Review: INFERNO Isn’t Quite The 7th Circle of Hell, But It’s Close

It’s been ten years since The Da Vinci Code saw its theatrical release, and six since its sequel, Angels and Demons. That seems like a long time to wait before releasing a third movie, especially since the first two received lukewarm reviews. For a franchise built on the observation and study of historical clues, you’d think they’d learn their lesson. But when you have names like Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, and Hans Zimmer on your payroll, why not go for broke? 

Inferno is the third installment in the film adaptations of author Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series, which has four books with a fifth due out next year. The books have been quite successful, unlike their cinematic counterparts, which have seen diminishing returns at the box office. This latest film doesn’t look like it’s going to be any different.

Inferno stars Tom Hanks in his recurring role as the famed symbologist Robert Langdon. It opens with Langdon waking up in a hospital in Florence, unsure of why he’s there. Between disturbing — but super cool — hallucinations of mutilated bodies, medieval battles, and rivers of blood, he meets Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) who tells him he has a head wound and is suffering from mild retrograde amnesia, which would explain why he doesn’t have a clue as to what he’s been up to for the last two days. But before he has time to figure out what is going on, a police officer shows up and starts shooting at him. Luckily, he and Sienna are able to escape.

Once safe, Sienna and Langdon discover a “bio-tube” (high-tech device meant to transport small, highly dangerous substances) in Langdon’s coat. Inside, they find an object that projects an image onto the wall: Botticelli's Map of Hell, as described by Dante in “The Divine Comedy.” Who said high school English wouldn’t come in handy?

Inside this image, someone has hidden an anagram with a secret message. As it turns out, this someone is the now-deceased eccentric billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) who believes that mass genocide is the key to saving humanity, if that makes sense. Zobrist has created a plague-like virus that will be released unless Langdon can do what he does best: solving global scavenger hunts using his vast knowledge of art history! In addition to a race against time to save humankind, Langdon and Sienna are also on the run from the World Health Organization, as well as the cop from the hospital, who actually isn’t a cop at all, but a hired gun employed by a mysterious company. You just can’t trust anyone these days.

This film had a fantastic opening that immediately grabbed my attention, but as the story progressed, I struggled to keep up with all the different characters and their motives. And while I have found myself genuinely entertained by all three of these films, even I admit there were enormous gaps in the plot that were lazily glossed over or just plain ignored. And as if that weren’t bad enough, there's not one, but two half-hearted love stories, one of which is completely irrelevant to the plot.

Having only read The Da Vinci Code, I can’t say how well this movie stayed true to the book, but I have a feeling that the book is probably much better. That’s sad because Dan Brown seems like a really smart guy who does a lot of research to back up his stories. If you liked the other two movies, definitely check this one out, but otherwise, I’d say give it a pass.

Tom Cruise Will Play Biblical Elder METHUSELAH For Warner Bros.

Deadline reports that Tom Cruise will star in Warner Bros.' Methuselah, a movie about the Biblical man who lived longer than any man in history (some believe he lived to be 969 years old). But how can an action movie stalwart like Cruise make playing the oldest man who ever lived into something worthy of his particular set of skills?

This will be an epic vehicle for Warner Bros that calls for someone of [Cruise's] stature to take on the heavy-hitting role of a man who lived for almost 1,000 years without aging, all while developing a set of unparalleled survival skills.

So he'll be a survivalist badass, not some crooked-backed geezer with a cane. That sounds a little more like the Cruise I know. Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts producer David Heyman is on board to produce, and the film will be directed by Joachim Rønning, one half of the directing duo responsible for Disney's upcoming sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Zach Dean wrote the script, but the project is apparently being sent out to other writers to put more of a Cruise-y spin on it before it circles back to the actor for approval.

The story must have really piqued Cruise's interest, because I find it a little odd that he'd be willing to play a Biblical figure when he's so ingrained in Scientology. I'm not saying that actors should only play characters who align with their own personal faiths or beliefs, but Cruise is such a heavily public figurehead for Scientology that, from everything I've seen and read, I'm honestly surprised David Miscavige would allow Cruise to go after a project like this.

