Every Song From The Baby Driver Soundtrack, Ranked

Ansel Elgort as Baby in Baby Driver

Every once in a while, a movie comes along with such an awesome soundtrack that it can even overshadow the rest of the film. Sometimes the songs can be huge hits all on their own. Baby Driver is a perfect example, because let’s be honest, the music is central to the movie’s plot about a getaway driver for a bank robbery crew with tinnitus. The driver, named Baby, constantly listens to music to drown out the ringing in his hears, so music is key.

The music is not only central to the plot, but because the song choices are so cool, it adds almost all the style to the movie. Every scene and every car chase are elevated by the fantastic song choices made by director Edgar Wright and Steven Price, Baby Driver’s music composer. Music, driving, and stealing sunglasses are what makes Baby tick.

There are 30 tracks on the soundtrack, ranging from solid gold oldies to very modern choices and everything in between, so we’ve ranked from worst to best – but make no mistake, there really aren’t any bad songs in the lot.

Ansel Elgort and Jon Hamm in Baby Driver

30. “Was He Slow (Credit Roll Version)” – Kid Koala Featuring Kevin Spacey And Jon Bernthal

One of two original songs on the soundtrack and as is clear from the title, it’s the song over the end credits. It’s just a mishmash of quotes from the movie and the weakest song on the Baby Driver soundtrack.

29. “Tequila” – The Button Down Brass Band

An off-brand cover of the The Champs song from 1958 by an off-brand British copy of Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass. Easily ignored on Baby Driver’s great soundtrack.

28. “Unsquare Dance” – Dave Brubeck

This jazz number by the great Dave Brubeck is mostly clapping, drums, and bass. It works great to build tension; it’s not so great to listen to on its own.

27. “The Edge” – David McCallum

There is a lot of great jazz on the Baby Driver soundtrack, but this isn’t the best of the bunch. It is however, the sample for Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode,” which does make it pretty cool from that angle.

26. “Debora” – T. Rex

It’s difficult putting a band as awesome as T. Rex toward the bottom, at least for me, but this isn’t the band’s best song by a mile.

Earbuds in baby driver movie still

25. “Easy” – Sky Ferreira

“Easy” is a decent enough cover of The Commodores classic (which also appears in the movie), but it’s not deserving of being higher on this list of great songs.

24. “Intermission” – Blur

Like T. Rex, it’s hard to rank an amazing band like Blur this low on a ranked list, but this song is really kind of a throwaway from the group’s album Modern Life Is Rubbish and serves as an intermission on the album; in Baby Driver, the buildup of sound is used well, however.

23. “Kashmere” – Kashmere Stage Band

This funky number, played by a bunch of high school students no less, is a fantastic feel-good and move-your-feet kind of song. This stuff’s starting to get good!

22. “Every Little Bit Hurts” – Brenda Holloway

Motown’s Brenda Holloway is one of the lesser-known artists on that label’s legendary roster, but this song goes to show how great Motown was at producing incredible songs.

21. “Know How” – Young MC

Any song that samples “The Theme From Shaft” by Isaac Hayes is cheating. But it’s the best kind of cheating and Young MC nailed it with this one.

ansel Elgort's sunglasses in Baby Driver

20. “Bongolia” – Incredible Bongo Band

This may seem as if it is ranked a little high on the list; regardless, Incredible Bong Band’s music always sounds awesome on soundtracks.

19. “Smokey Joe’s La La” – Googie Rene

Such a fun little tune with easy lyrics and great beat to drive to. Play it now if you don’t know it off the top of your head.

18. “B.A.B.Y.” – Carla Thomas

Carla Thomas is a soul singer who has sadly been overshadowed over the years, but her powerful voice is on full display in this 1966 hit.

Brighton Rock by Queen on Baby's iPod

17. “Brighton Rock” – Queen

This is circus music from Queen. It’s a weird little song that is often overlooked in the band’s catalog, but it’s a great song with a great solo by Brian May – which is like half the track!

16. “Early in the Morning” – Alexis Korner

Alexis Korner is way more important to rock history than most people realize and this dripping, plotting, sweat-soaked track is weird and awesome and a great addition the Baby Driver soundtrack.

15. “Baby Driver” – Simon & Garfunkel

It’s pretty clear that this song inspired the whole movie. It’s not the most recognizable tune by this famous duo, but just check out the first couple lyrics to see how important this song is to the movie:

I was born one dark gray morn
With music coming in my ears

They call me Baby Driver
And once upon a pair of wheels
I hit the road and I’m gone

14. “Chase Me” – Danger Mouse Featuring Run The Jewels And Big Boi

“Chase Me” is the other of the two original songs on the Baby Driver soundtrack. This is by far the better one, with great performances by all three MCs and a great beat from Danger Mouse.

13. “Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)” – The Detroit Emeralds

Another track on the Baby Driver soundtrack that is more famous for being the sample in a hip hop song. This is used by De La Soul in “Say No,” but the original is fantastic.

12. “Harlem Shuffle” – Bob & Earl

This song is mostly famous for the horn fanfare that opens it (and was very famously sampled by House Of Pain), but it should be known for much more. The horns are fantastic throughout the whole song.

