The final presentation of the convention was similar to the Warner Brothers presentation in that a comedian, Lil Rel Howery, hosted the festivities. Following a few statements by David Spitz, president of domestic distribution, and Joe Drake and Patrick Wachsberger, co-chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, regarding their commitment to the theater experience and sharing their enthusiasm for their past accomplishments and future endeavors, Lil Rel Howery took to the stage to get the audience energy up. Fortunately, his talent for stand up comedy did keep our attention. One film that only got mentioned early on was The Kingkiller Chronicle, based on a series of novels by Patrick Rothfuss. It will be directed by Sam Raimi and produced by Lin Manuel Miranda, which I thought was an interesting pairing. No further information was given since it’s in the early stages of development. Here is a rundown of films being released by Lionsgate.
Since Lil Rel Howery is in the film Uncle Drew, it only made sense for him to promote it at every chance he could. And he had at least two chances because he played two clips of the film in between other film announcements. Uncle Drew stars Kyrie Irving as the title character and is based on a series Pepsi Max commercials. In these commercials, Kyrie Irving, in full old man makeup, goes to real neighborhood basketball games and convinces the players to let him join in. The end result is somewhat funny. In this extended film adaptation, Lil Rel’s character Dax discovers Uncle Drew at a game and convinces him to compete in a tournament in Harlem. The film also stars Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, and Nick Kroll, who both offer their own unique brand of comedy gold. The actual athletes in the movie, besides Irving, include Shaquille O’Neal, Lisa Leslie, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, and Reggie Miller. They are all supposed to be old, retired citizens. The makeup is pretty good. Although I think Shaq still looks pretty intimidating no matter hold old he looks. The all do actually. I’ve watched the trailer a few times and the clips that were shown down give me any more faith in this movie. I’m hoping the overall tone of the film will work in its favor. Uncle Drew comes out June 29, 2018.
We were treated to an appearance by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, the writers and stars of Blindspotting. The film is about an Oakland native named Collin(Diggs), a guy on probation who has friends that still engage in criminal activity. When Collin witnesses someone being gunned down by a police officer, after he was surrendering, his life becomes a nightmare for him and everyone he knows. The film delves into themes about race and class, with Collin’s journey being our window through it all. Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal had prepared something to say before the presentation but decided instead to write a spoken word poem that very morning to better explain the purpose of the movie. Following the trailer they went for five minutes uninterrupted, explaining the problems of our society with regard to race and repeatedly reciting the names of victims murdered by police officers. It was one of the most powerful moments I ever witnessed and the one line that stuck with me was, “How perfect does a black man have to be for him to be mourned?” It was raw, extremely personal, and I am definitely invested in this film now. You can see the performance below with the trailer, which also packs an emotional punch. the film also stars Ethan Embry, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Wayne Knight. Blindspotting comes out July 20, 2018.
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis came to the stage to promote the latest film, which tells the story of a woman who finds out who ex-boyfriend(Justin Theroux) is a spy. They somehow become involved in whatever operation he is working on and unceremoniously become spies themselves. The film looks funny enough, but comedy like this doesn’t always land so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I was, however, entertained by Mila Kunis explaining what to expect in the film while Kate McKinnon performed a figurative dance. Their chemistry does come off well in person and on screen. The Spy Who Dumped Me, directed by Susanna Fogel, comes out August 3, 2018.
Kin tells the story of a young boy(Miles Truitt) named Eli, whose older brother(Jack Reynor) just got of prison. When Eli’s brother runs afoul of the criminals he used to run with, he helps with a strange weapon he discovered in an abandoned building. What follows is a combination of gang-related storytelling and science fiction. Using that added piece of futuristic technology allows this film to deviate from the normal path I would expect a movie like this to go. I am also a big fan of Jack Reynor ever since Sing Street and Free Fire. The film also stars Dennis Quaid and Zoe Kravitz. Shawn Levy is producing and introduced the film via a short video since he could not attend the presentation. Kin is directed by Jonathan and Josh Baker and comes out August 31, 2018.