WESTWORLD Star Evan Rachel Wood Says The Season 1 Finale is Mind-Blowing

The cynical among you can feel free to simply chalk this up as another example of an actress hyping up her own work in order to get people to tune in, but those who are excited about HBO's Westworld will certainly be tantalized by star Evan Rachel Wood's comments regarding the season one finale. We're only four episodes into the first season, and with six more episodes to go, we're all on even ground: critics were given access to the first four episodes early, but now we'll all have to watch it live at the same time to see how the story unfolds. And according to Wood, "the surprises will floor you" and when we watch episodes 9 and 10, we should be ready "to have your heart broken and your mind blown."

/Film points us to an interview Wood did with The Huffington Post, in which she gave us more ideas about what to expect:

“We’re getting out of Sweetwater and getting deeper into the park, on the outskirts. We’ve established that the farther out you go, the more intense the game gets, and man, were they not kidding because when we started getting the scripts after episodes five, and episode five, it was like, ‘Whoa! OK!’” Wood said. “Not only are they dropping bombs left and right, but some of the days on set, I would be like, ‘Look, I’ve seen some stuff, and this is WILD,’” said Wood, later adding: “It will only continue to get more and more intense and more relentless. We’ve set everything up really beautifully and the payoffs are going to start hitting you one by one.”

That definitely sounds good to me. I'm sort of in a weird place with this show, because I really like the mysterious aspects of it, but I don't think I care about the main characters as much as the show wants me to at this stage. I'm hoping that they dive a little deeper into the characterization as the season progresses, but I must say I'm looking forward to all of those payoffs as season one blasts through its back half and to a close. What do you think about Wood's comments, and about the show itself so far?

New Photo and Description Released From THE BIG LEBOWSKI Spin-Off Featuring “The Jesus”

In case you weren't aware, there is a spin-off of the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski in the works. We saw the first photo of actor John Turturro from Going Places a little while back, and now /Film points us to a new photo and a description of the film that will focus on the minor Lebowski character Jesus Quintana. 

John Turturro plays Jesus Quintana in GOING PLACES, a film about a trio of misfits whose irreverent, sexually charged dynamic evolves into a surprising love story as their spontaneous and flippant attitude towards the past or future backfires time and again, even as they inadvertently perform good deeds. When they make enemies with a gun-toting hairdresser, their journey becomes one of constant escape from the law, from society and from the hairdresser, all while the bonds of their outsider family strengthen.

That sounds interesting! While I'm more than happy to hear we get more Turturro, I was a little leery about a film featuring a character described as a pederast in the film. Perhaps Jesus will tell the full story and it's possible Walter Sobjack was mistaken? 

Let's hope this film is as good as the one it's spinning off from!

Cubs Fan Bill Murray Will Sing Tonight During The World Series

Actor and Chicago Cubs fan Bill Murray will be singing during the seventh inning stretch of tonight's World Series game between the Cubs and Cleveland Indians. THR says Murray will sing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" as the Cubs and Indians continue their battle; they're currently tied 1-1 and tonight is game 3 of the series. 

Murray made news last week for crashing the White House press conference room and announcing the Cubs would beat the L.A. Dodgers to move on to the World Series:

The game airs tonight on Fox at 8pm EST. You can check out some of our recent World-Series-related coverage here and here.

THOR: RAGNAROK Director Confirms PLANET HULK Character; Plus Check Out Thor’s New Costume

Talk about Marvel Studios making a Planet Hulk movie has been brewing for years, and it turns out that while the company isn't exactly adapting the storyline directly, they're incorporating a bunch of elements from it into Taika Waititi's upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. In the background of the set video the director posted to Facebook last night, The Hollywood Reporter noticed something very interesting:

Waititi did let something unexpected slip, introducing an actor who's playing a character called Miek. That name should sound familiar to Marvel's comic book faithful — he was an alien who teamed with the Hulk to overthrow a despotic regime that forced slaves to fight gladiatorial battles in order to survive on the planet Sakaar.

We know that Thor is teaming up with Mark Ruffalo's Hulk, who exiled himself at the end of Age of Ultron, in the new movie, and that Jeff Goldblum is playing The Grandmaster who oversees gladiatorial combat of alien races, so while this won't be a complete, 100% adaptation of what fans have been wanting, it sounds like there will be plenty of nods and elements incorporated to satiate those who've had their fingers crossed for a Planet Hulk movie.