Neat Neat Neat by The Damned on on Baby's iPod

11. “Neat Neat Neat” – The Damned

In a movie with so much chaos, Baby Driver needed at least one chaotic punk song and this is one by a band that isn’t as well known as The Sex Pistols, brings a bit of the drama and anger that Johnny Rotten brought with the Pistols, but with more musical talent.

10. “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby” – Sam & Dave

There is nothing quite like that old time soul like Sam & Dave were the masters of.

9. “Never, Never Gonna Give You Up” – Barry White

The great Barry White and his silky smooth bass/baritone voice is unmatched in 20th century music. Honestly, anytime it appears anywhere, it’s one of the best.

Radar Love By Golden Earring on Baby's iPod

8. “Radar Love” by Golden Earring

Okay, this song might not deserve to be in the top ten usually, but “Radar Love” is one of — if not the — greatest driving song of all time and Baby Driver is a movie about driving, right? Seriously, put this one next time you hit the highway and hit the gas, that’s why it’s here.

7. “Egyptian Reggae” – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

This little weird ditty by the godfather of punk Jonathon Richman fits so perfectly in this movie it’s almost like it was written for it.

6. Bellbottoms – Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

While it’s not the best song in the movie (though it is awesome), it’s the most important song as it sets the tone right away for Baby Driver. Car chases and great music abound.

Ansel Elgort as Baby and Lily James as Debora in Baby Driver

5. “Debra” – Beck

Beck loves to show off sides of him you’d never expect and “Debra” is Beck channeling his inner Prince, falsetto and all, to outstanding results. This really is close to perfect.

4. “Let’s Go Away For Awhile” – The Beach Boys

If you are going to be including The Beach Boys on a soundtrack, choosing something from Pet Sounds is never a bad idea. Brian Wilson’s musical genius is on full display with this American classic.

3. “Nowhere To Run” – Martha And The Vandellas

“Nowhere to Run” is of the greatest Motown songs from the sixties,period. It’s so catchy and wonderful, it’s like you know the lyrics before you’ve ever heard it. It’s a song that’s impossible to ever get sick of and it were used in every movie ever, that’d be just fine. It’s a fantastic addition to the Baby Driver soundtrack.

2. “Hocus Pocus” – Focus

This is one of those songs that always makes everything awesome, whether it’s the scene in Baby Driver or a Nike Commercial, “Hocus Pocus” by Focus (yes, you have to say the full title and band name every time, because it’s awesome), makes the world a cooler place.

1. “Easy” – The Commodores

The easy pick? Probably. Not much needs to be said about this absolute classic of a song. Is there a person on earth that doesn’t like it? It’s just easy like Sunday morning and that’s alright with us.

Every good car chase needs great music and in Baby Driver, a movie with lots of car chases, the music is crucial to making them as wonderful as they are. Next time you steal a car or rob a bank, pop in your earbuds blast this soundtrack. Let’s hope when they make another one, the soundtrack will be just as good.

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Bond 25 Reportedly Hired An ‘Intimacy Coordinator’ For Sex Scenes

Cool cars, fancy gadgets, explicitly made alcoholic beverages and steamy sex scenes are all hallmarks of the James Bond film series, and I expect they will all be present for next year’s Bond 25. It’s that latter point, though, that may be undergoing some changes behind-the-scenes for Cary Joji Fukunaga’s movie if a new rumor is to be believed. That’s because Bond 25 has reportedly hired an ‘Intimacy Coordinator’ for its sex scenes.

According to The Sun, Bond 25 will be employing an Intimacy Coach to make the actors feel comfortable during sex scenes, a first for the franchise. The story went on to say that Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and the team behind the film wanted to bring the franchise up to speed in the #MeToo era, and that the hiring of an Intimacy Coordinator is testament to that.

The Intimacy Coordinator would go through the script with the actors participating in the sex scenes, namely Daniel Craig and new Bond Girl Ana De Armas, to make sure that they feel comfortable and have whatever support they need on set. This story should be treated as rumor until we have official confirmation from Eon Productions, MGM, Barbara Broccoli or Cary Joji Fukunaga, but it is a move that would certainly make sense.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Intimacy Coordinators. as the title and job entered our lexicon last year. HBO, the premium cable network known for having sex scenes in its shows and movies, announced that any of its productions involving sexually intimate scenes would have an Intimacy Coordinator from then on.

The role of the Intimacy Coordinator was described as someone who mediates between the actors, directors, producers and crew regarding sex scenes. On The Deuce, Intimacy Coordinator Alicia Rodis reviewed the script and discussed and coordinated the scenes with the actors, as well as notified them of any last-minute script changes. The Intimacy Coordinator is also an advocate for the actors as these scenes are worked through.

If Bond 25 has employed an Intimacy Coordinator, that person would presumably fulfill a similar function to make everyone feel comfortable (although probably still awkward) and safe during sex scenes.

James Bond is one of fiction’s most notorious womanizers and although he isn’t known for treating women well, that should not hold true of the Bond films. Both the women and the men acting in sex scenes should feel comfortable, informed and prepared for what they have to do without being pressured into anything else.

It would be a progressive move for Bond 25 and one that is frankly a no-brainer. The production spends a little extra money to hire an Intimacy Coordinator, the actors get support to feel comfortable during sex scenes and the production still gets the scenes it needs, as well as some positive PR for taking such a step. For that latter reason, if this rumor is true, I imagine we will hear some sort of confirmation before the film comes out.