Lil Rel Howery introduced a trailer for the horror movie Hell Fest, directed by Gregory Plotkin since there was no one from the film attending. Other than Tony Todd, I didn’t easily recognize any of the other actors in this film. A quick check of their IMDB pages shows a lot of television work though. Hell Fest is about a serial killer at an amusement park. He terrorizes the victims via a haunted house attraction and leaves their corpses hidden in plain sight. When a group of teenagers attend this particular attraction and disregarding what they believe to be only rumors and urban legends, they are soon overcome by bloodshed and chaos. There is nothing to indicate that this film will not be anything more than B-movie schlock material, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of bad scary movies that still succeed on their own merit. I give every horror film I see the benefit of the doubt. And with expectations this low, you can’t go wrong. Other than the film synopsis and cast info, there is next to nothing online about this film, including the trailer we were shown. Hopefully, you get to see that trailer later this year so you can judge for yourself. Hell Fest comes out October 12, 2018.
A Simple Favor
Paul Feig, Anna Kendrick, and Blake Lively were in attendance to present this film. They decided the best way to explain the movie was by giving a martini demonstration. Blake Lively had all the necessary tools and ingredients on stage to make the perfect martini. She made sure to point out that you don’t add ice. When she presented the martini to Paul Feig, the director, he drank it and asked if Blake had poisoned him. He then collapsed to the floor and was carried off the stage by two men. It was a strange presentation, to say the least, but it definitely got your attention. A Simple Favor is about two moms, Stephanie and Emily, who meet while dropping their kids off at schools. They share stories over drinks and become good acquaintances. Stephanie(Kendrick) is the more middle-class mom you can relate to and Emily(Lively) is the wealthy, cynical mom who tries to keep her distance emotionally. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie pours through her friend’s life to uncover what might have happened, revealing layer upon layer of secrets and deceit. This is a very different film for Paul Feig, who is best known for Bridesmaids and the Ghostbusters reboot. Based on the trailer we saw, I got hints of Gone Girl. I don’t know if this film can reach those heights of entertaining drama, but it did look interesting. There is no trailer released yet to the public. A Simple Favor is based on a novel by Darcey Bell and comes out September 14, 2018.
A short video of Gerard Butler was shown to us. He explained his new movie Hunter Killer was a throwback to the old 90’s action films. It’s about an American submarine captain who teams with the Navy Seals to rescue the president of Russia. Just the plot alone screams 90’s sales pitch. The movie also stars Gary Oldman, Linda Cardellini, Billy Bob Thornton, and Common. The footage we were shown looked pretty good and decent enough to be a full trailer. There were lots of explosions and tense exchanges between the characters. I can’t say any of it was memorable, but for a popcorn action flick, I’m sure it will be a fun experience when it arrives in theaters October 26, 2018. No public trailer has been released yet.
The last film of the presentation was Robin Hood and I was excited that both Jamie Foxx and Taron Egerton were present to show us footage. The movie is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Otto Bathurst. The story is pretty much what you would expect from a Robin Hood film, with Egerton’s character Robin getting training from mentor Little John, played by Jamie Foxx, in order to wage a revolt and defeat the corruption of English rule. The nemesis in this movie is played by Ben Mendelsohn of course, who plays the Sheriff of Nottingham. The film also stars Jamie Dornan. There was a lot of fight scenes in the footage and a few explosions, but, truthfully, I remain skeptical of what this movie offers from an emotional narrative. There was nothing that connected me to the characters on a human level; so I’m guessing the studio was just trying to sell this movie to theater owners based on star power and action sequences alone. Whether that pays off is another story entirely. No trailer has been released for this film since it comes out November 21, 2018. I personally have lost interest in any further retelling of the Robin Hood story. When a trailer is eventually released, it has an uphill battle convincing me to see it.