Aladdin’s Naomi Scott Set To Star Alongside Anthony Ramos In Sci-Fi Film ‘Distant’

Naomi Scott had quite the breakout performance as Princess Jasmine in the 2019 live-action adaptation of Aladdin. The film wasn’t exactly a hit with the critics but it made over $1 billion at the box office, so we’d call that a huge success.

And now we are learning what Scott’s next project will be. According to reports, she’ll star alongside Hamilton’s Anthony Ramos in the upcoming comedic sci-fi film, Distant.

The film tells the story of an asteroid miner who, after crash-landing on an alien planet, must contend with the challenges of his new surroundings, while making his way across the harsh terrain to the only other survivor – a woman who is trapped in her escape pod. 

Rachel Brosnahan (from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) was set to star in the film, but she had to pull out due to a scheduling conflict.

The directors behind ‘Blades of Gory‘ will direct the script, which was written by Spenser Cohen.

No word on a potential release date, but we’ll keep you posted.

Movie Review: The 33 – A Grueling Watch, But In a Good Way

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Ok, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Antonio Banderas in a serious movie, not one that immediately comes to mind. But here’s something amazing.

Dude can act.

The 33 is the story of the 33 mine workers trapped 200 stories below the surface in a Chilean mine cave in during 2010. The men were down there for 69 torturous days. While an exciting premise, this is more of a movie about relationships than it is about the rescue effort.

I will admit it’s a grueling watch, but in a good way. Banderas brought a level this character that I didn’t even know he was capable of. I think the acting was quite well done in this movie, and Banderas really led the way with a strong performance.

One major problem I have with this is the score. While written by the late, great James Horner who performed amazing scores like the one for Titanic, this one was just too doggone overpowering for the movie. This isn’t a beautiful movie. It’s not about the visual effects of the scenery and I felt the score came on too strongly and really didn’t match the story.

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Also, despite the fact that the story is about the Chilean mine workers, it also brings in their families, showing their wives praying and fighting with politicians for their freedom. While the women in this film put forth a good effort, I feel as though they cut back to them a bit too much, when they really could have just gone with the stronger story going on underground.

Another thing that threw me…this was supposed to happen in Chile, right? Then why are there so many white people there? While again. the acting was good, I really felt they went a bit to heavy handed on the white actors getting crammed into the script.

While this is a strong effort, I felt like three narrative lines were two too many. I think the film should have centrally focused on the miners and allowed those additional stories to take more of a back seat. The three different narratives become unwieldy and make a relatively simple, clean plot, seem messy.

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Despite that, this movie does deliver on its message of hope. I feel that it really did capture the essence of the original mine collapse story and did credit to their source material.

It’s a very good effort and worth the watch for the acting alone, though I strongly recommend bringing some ear plugs to the over the top score. I’m pretty sure not every spot in Chile has someone playing the Spanish guitar, especially not 200 feet below the surface. In that, this was a case where silence would have spoken louder and been far more dramatic.

This is a more cerebral movie than you’d expect. Despite the fact that the actions were dramatic, the movie isn’t so much about the drama as it is the relationships forged through the drama. It’s a strong effort and one of Antonio Banderas’ best performance.
WE GAVE IT: 4 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

4 stars

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Movie Review: The Martian (2015) – A Sharp, Clever Movie That Is Free From Sappy Sentimentality

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The Martian, featuring Matt Damon, is crushing it at the box offices and pleasing critics alike. So what is it about this space based flick that has so many people rushing to the theaters, while calling it Scot Ridley’s best movie since Blackhawk Down? Let’s find out.

The premise is a bit of Cast Away, without the crippling depression and soccer ball friends. Matt Damon plays Matt Watney, an astronaut who went on a mission to Mars, only to get left behind after his crew gives him up for dead following a storm. The movie is surprisingly simple, with Watney trying to find a way to get home, while the people back at NASA try to get him back. There’s also a lot of film time that features the crew that left him behind. Despite three different storylines and scenes going on, they manage to match it all together pretty seamlessly.

Matt Damon is pretty impressive in this movie, playing the affable and sarcastic Watney with cocky vulnerability. He plays his part with enough humor to keep this from turning into a heart pounding Gravity copy, and instead, making it a bit lighter and fun.

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What I loved about this movie was the complete absence of clichés. The only thing working against Matt was time. There are no evil politicians plotting against him, no crazy space aliens or weirdly nefarious rivals bent on his demise. Instead it’s a space movie that focuses on the science of space, rather than the fantastic.

That allowed Matt’s character to create his own urgency, rather than driving it with a cliché like a wife pining away for him at home, or a precocious kid begging the president of NASA to save his daddy. Instead they made Matt likeable enough in his own right to make people root for him.

Both Jessica Chastain and Jeff Daniels play leaders in their own right, with Chastain running the return crew and Daniel’s running the home base in NASA. Both leaders are compassionate and competent, devoutly devoted to bringing Mark home, even as time works against them.

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The movie is contained entirely within NASA. There’s no clichéd outside pressure or unnecessary characters. Instead, it plays out much in the same way I’d imagine a real space disaster would play out. The movie allows us to focus on that, without dragging us away into too many superfluous side stories.

For such a serious premise, the movie is surprisingly funny, with more than a few laugh out loud moments. The laughs come from a genuine place and fit in seamlessly, thanks to the excellent writing and surprisingly bare bones premise. It’s a sharp, clever movie that is free from sappy sentimentality.

It’s not just worth the watch. This is a must watch. For anyone who has ever doubted Matt Damon’s acting talent, this movie will make you look at him in a new way. This is a clever, refreshing intelligent movie that doesn’t try to be to high minded. It simply works that way because it was intelligently written.
WE GIVE IT: 4.5 STARS!

four and a half stars

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