I keep getting levied at me is that [the previous film adaptations] were so amazing. ‘How can you remake ‘Murder on the Orient Express'?' They’re iconic films, but they are of their time, and there is a new cinema audience that won’t watch films that were made in 1957 or 1974, and we want them to hear her stories.”

I think she's absolutely right about that, and it's a point that a lot of people either fail to consider or don't talk about enough when the topic of Hollywood remakes comes up. Obviously the old versions still exist, but how many people do you know — and I'm assuming the readers of this site are cinephiles and probably have cinephile friends — who would willingly watch a movie from 1957 over something much newer? There are certainly people out there who would, but I think Strong is onto something: that number seems to be dwindling every year.

Murder on the Orient Express has a release date of November 22, 2017, so expect a cast to be finalized relatively soon.

Rainbow Suit Batman Shows Up in TRINITY #1

If you have been keeping up with DC Rebirth, then you know Pre-New 52 Superman took the place of New 52 Superman after his death. A welcomed change by most, you can now read about Pre-New 52 Superman and how he fits into our universe in Action Comics, Superman Rebirth, Justice League Rebirth, and Trinity. Francis Manapul provides both the writing and drawing for Trinity, and it focuses on the relationship between Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and the bond that ties them together. I think he did an amazing job and can see this story really developing in further issues. 

In the first issue, we find our heroes having dinner at Clark and Lois’s farm and Batman clearly has some reservations about Superman’s son, Jonathan, having powers he can’t control. To ease the tension, Superman shares a hilarious memory Dick Grayson told him back on his Earth. Early in Robin’s career, when his identity was on the brink of being exposed, Batman wore a Rainbow Batsuit costume to distract the villains and keep the attention on him! The costume is hilarious and it’s great to see the Dark Knight dressed so comically. It’s a nod to Detective Comics #241, but slightly less cartoony than the couple iterations of it I've seen. Being the New 52 Batman, this Batman doesn’t remember any of it and is not amused.

The New 52 was formed by stealing time and memories from all of our heroes and cramming their history into only five years. They simply did not go through all of the things that this Pre-New 52 Superman has, and instead only retained a fraction of their superhero experiences. I thought this was an awesome inclusion into the issue and it really showed how our heroes are going to have to get to know each other again and grow to be as strong as they once were. They still have their reservations, but I am sure the DC universe will adjust to the new status quo in no time.

Los Angeles Honors Comics Legend Stan Lee With Stan Lee Day on October 28th

Stan Lee is unquestionably a major figure in the history of comics, and because of the way superhero films have become one of the most profitable and mainstream aspects of pop culture over the past twenty years, an argument can be made that Lee is hugely influential in the shaping of our modern culture. (I think most of us are aware of the allegations that Lee might have taken undue credit for creating a lot of the comic characters we know and love, but let's put that aside for now.)

Yesterday, the city of Los Angeles honored Lee by announcing that October 28th would be known as Stan Lee Day in the city. Additionally, Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo — the three-day convention he's hosted yearly at the L.A. Convention Center since 2011 — is changing its name to Stan Lee's Los Angeles Comic Con. This year's convention will kick off on Stan Lee Day. Find out more here.

"I want [people] to feel they've had an experience, because these conventions are a chance for the fans to be up close to the people they are fans of and to see the workings of the television shows — and even music and sports. It's going to encompass everything that people are entertained by," Lee told THR. "People love comics, movies and television more and more every year, so we intend to provide more and more every year."

Lee has been keeping busy with cameos in Marvel Studios movies, so we'll see him on the big screen again when Doctor Strange comes out in early November.

Review: STAR TREK 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection Box Set

I think Paramount dropped the ball in a profound way with its Star Trek 50th anniversary video a few weeks ago, but at least they've done right by the long-running sci-fi franchise with this brand new, limited edition 50th anniversary TV and movie collection box set. If you dig Trek and you prefer the original cast, this seems like a must-have set because it includes every major piece of Star Trek entertainment those actors participated in during their careers.

Not only does it include every episode of The Original Series on Blu-ray, but this 30 disc set also comes with remastered Blu-rays of The Animated Series and each of the first six movies in the franchise, ranging from The Motion Picture all the way to The Undiscovered Country. You'll also get a pretty sweet limited edition Starfleet pin/magnet and some cool mini-posters for the films designed by artist Juan Ortiz. Check out an unboxing video from Jordan Hoffman, the host of Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast:

The only slight disappointment is that it doesn't include Star Trek Generations, so you don't get to see the finale of Kirk's journey. I sort of wish they'd tossed that in there just for completion's sake, but on the other hand, I understand why they didn't: that movie is far more about Picard than it is about Kirk, and not every member of the original cast was included in it, so I can see why they'd want a clean delineation after The Undiscovered Country.

But everything you do get in this set is extraordinary. There's a new, two-and-a-half-hour, multi-part documentary called The Journey To The Silver Screen which covers the history of the franchise from when it was saved from cancellation by a fan campaign all the way through production of the first six films. For someone like me who has seen all of the movies but didn't know the in-depth history behind the making of all of them, it was incredibly valuable to be able to get a crash course in the time it takes to watch a feature length movie, and the interviews (including with people like Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer) are often engaging and enlightening. And if all of that wasn't enough, there are over 20 hours of previously-released bonus content spread across the entire set! It's a truly insane amount of stuff, and would be a crown jewel in the collection of any diehard Trek fan. 