Bond 25 recently had to suspend production after Daniel Craig suffered an injury, but it is fortunately not expected to be for too long so hopefully the film will still hit its release date.

Bond 25 opens in theaters on April 8, 2020. For movies arriving a little sooner, check out our 2019 Release Schedule.

Keanu Reeves Is Down To Play John Constantine Again

Right now, Keanu Reeves is garnering a lot of attention for his third turn as John Wick, and naturally a lot of people are quite familiar with him from the Bill & Ted and Matrix movies. However, let’s not forget that Reeves has also left his mark in the comic book movie realm, as he played John Constantine in 2005’s Constantine. That movie never got a sequel, but nearly a decade and a half later, Reeves is still interested in reprising the character, saying:

Made off a $100 million budget and ultimately making nearly $231 million worldwide, Constantine, which came out the same year as fellow DC Comics movie Batman Begins, was met with mixed reviews. Director Francis Lawrence talked about making a sequel six years later, one that would lean harder into the R rating, but nothing ever surfaced with that. Now Keanu Reeves is keeping busy with other projects, including the John Wick franchise and Bill & Ted 3. So while the idea of Constantine 2 might sound nice on paper, the chances of it actually coming to fruition are slim.

Keanu Reeves was also asked in his interview with Variety if he’s ever been approached to be in a superhero movie, to which the actor noted he had a “brush” with that genre, but it “didn’t work out.” While John Constantine has operated in the DC universe for years and fights the forces of evil, he doesn’t fit into the traditional superhero mold, and that was especially the case with his movie, which felt more at home in the horror genre.

Constantine certainly left the door open for a follow-up down the line, and even though Keanu Reeves’ version of the character didn’t resemble his comic book counterpart, nearly every other aspect of him felt faithful to the source material, from the chain-smoking to exorcising demons. The movie’s supporting cast included Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Djimon Honsou, but even if we assumed that Constantine 2 is a legitimate possibility, who knows if the sequel could successfully gather most, if not all of those actors together again.

Nowadays if you want to see John Constantine in live action, you’d turn to Matt Ryan’s version, who led a short-lived NBC series and then popped up on Arrow before being thrown into Legends of Tomorrow a couple years later. There’s also been talk in recent years of John Constantine returning to the big screen in a Justice League Dark movie, which Guillermo del Toro and Doug Liman were lined up to direct at different points. Colin Farrell was once rumored to be up for the Constantine role, but lately it seems like that’s one of the lesser priority projects for the DC Extended Universe.

Rest assured, if there’s any news about John Constantine appearing in another theatrical movie, we here at CinemaBlend will let you know about it. In the meantime, you can currently see Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, which was the highest-grossing domestic movie this past weekend.

The 10 Best Characters From The Classic Disney Movies

The '90s era Walt Disney Pictures logo

Seeing the Walt Disney Pictures logo grace your television with the visual quiver of VHS error coming across the screen should be enough to get your nostalgia pumping like Casey Junior coming down the railroad track.

The films of Walt Disney have gifted us with many of the great animated movie characters in history. Most recently, we have Frozen‘s Elsa, the title characters of Moana and Wreck-It Ralph‘s fun friends, plus pretty much anything Pixar has created in the last 20 years. (We’ll ignore The Good Dinosaur.)

While those “modern” classics are fine, I’m talking about even deeper cuts, like Cinderella or Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The real classic characters from Disney as an animation company. We have sang with them, danced with them, cried with them, and even learned a few helpful lessons about life from them.

Yet, which of the many Disney movie characters are most memorable, iconic and, most importantly, lovable? I took a trip down memory lane and revisited the most classic Disney movies, ranking my own picks of the studio’s greatest characters. Join me.

Bambi and Thumpter sharing a gentler, earlier moment in their lives

10. Bambi – Bambi (1942)

Felix Salten’s hooved hero served as the perfect central character for Disney’s tragic 1942 coming of age tale, Bambi.

Bambi is an adorable and innocent young deer enjoying an idyllic existence in the forest, until his life is changed forever after those superior on the food chain take the life of his loving mother for sport. From that moment, Bambi must immediately outgrow his childhood innocence if he wants to protect his home from the unsympathetic will of “Man.”

Behind Bambi’s bright animation style lies a lesson in adult responsibility in the wake of life’s greatest challenges while also aggressively forcing you to empathize with nature. Bambi turns out to be more than a cute woodland animal; he is one of the most educational Disney characters of all time.

Sebastian wants to show Ariel things are better "Under the Sea"

9. Sebastian – The Little Mermaid (1989)

The best kind of friend is the one who will break the rules for the sake of your happiness. Case in point: Sebastian’s reluctant disobedience to King Triton in support of Ariel in her quest for love with a royal landlubber in 1989’s The Little Mermaid.

Voiced by the lively, infectiously-entertaining Samuel E. Wright, the spirited crab Sebastian’s official title in the underwater kingdom is King Triton’s Advisor, but more often he looks after his daughter, Ariel. Even though he tries to convince the mermaid princess that life is better “Under the Sea,” he still gives into her wishes to help her become a part of the world above it.