Additionally, Hemsworth took the opportunity to apologize for an insensitive costume he wore at a party last year. This is a classy move, because as Pajiba points out, he's apologizing of his own volition and hasn't been shamed into doing it. It's not a PR move, it's a genuine apology, which makes it infinitely better. In any case, you can see Thor's new costume in the photo below.

Cool Superhero Short Film SIDEKICK Features Josh Dallas, Emily Bett Rickards, and Tom Cavanagh

If Prince Charming, Felicity, and Harrison Wells all do a short film together, you bet your ass it's gonna be on here! Josh Dallas takes on Tom Cavanagh in his son's fantasy in the incredibly well-done Sidekick! For a short film, the production budget must be pretty high. I'm guessing whoever funded this had some deep pockets to begin with if they were able to scoop up this talent for a 15-minute feature. Check it out below. 

Toy Reveals The New Look of POWER RANGERS Dinozord

The new Red Dinozord looks a lot different than its classic counterpart, according to io9. I might be in the minority in saying it's a good thing, because c'mon guys, there's no chance this one was making it in the upcoming Power Rangers film:

It looks so cheesy now that I'm out of the '90s! Anyway, it appears as though the new Dinozord will have one glowing blue cyclops eye, a giant gun mounted on the back, and look a lot less like a Voltron ripoff. 

In addition to that, we also got a look at the new Morphers and Jason's sword:

I'm indifferent on the sword, but damn, that Morpher is dope! I like it better than the classic one!

Heroes Will Have Varying Screen Times in Both AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Films

When it comes down to how the screen time will divide out between the speculated massive cast for Avengers: Infinity War, it's all about balance. Comicbook did a great breakdown of the interviews the Marvel team has given on the film where they still have yet to confirm the entire cast selection for the two-film saga and who will be at the either films' forefront. One thing that is certain is that Kevin Feige has faith in his screenwriters:

“Well it’s about the screenplay and Chris Markus and Steve McFeely — out of everyone we’ve worked with — have a very deft hand with balance...There are a lot of characters in [the first] Captain America; there are a lot of characters in The Winter Soldier, and of course Civil War has as many as we’ve ever had, so it’s in very capable hands [when] it comes to divvying up the storylines in a way that services a primary narrative but [also] showcases many characters.”

Feige also went on to say they don't have a definitive number of how many heroes you'll see on screen at once, but assured that those scenes where there are a massive amount of heroes are few and far between. 

Screenwriters Chris Markus and Steve McFeely shared their opinion on the script, and compared it to Civil War:

“When outlining it we certainly had those conversations. I mean in the same way that in Civil War not everyone has the same amount of scenes or lines, I think you can assume that with so many characters we'll have to be as rigorous, right? Where we say, 'well these people will have sort of larger stories and these people will have smaller stories,' and hopefully, they can flip in some cases. I know a few right off the top of my head that have a small part here and bigger part here."

I like that. It's good to know not everyone is going to be thrown in all at the same time, and I think it keeps it interesting to have the film focus on a separate set of characters. I'm guessing this means different battles will be taking place simultaneously at different locations around the world...and maybe in space?!

As was reported last year, Robert Downey Jr. is rumored to be getting $100 million per film, so it's safe to say he's going to have a large part in both films. My guess is that there will be several smaller cameos with some other characters outside of The Avengers' core cast, and possibly the Guardians of the Galaxy. 

If Marvel plans on bringing their entire TV and film cast into the film (which they've hinted at doing)...that's an insane amount of people. That's also an expensive list, considering the caliber of talent across the board! My only guess is that cutting down screen time would be the only way to take guys like Benedict Cumberbatch, and cut them a substantially smaller check than they typically net. Something interesting Chris Markus added to the earlier statement has me curious:

"Yeah, the people in the background in one will come to the foreground in the second one. You know there will be moments where every last damn person who is still alive will be in the same room, and those are just a nightmare to write because Marvel, being very good about hiring very good actors who like, the 15th person there has two Oscars, and it's like oh my god. So yeah, it's crazy."

So are people getting killed off? Sounds intense, but then again you almost have to end The Avengers films after this, because how will you top it?! I'm getting too excited just thinking about it. How do you think they'll make it work?