And unlike that ridiculously overpriced Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings set (which also includes 30 discs), you won't have to drop a mind-blowing $800 for this box set. When Mick wrote about this set a little while back, he guessed it'd be around $200, and that's pretty damn accurate: it's listed at $208, but right now, it's on sale at Amazon for only $129.99. Let us know if you plan on snagging one of these sets for yourself! I'm going to spend the next few weeks watching The Original Series all the way through from start to finish for the first time.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Shares Details About MARY POPPINS RETURNS, Will Host SNL

I haven't seen Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway sensation Hamilton, and even though people love the soundtrack and go on and on about how great it is, I'm purposefully trying to avoid hearing anything from the show until I get to experience the play in person for myself. But I know enough about the man behind the show to be excited that he's playing a character in Mary Poppins Returns, Disney's upcoming sequel to the classic 1964 hit.

Miranda sat down with Variety and talked about his role in the movie:

"It's straight up a sequel. Michael and Jane Banks have grown up, and they find themselves in their own spot, and Mary Poppins comes back to take care of Michael's kids. I play a lamplighter named Jack who sort of grew up apprenticing to Bert. So I know if Mary Poppins shows up, it's gonna get awesome. I perform that function in the movie, of saying: 'Y'all don’t know about Mary Poppins. When Mary’s around, cool sh– happens.'"

That's the first time we've heard that his character knew Dick Van Dyke's Bert directly, so that's a cool little detail. Emily Blunt is playing Mary Poppins, Ben Whishaw will play the grown-up Michael Banks, and Meryl Streep also has a role.

Miranda is working with Disney not only on this film, but he's helping with the music for the upcoming animated movie Moana and he's also teaming with Alan Menken to write songs for their live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. The Disney animated films of the late '80s and early '90s had a profound impact on him when he was growing up:

“My God, those Disney musicals,” he said. “I feel really lucky that I was a kid when they went on that run of animated musicals, starting with ‘The Little Mermaid.’ Not just animated movies, animated musicals. Howard Ashman [the late writer-lyricist of ‘Mermaid,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Aladdin’] figured out, ‘Oh my God, I can make even better musicals under this system than I can Off Broadway.’ I have never been more transported in my life than when ‘Under the Sea’ first started when I was nine years old. I said, ‘I cannot believe what is happening to me,’ and that feeling of vertigo in a movie theater. Something I’ve been chasing ever since. To be part of that legacy, and then ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King,’ it was just this incredible run that happened when I was ages 9 to 14. It’s very formative to me. I’m thrilled to be a part of that tradition.”

Additionally, NBC announced that Miranda will host Saturday Night Live on October 8th, which will be the new season's second episode. (Margot Robbie is hosting the premiere this coming weekend.) Twenty One Pilots will be the official musical guest for Miranda's episode, but I have to assume Miranda himself will get to sing during at least part of the show (maybe during a pre-taped sketch destined to be a viral hit).

Mary Poppins Returns hits theaters on December 25, 2018.

Jon Favreau to Helm Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ Live Action Adaptation!

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by: Josh Outred – Staff Writer

Jon Favreau, the man who blew everyone’s collective mind by breathing new life into this year’s live action adaptation of The Jungle Book, has been confirmed as the director for the much expected The Lion King adaptation.

Favreau’s Lion King will follow in the footsteps of other recent takes on Disney classics such as, Cinderella and next year’s The Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson.

The Live-action/CGI remake will be the first rendition of the animated classic to hit the big screen since its initial release in 1994, in which the film bought in $968.8 million globally. The film is expected to keep the iconic songs such as “Hakuna Matata”, and is set to film in the African Savannah.

The Lion King centers around a young lion named Simba whose father; Mufasa is murdered by his evil uncle Scar. No release date has been set as of yet, but expect to be awed by Jon Favreau when he takes us all on a magical journey!

Disney has been really impressing audiences with their live action adaptations and if The Jungle Book is any indication, Favreau is going to bring us something really special with The Lion King.


Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE Conjures Up Four More Posters

Continuing the onslaught of Doctor Strange publicity, Marvel Studios has released four more posters for the upcoming superhero film (following the three they dropped yesterday). First up, there's an IMAX poster that literally delves into the mind of the title character:

I'm not quite sure what to think about that design. I like that they're at least trying to do something interesting with it, but I'm not convinced they pulled it off. It might be just a bit too literal.

In any case, here are three more character posters, and these concentrate on supporting players Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

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Again, the designs here are a little too topsy-turvy for me. I get that they represent the intended tone of the movie and the idea that Strange's world isn't what it appears to be, but these are so disorienting, I wouldn't want to hang them on my wall. I feel like I'd lose my balance or something every time I walked past them. But I loved the new trailer that came out yesterday, so make sure to watch that if you haven't yet.

Doctor Strange arrives in theaters on November 4, 2016.

PINKY AND THE BRAIN and ANIMANIACS Coming To Funko Pop

Sometimes I like to imagine what the world would be like if Animaniacs were still on the air today. It would probably be the same, but we'd have a lot more Animaniacs episodes to cherish and laugh at. I especially would like to see how they would cover the recent trend of superhero movies. 

We'll never know about any of that, but we can still celebrate our love of Animaniacs as well as Pinky and The Brain with this new Funko Pop line!

Looks like both lineups will be appearing in stores this fall. Check them out in the pictures below.

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