Not only does Sebastian make living underwater sound like paradise, his empathetic support and talent for reggae are key to many of The Little Mermaids most iconic moments and one of the most lovable Disney movie characters I can personally think of.

Belle begins a calm morning in her village screenshot

8. Belle – Beauty And The Beast (1991)

During the opening number of Beauty and the Beast, it is made clear that Belle is the outcast of her French village. No one seems to really “get” this attractive, sweet bookworm with a killer singing voice.

But we (and, I suppose, Gaston, too) understand what makes Belle a on- in-a-million person, but not just for her brains and beauty — for her genuine personality and bravery too.

Belle takes on the selfless task of enduring the Beast’s cruel imprisonment to save her father, and later comes to realize that her captor is not the evil monster he initially seems to be and learns to love him unconditionally, turning him into a better man.

Now, if we choose to ignore how easy it is to interpret this as textbook Stockholm syndrome, Beauty and the Beast is a sweet tale about choosing love for what is inside, not outside, and Belle serves as a great role model for staying true to oneself despite what other people may say.

Even with a black eye, Baloo knows how to take it easy screenshot

7. Baloo – The Jungle Book (1967)

So, you’re an orphaned boy, raised by wolves, targeted by a ruthless Bengal tiger in the deepest, most dangerous reaches of the jungle. How do you cope? Just look on the bright side.

In Disney’s 1967 animated adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, even in the most pressing moment of Mowgli’s life, his newfound friend, a bear named Baloo, teaches him to “look for the Bear Necessities” and enjoy life to the fullest. After losing everyone else in his life, Baloo becomes Mowgli’s most reliable friend, sticking with him through thick and thin until he finds his destined home.

While he may not be the best guide when it comes to avoiding certain death by the hands of a vicious predator, Baloo still resonates with us in the real world as a friendly reminder that life is not worth living if you cannot let loose every once in a while.

Mickey Mouse as the The Sorcerer's Apprentice in Fantasia 1940

6. Mickey Mouse As The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Fantasia (1940)

You were probably wondering if Mickey Mouse was going to appear on this list! Well, I could not think of a better way to honor the most Disney character than his now-iconic image in a robe and pointed, enchanted hat.

Mickey appears in Fantasia, Disney’s 1940 anthology of animated segments set to classic orchestral pieces, as the title character of an interpretation of the 18th century poem “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The ambitious rookie gives into his temptation of using his master’s hat to bring a broom to life to help him carry pails of water. He becomes proud and comfortable with his achievement, and inadvertently creates an army of uncontrollable sentient brooms, forcing the sorcerer to intervene.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice represents the side of all of us who would gladly pick automation over manual labor to get the job done, but also provides us with a moral lesson in the potential dangers of growing too reliant on convenience that may be more relevant today than ever.

Cruella de Vil and her menacing grin

5. Cruella de Vil – 101 Dalmatians (1961)

I mean, just look at her name. Just one mention of her and you know this woman is bad news.

Cruella de Vil, a fashionista who wants to turn a litter of innocent puppies into a fur coat in 1961’s 101 Dalmatians, is the only villain I have included on this list and for good reason. She is not only one of the greatest villainous Disney movie characters, but one of the most iconic villains in cinematic history. Period.

This woman is ruthless and unsympathetic, with a face that fixes into a bloodcurdling snarl when at rest. She even has a catchy theme song that rivals Darth Vader’s “Imperial March.” How could you not love to hate her?

Timon and Pumbaa have no worries

4. Timon and Pumbaa – The Lion King (1993)

“Hakuna matata” is a Swahili phrase meant to encourage people not to concern themselves with problems outside of their control. It is a wonderful, beneficial mindset to adopt and we can thank the comic relief from one of Disney’s most epic achievements for it.

Timon, a plucky meerkat, and Pumbaa, an imposing-but-harmless warthog, are introduced at a pivotal and very tragic moment in 1993’s The Lion King. After Simba believes he unintentionally killed his father, he runs into exile, fortunate enough to befriend the funny, carefree jungle dwellers.

As a film with Shakespearean-levels of heavy subject matter, The Lion King thrives on Timon and Pumbaa, whose gleeful presence gives us the necessary breathing room in between the film’s most challenging scenes, which is why Disney would later give them their own series. Few onscreen duos come this iconic.

Jiminy Cricket is ready to be a role model to Pinocchio

3. Jiminy Cricket – Pinocchio (1940)

One of the most endurable Disney movie characters over the last several decades had a much less pivotal role in Carlo Collodi’s original novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio. In fact, it was Disney that gave him a name (inspired by a common phrase of surprise) and an occupation for their 1940 adaptation of the children’s story about a sentient puppet.

Jiminy Cricket takes on the task of being Pinocchio’s conscience after the Blue Fairy brings him to life and would have done a bang up job had Pinocchio listened to him. Seriously, if you rewatch the movie, all of Pinocchio’s largest mistakes and misadventures are all consequences of ignoring Jiminy, who is literally the movie’s voice of reason.

Jiminy Cricket is Disney’s greatest example of who a role model should aspire to be and what are role models should inspire us to be. He teaches us to always let our conscience be our guide and that, in doing so, our dreams really do have a chance of coming true.

Mulan gets down to business to defeat the Huns.

