News Round-up – Greatest films of the century, J-Law tops highest paid list and more

Lists provided the biggest news in the world of cinema this week, with a BBC list provoking serious debate with a rather surprising first place film. Slightly more predictable were the annual lists from Forbes of the highest paid actors and actresses in Hollywood, which simply served to confirm the main faces at the pinnacle of the film industry.

There was also a brand new trailer for a horror film that has been in development for months, more speculation regarding upcoming Marvel releases and sad news for fans of the Mission: Impossible franchise.

Here’s your round-up of this week’s movie news.


Mulholland Drive named best modern classic

Mulholland Drive, In the Mood for Love, There Will Be Blood, Spirited Away
Mulholland Drive topped the list of the greatest films of the 21st century

David Lynch’s surrealist mystery film Mulholland Drive has been named the greatest film of the 21st century so far. A poll of more than 150 critics, carried out by the BBC, decided that Lynch’s 2001 movie was the best of the last 15 years, followed by Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love, Paul Thomas Anderson drama There Will Be Blood and Studio Ghibli animation Spirited Away. The rest of the list was a mixture of critical darlings and audience favourites.

It’s tough to argue with most of the films on the list, but it certainly skews towards traditionally critic-friendly films at the expense of more crowd-pleasing fare. It was refreshing to see a strong Pixar presence on the list and there’s certainly an interesting selection of foreign language films, which make up more than half of the entries. Of course, these lists are intended to provoke debate rather than prove definitive and, if this encourages people to seek out more diverse films, it deserves to be welcomed.


J-Law and The Rock top highest paid actors lists

Jennifer Lawrence and Dwayne Johnson have been named the highest paid actors in the world
Jennifer Lawrence and Dwayne Johnson have been named the highest paid actors in the world
(Photos: Gage Skidmore and Eva Rinaldi)

Jennifer Lawrence and Dwayne Johnson were the highest paid performers in Hollywood over the last 12 months, according to the annual lists from Forbes. The gender pay gap, about which Lawrence has spoken out in the past, was apparent in the list. Lawrence’s $46m haul at the top of the women’s list was dwarfed by the $64.5m made by Johnson as he kicked Robert Downey Jr off the top of the highest earning men list. Johnson’s recent work in successful action movies and comedies, including the Fast & Furious franchise, sent him skyrocketing up the list, whilst Lawrence benefited from her X-Men roles and the success of the final Hunger Games movie.

Melissa McCarthy came in second place on the women’s list, with her $33m total, and it was martial arts legend Jackie Chan who was the men’s runner-up, scoring $61m. The rest of the list is mostly full of the usual suspects, but it is refreshing to see two relatively new stars of blockbuster cinema out-earning their more seasoned peers. Given how innately charismatic both Lawrence and Johnson are, it’s clear that likeability is what sells.


Doug Liman snapped up for Justice League Dark

Doug Liman at Comic-Con in 2013
Doug Liman at Comic-Con in 2013 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Warner Bros has been flirting with a Justice League Dark movie for a long time and the project has gone through a number of iterations, with Guillermo del Toro attached to direct at one stage. It seems as if the project is finally moving forward, under the title Dark Universe, with Doug Liman set to direct. Liman has shown action and sci-fi competency with both The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow making an impact. Variety broke the news of Liman’s involvement in the movie, which will feature a darker superteam, headlined by fan favourite character John Constantine.

Justice League Dark is certainly an appealing proposition on paper, but the DC universe is not short of darkness even in its main continuity. It feels as if Dark Universe could be a step too far in the direction of bleakness and misery. On the strength of Suicide Squad, it’s fair to say that balancing tone is something DC can’t quite figure out.


Sadako returns in Rings trailer

Matilda Lutz in the new trailer for Rings
Matilda Lutz in the new trailer for Rings

The Ring franchise is one of the most iconic holdovers from the J-Horror boom of the late 1990s and 2000s. More than ten years after The Ring Two, the American arm of the franchise is set for a reboot at the hands of director F Javier Gutiérrez. This week, a creepy new trailer for the film surfaced online and it seems to be standard horror reboot fare. Wisely, Rings seems to get the famed ‘walking out of the television’ scare away early, at least if the trailer is anything to go by.

There isn’t much in the trailer for Rings that suggests it’s going to be any more successful than the dozens of unsuccessful horror retreads that currently fill up the cinematic graveyard. The teaser seems to give away almost the entire plot of the movie, not exactly leaving too much to the imagination. The only consolation is that bad horror movies tend to have good trailers, and vice versa, which suggests that Rings could prove to be a pleasantly spine-tingling surprise.


Captain Marvel director shortlist down to three

Brie Larson was unveiled as Captain Marvel at Comic-Con in 2016
Brie Larson was unveiled as Captain Marvel at Comic-Con in 2016 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Marvel’s female-led superhero movie Captain Marvel, headlined by Brie Larson, is drawing ever closer and there’s now a shortlist of three for the job, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s a diverse trio of names, whittled down from an all-women shortlist that at one point included Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) and Jennifer Yuh (Kung Fu Panda). Marvel is chatting to Niki Caro (Whale Rider), Homeland director Lesli Linka Glatter and Lorene Scafaria, who made her directorial debut with Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

The Hollywood Reporter also revealed an interesting tidbit for Marvel fans this week, with the revelation that Community creator Dan Harmon had a hand in writing the script for Doctor Strange. The report says that Harmon was brought on board after principal photography for additional material, which was presumably of the comedic variety. Given the fact that Harmon’s Community buddies, the Russo Brothers, are now among the studio’s top dogs, it’s no surprise that they’re putting in a good word for Harmon.


Mission: Impossible 6 hits the pause button

Rebecca Ferguson and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Rebecca Ferguson and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

The pre-production work that had started on Paramount’s Mission: Impossible 6 has been brought to an abrupt halt, according to a report over at Deadline. It seems that the problem has been brought about as a result of tensions around star Tom Cruise‘s pay packet. Cruise is making a considerable sum over at Universal, where he is starring in the reboot of The Mummy, and he wants Paramount to match that. Given the reliable box office dynamite that the franchise is for Paramount, Cruise will almost certainly get his wish.

Cruise is one of the most powerful and bankable stars in Hollywood and it is his daredevil antics that have helped make the franchise such a cash cow for Paramount. There are very few sure things in cinema at the moment, but Mission: Impossible is one of them and so the studio will be fully prepared to give their leading man exactly what he wants to ensure that he keeps dangling out of planes for them.


Sam Mendes eyes new Roald Dahl adaptation

Sam Mendes is in talks to adapt Roald Dahl novel James and the Giant Peach
Sam Mendes is in talks to adapt Roald Dahl novel James and the Giant Peach
(Photos: Wee Sen Goh and US Embassy London)

All signs seem to suggest that Sam Mendes is now done with James Bond, after directing both Skyfall and Spectre. It looks likely that his next project could be a Roald Dahl adaptation, with Deadline reporting that Mendes is in early talks to direct a live-action version of James and the Giant Peach, from a script penned by Nick Hornby. The film will be the latest Dahl adaptation to hit cinema screens, following the recent revamp of The BFG.

Mendes is an interesting choice to take on a Dahl property and is certainly a safe pair of blockbuster hands in the wake of his Bond work. James and the Giant Peach is not one of the more beloved Dahl stories, so it doesn’t have the instant name recognition of The BFG. With the right packaging, however, it could easily raise the reputation of the story.


What are your favourite films of the 2000s? Did the Rings trailer send a shiver down your spine? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.

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