2. Mulan – Mulan (1998)

When China is invaded by the Huns, young maiden Mulan (voiced by Ming-Na Wen) disguises herself as a man to take her elderly father’s place in battle. As the folktale describes, she becomes one of China’s most famed heroes.

Let’s get down to business about why Mulan is awesome. Of all the female Disney animated movie characters now deemed as the “princesses” (although Mulan is technically not a princess), I cannot think of one who is a better inspiration to women.

Mulan single-handedly crushes her entire country’s traditional values of keeping men on the battlefield and women in waiting and proves that courage and will is not defined by gender. She continues to be an enduring feminist icon whose influence is sure to increase when Disney’s live action remake hits theaters in 2020.

Robin Williams as Aladdin's Genie Disney classic 1992

1. Genie – Aladdin (1992)

I truly have never had a friend like the genie that Aladdin is lucky enough to befriend after finding a magic lamp, but it would be a wish come true if I did.

What makes Aladdin’s Genie the absolute best of the classic Disney movie characters? For one, it is unfair to call him just one character. He is a compendium of almost all personas that the late, great Robin Williams was capable of impersonating from behind the microphone, all channeled through this timeless magical being.

Furthermore, what else keeps you coming back to revisit Aladdin? Is it to hear “A Whole New World” again? Is it the magic carpet’s charisma? Is it Gilbert Gottfried as Jafar’s parrot Iago?

Of course not! Genie is who I picture first when I think about my favorite memories watching Disney movies and the one character that audiences of all ages can agree is one of Robin Williams’ most beloved performances.

Sorry Will Smith, but there is no way you will ever come close this Genie’s perfection.

What do you think of our classic Disney movie characters rank? Did we mention all of your favorites, or are there some we unfairly left out?

Which Disney Classic Character Is Your Favorite?

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Watch Arnold Schwarzenegger Get Drop Kicked And Barely Flinch

There’s a scene in 1984’s The Terminator where a group of punks attacks and stabs Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in an ill-advised move that is completely ineffective against the machine. Arnold Schwarzenegger may not be a machine, but he also proved some imperviousness to attack over the weekend. At the Arnold Classic Africa sports festival, the actor barely flinched when drop kicked by a local idiot. Take a look:

First of all, Arnold Schwarzenegger let fans know on Twitter that he is totally fine and thankfully unhurt by the incident. He even said that he initially thought he was just jostled by the crowd. And you can understand how he might think that considering how often the famous actor finds himself in adoring crowds and how ineffectual the drop kick was.

Arnold asks if it was a block or a charge, and while that may be a fine distinction in basketball, this is clearly a charge– albeit a weak one. As you can see in the video, this rando goes fully airborne and launches himself at Arnold, and the actor and fitness icon barely flinches upon impact– only taking a couple of steps forward.

Arnie was busy taking a Snapchat and interacting with his fans when this happened, so he was completely unprepared for such a cowardly attack and thus unable to prepare or tense up and still he could not be felled. He may be 71-years-old but the muscle-bound actor who played Conan the Barbarian is not so easily moved.

The attacker is quickly subdued by a very large man and handed over to police officers according to BBC News. Since the incident, Arnold Schwarzenegger has let everyone know that he is not pressing charges and hopes that this serves as a wake-up call to the unnamed man to get his life on track. It’s quite merciful on Arnie’s part to not want to draw out the incident any longer or give his attacker any undue fame.

While this fool does not deserve any of the fame he so desperately and pathetically sought, Arnold Schwarzenegger understands the newsworthiness of the story. So he wants to highlight those people who do deserve fame and attention, specifically the athletes that participated in the Arnold Classic Africa sports festival in Johannesburg, South Africa.

As he says in his tweets, the event features 90 sports, from Arm Wrestling and Bodybuilding to Chess, E-Sports, Martial Arts and Deaf Sports, and hosts 24,000 athletes of all ages and abilities in the spirit of physical activity and competition. It is a shame that such nonsense happened there but hopefully it will bring greater awareness to the event and its message.

Later this year, Arnold Schwarzenegger will return to the role that made him famous as another immovable object for Terminator: Dark Fate. That film reunites him with Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor and hits theaters on November 1. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all this year’s biggest movies.

Avengers: Endgame’s VFX Artists Took A Lot Of Lessons From The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy

Lord of the Rings cast

Weta Digital has been in the digital effects game for over 25 years, and the company’s most recent contribution to the cinematic landscape was in Avengers: Endgame, specifically through the explosive final battle. During my recent interview with Weta visual effects supervisor Matt Aiken, I asked him whether there were any non-Marvel movies Weta had worked on that inspired the work done on Endgame, and he informed me that there were quite a few parallels between the final chapter of the Infinity Saga and what he and his team had done on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Aiken explained:

A bunch of us, myself included, go all the way back to Lord of the Rings at WETA Digital. That had giant battle sequences, predominantly CG battle sequences as well. It was interesting, we really felt like we were back in the territory of Helm’s Deep and the Battle of Pelennor Fields at times on this film, which was fun for a bunch of us who’d worked on those films as well. And we’re using some of the same techniques and software in Lord of the Rings. We’re using MASSIVE, which is the crowd-simulation software that we developed in house at WETA Digital to do those battle scenes for Lord of the Rings to do the crowd simulation work for Endgame as well. It’s a way more developed version of that, but it’s still plenty of the same software.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has delivered some amazing battles over the last 11 years, but for now, Avengers: Endgame’s final conflict ranks as the biggest yet. All the major MCU heroes, from the ones we’d followed along with since the beginning of the movie to those who were dusted in Avengers: Infinity War coming back to life, as well as their armies of allies, fighting the 2014 versions of Thanos and his forces. Who knows if/when we’ll ever see a clash like this again in the MCU.

While a battle of that scale is novel for the superhero franchise, for Matt Aiken and his team, it was familiar territory for them, because even though it’s been nearly two decades since the Lord of the Rings trilogy launched, they were using the same software to create these large crowds back then as they did for Avengers: Endgame in the last year or so, albeit with many improvements.

However, the trick with creating these kind of fights isn’t just plopping large crowds onto a battlefield; it’s also ensuring that the combatants can stand out amidst all the action. What’s the point watching two sides duke it out if everyone’s actions look the same? That would be boring. Matt Aiken and his Weta team figured that out during their time on Lord of the Rings and incorporated it into Avengers: Endgame. As Aiken put it:

And then things we learned from Lord of the Rings that we were able to bring to bear here as well. The one thing we always like to do is when we have these big battle scenes is not to just treat everybody the same, so in Endgame, we’ve got multiple different flavors of army on both sides, both Thanos’ side and our heroes’ side. We’ve got Wakandans, Asgardians, Ravagers, sorcerers on the heroes’ side, and we’ve got Chitauri, Outriders, Sakaarans, the Black Order on Thanos’ side. And we want to preserve the individual fighting styles for each of these sub-armies, if you like, so that when we have a clash, we can tell if it’s a bunch of Outriders dealing to some sorcerers, or maybe we’ve got some Wakandans who are able to take on a whole lot of Chitauri.

The MCU and Middle-Earths sagas are incredibly different from one another, but when it comes to VFX work, as Matt Aiken laid out, a lot of the same methods were applied to both franchises. Given technological advancement, obviously these methods were more refined for Avengers: Endgame, but overall, it’s like the old saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

While Weta Digital handled VFX for all the Lord of the Rings movie and the subsequent Hobbit trilogy that followed a decade later, Avengers: Endgame marked just the fifth MCU movie the company worked on, the previous ones being The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Avengers: Infinity War. Given what Weta pulled off in all those movies, Endgame especially, I suspect Marvel Studios will continue relying on its services for future installments.

Avengers: Endgame’s final battle definitely gave viewers a lot of moving pieces keep track of, from Captain America finally wielding Mjolnir to the women of Marvel coming together to transport the Infinity Gauntlet to Scott Lang’s van. Even with the good guys getting that surge of reinforcements, Thanos nearly succeeded in destroying the universe and replacing it with a new one, but Tony Stark managed to swipe the Infinity Stones and channel their power to turn all the Mad Titan and his minions to dust, though it came at the cost of his own life.

As for the Lord of the Rings franchise, obviously its time on the big screen has come and gone, but the Middle-Earth mythology will soon be explored on the small screen. Amazon has a Lord of the Rings TV series in the works, although instead of just adapting the original novels again, it will tell new stories set before The Fellowship of the Ring. Given that Weta primarily works on movies, as well as Amazon probably wanted its series to look different from the movies, it’s unlikely the New Zealand-based company will be brought in to work on this show, but I suppose anything is possible.

Avengers: Endgame is still playing in theaters, so be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of the movie and stay tuned for more coverage on it. If you’re curious about what the MCU has coming up, check out our Marvel movies guide. As for the Lord of the Rings series, it doesn’t have an official premiere date, although it might be ready by 2021.

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The 7 Best And Most Realistic War Movies


War is a rough subject that’s very hard to fully grasp if you haven’t been there. With that being said, the world of cinema has managed to get the horrors and humor of war right a handful of times, according to the accounts of actual veterans who were actually present for the conflict. Is that all it takes to create one of the best war movies?

Realism is important, of course, but it may not mean a ton if a movie itself isn’t a must-watch drama that civilians and those curious are looking to years in the future to understand just how grizzly these conflicts can be. The following are a list of films that hit that mark of best war movies in terms of realism and quality, listed in chronological order.

Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Arguably the most famous war movie on the list, Francis Ford Coppola’s tale of a Vietnam soldier tasked with terminating a rogue officer “with extreme prejudice.” The story starts off pretty standardly, and slowly devolves into something much darker and different as the film goes on. This has led to some criticism from veterans, many of whom say the first third of the movie is a far more realistic depiction of war than the parts after. Still, the early stuff seems to be spot on and this is, of course, an enduring movie.

Part of this is due to Francis Ford Coppola’s vision, which was to adapt the famous 1899 novella Heart of Darkness into a story about Vietnam. Luckily, the film’s engaging story and iconic moments have made it a classic amongst war movie aficionados and certainly a contender for the best war movie of all time.

Das Boot

Das Boot (1981)

Das Boot was a German drama that was based on the novel of the same name and the efforts of a real German submarine, the U-96. The movie was created using a mock-up replica of the actual ship, in an effort to effectively capture the mixture of inaction and action German submariners went through during WWII.

Though the novel’s author criticized Das Boot for its glorification of war (the book was meant to be anti-war), American and German audiences responded well to the movie. That’s likely thanks in no small part to this best war movie’s painstaking recreation of the boat, which was also rented by Steven Spielberg during production for Raiders of the Lost Ark.


Platoon (1986)

There are several great films about the Vietnam War, although Platoon tends to stand out as one of the leaders of the pack in terms of realism. This “best war movie” is often mentioned by Vietnam veterans of one of the most accurate depictions of the war, thanks in no small part to its Vietnam veteran director, Oliver Stone.

Unlike other popular war movies like Apocalypse Now, Stone’s screenplay meshes his experience with the accounts of other Marines who were in the conflict. The result was a graphic and powerful performances by talented actors and a depiction of war that won’t soon be forgotten. It’s even hard to find a criticism on inaccuracies it shows, which speaks both to its realism and quality as one of the best war movies.

Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

When one thinks of the best war movies, Saving Private Ryan may and definitely should be at the top of the list. The Omaha landing sequence is frequently referenced as one of the most accurate war scenes of WW2 in cinematic history which, quite frankly, is a terrifying thought. What’s more impressive is the scene did not get a storyboard, and Steven Spielberg opted instead to direct his camera toward more spontaneous moments.

There are a few less factual parts of the tale, but Steven Spielberg explained that he let realism fall by the wayside for a couple of scenes for dramatic effect, to better speak to the emotion of the story. Perhaps more so than any other entry on this list, Saving Private Ryan walks the line between fact and fiction the best.

Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down (2002)

Black Hawk Down is Ridley Scott’s telling of The Battle of Mogadishu with an all-star cast that includes the likes of Ewan McGregor, Josh Hartnett, and Tom Hardy. The story follows three special forces units, all tasked with capturing Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Things go south, and result in an event that ended in the death of 1000 Somali and 19 American soldiers.

While Black Hawk Down is often lauded as one of the best war movies for its accurate combat depictions, it has found criticism for being a fairly one-sided account of the conflict. In reality American soldiers were aided by Malaysian and Pakistani forces, neither of which are represented in the movie. Additionally, Somali advocacy groups have noted the depiction of Somalis in the film is inaccurate, and it’s worth noting no Somalis were cast in the film.

We Were Soldiers

We Were Soldiers (2002)

Mel Gibson’s We Were Soldiers is a more modern film that chronicles the Vietnam War, and specifically, the Battle of la Drang. It’s spot as one of the best war movies is backed by the numerous efforts made to maintain realism and recall the events of Hal Moore’s memoir We Were Soldiers Once… And Young.

For all the movie gets right, it does bend the truth in showing the final charge by American forces. There was no such event, and the North Vietnamese were not destroyed. It’s one of the big glaring differences, but for the most part, the rest are simply details that seem trimmed for the sake of shortening the story. Perhaps if a TV series was made, the full depiction of events could be brought to life.

Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Speaking of atypical depictions of war, Hacksaw Ridge tells the mostly true account of Desmond Doss, who went through his service in WW2 without a weapon. Despite his lack of a firearm, Doss saved numerous lives in The Battle of Okinawa at the cost of severe injuries that inevitably affected the rest of his life.

Surprisingly, the factual inaccuracies of Hacksaw Ridge are not on the field of battle, but in the stories outside of Desmond Doss’ service. Doss’ wife didn’t become a nurse until after the war, and the family fight that encouraged him to never use a weapon was between his uncle and father, not his father and mother. Doss was never actually court martial-ed, but was threatened many times. It makes for a great story nonetheless, hence its place on the list.

There are plenty of great war movies and plenty of other realistic war movies out there, so if there are any that have been left off the list that deserve mention for an exceptional mix of quality and realism, drop it down in the comments below. We’re always looking to add to our binge-watching lists anyway.

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How Brightburn Helped James Gunn Get Through His Guardians Of The Galaxy Firing

It’s no secret that superhero movies are everywhere. The genre has proven itself endlessly popular, and it seems every studio wants to get in on the action. And while superhero fatigue is a valid concern from fans, director/writer/producer James Gunn has been crafting wholly unique additions to the genre. The first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies were critical and box office successes, although Vol. 3 was put on hold after Gunn was fired by Disney.

James Gunn has since been reinstated to direct Guardians 3, in addition to nabbing the directing job for DC’s The Suicide Squad. But before either of those movies arrive, we have the horror-inspired Brightburn. Brightburn will bring something new to the genre with a twist on the classic Superman origin story, and Gunn recently revealed how the upcoming movie helped him work through his unceremonious Marvel departure. He said:

James Gunn’s career came to a screeching halt when he was fired from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Despite completing the script for the threequel, Gunn was removed from the property after controversial tweets from a decade ago resurfaced. And after apologizing for these poor jokes, Gunn was pulled from Guardians of the Galaxy for a series of months.

It’s during this time that James Gunn put his focus on Brightburn, which he worked on as a producer. In his same conversation with USA Today, Gunn said the horror inspired superhero flick was “definitely something I could focus on” during one of the more difficult time in his life. And while everything ultimately worked out, perhaps Brightburn will benefit from Gunn’s contributions and hunger for distraction. It’s already got a interesting concept and strong marketing campaign behind it.

Brightburn is going to be totally unique take on the superhero genre, especially where Clark Kent/Superman are concerned. While the last son of Krypton is usually a symbol for good, that’s not exactly how it’s all going to go down for Brandon Breyer in Brightburn. Instead, we’ll watch as a superpowered young man turns to the dark side, and uses his abilities to exact his dark childish whims.

James Gunn’s contribution to the superhero genre has already been significant, as Guardians of the Galaxy has become one of Marvel Studios’ most beloved franchises. Gunn’s perspective is critical to that formula, as his sense of humor, taste of music, and even dance moves have been woven into the tapestry of the first two Guardians movies.

It’s James Gunn’s artistic vision that will hopefully bring another big screen success with Brightburn. And we’re just days away from its release, so Gunn’s return to the theaters is imminent. That, along with The Suicide Squad and eventually Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Brightburn will arrive in theaters on May 24, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

What It’s Like To Work With Sylvester Stallone On Rambo V: Last Blood

Sylvester Stallone will be returning to one of his classic action hero characters later this year in Rambo V: Last Blood. It will be the first time in over a decade that Stallone has played the character of John Rambo, but based on the testimony of his co-stars, the actor hasn’t lost a step. In fact, quite the opposite, Stallone is a consummate performer and ever the professional.

Dimitri Thivaios is one of those costars and according to him, he learned more about acting watching Sylvester Stallone work than by actually taking classes. According to Thivaios…

Sylvester Stallone shares a screenplay credit on Rambo V: Last Blood in addition to starring as the lead, so he’s much more than simply an actor here. However, it seems clear based on Dimitri Thivaios’ comments that Stallone had almost a director’s perspective on the film, paying attention to everything that was happening on set. While Stallone isn’t the director here, he’s had more than his share of experience in the job, and thus probably uses those skills at all times.

Dimitri Thivaios is fairly new to acting, having made his career in the music industry under the name Dimitri Vegas. He’s had a few roles in film and on TV in the past but they’ve been pretty small parts up until now. Exactly what role he’s playing in Rambo V: Last Blood has not been revealed so it’s unclear if it’s another bit part or something more substantial.

While the Rambo franchise doesn’t have quite the passionate fan base that the Rocky movies have had, it is still a well loved character. Dimitri Thivaios himself says he has a particular attachment to the film as tells Variety that First Blood, the original film in the series, was likely the first action movie he ever saw as a kid.

He had to see it behind his mother’s back, which isn’t surprising. First Blood isn’t just a bloody and violent action movie, it’s fairly disturbing one, as, while John Rambo is the hero, he’s also a man dealing with some serious issues as a result of his service in Vietnam.

Based on the title of the fifth installment, it doesn’t feel like a stretch to believe that Rambo V: Last Blood will be the final part of this series. We’ll see how John Rambo ends his story September 20.

Forget John Wick, Detective Pikachu Dominated The International Box Office

After three weekends atop the domestic box office charts and plenty of broken records, Avengers: Endgame finally fell from its perch as John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum took first place with an incredibly impressive performance. But while John Wick was catching bodies and the attention of domestic audiences, our friends overseas were still trying to catch ‘em all helping Detective Pikachu to dominate the international box office.

Over the weekend, Detective Pikachu made $53.8 million from 72 foreign markets, giving it the top spot at the international box office for the second straight weekend, according to Variety. A nice $17.2 million chunk of that came from China, where Pikachu and friends have done particularly well with a $70.3 million total. Detective Pikachu also added $2.25 million from Mexico, $3.5 million from the United Kingdom, $2.1 million from Germany and debuted in Russia to $4.3 million.

Detective Pikachu’s weekend performance overseas brings it to $193.4 million internationally, which, combined with its domestic performance, totals out to a solid $287.4 million worldwide. That is testament to the power of the Pokémon brand all over the world and its viability as a future franchise/cinematic universe. Given the interest of those involved, the myriad possibilities and this continued box office success, those outcomes seem more and more likely.

John Wick may not have been able to outgun Pika power, but the hitman still collected his share of gold coins from overseas moviegoers. In the United Kingdom, John Wick 3 opened to a cool $4.6 million, followed by Russia with $3.8 million, Austalia with $2.8 million and Mexico with $2.1 million. All in all, John Wick 3 debuted in 66 markets over the weekend and made $35 million.

That puts the international opening weekend for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum at $92 million. That’s pretty impressive considering that the first John Wick didn’t hit that number in its entire worldwide run and 2017’s John Wick: Chapter Two’s final domestic total was just over $92 million.

It may not have been enough to topple a Ryan Reynolds-voiced Pikachu with international audiences, but this is illustrative of how the organically grown John Wick franchise, which didn’t have the benefit of existing IP, is still getting bigger for Lionsgate.

Elsewhere on the weekend charts was, of course, Avengers: Endgame, which added another $46.8 million overseas to its absurd run to bring it to $1.88 billion internationally and $2.6 billion worldwide. It has now passed Avatar to become Number 2 on the domestic charts (Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ $936.6 million is almost certainly out of reach) and now trails only James Cameron’s film for the all-time international and worldwide box office crowns.

You can catch both John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and Detective Pikachu in theaters now. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see all of this summer’s biggest movies and for all the latest box office coverage, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.