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Film Bits: Hollywood Legends George Romero and Martin Landau Pass Away; ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Releases First Trailer

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‘Night of the Living Dead’ Director George Romero Dies at 77

Director and horror icon George Romero passed away yesterday after a brief battle with lung cancer. He was 77. Best known as the father of the modern cinematic zombie, Romero made 20 films over his five decade career. Best known for his classic, Night of the Living Dead, Romero almost singlehandedly wrote the book on how to make successful independent horror, inspiring generations of filmmakers to try their hands at scaring the daylights out of you. His other works include work on the horror anthology Creepshow and The Dark Half, the 1993 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. Romero was an uncompromising artist who blazed his own path, for better or for worse, and set in motion one of the biggest and most surprising trends in horror history. His stamp can be found on more than just the zombie movie, however. His unique blend of horror and social commentary has worked its way into the mainstream of modern horror, including works such as Get Out and The Purge series. His last screenplay, Road of the Dead, was in production with director Matt Birman when he died.

Actor Martin Landau Dies at 89

Character actor Martin Landau also passed away yesterday at the age of 89. His acting career began in 1953 with an appearance on the classic sitcom, The Goldbergs, and would include nearly 200 performances at the time of his death, including starring in the television series Mission: Impossible in the 1960s. In 1995, Landau won an Academy Award for his performance as Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, a biopic exploring the life of the most renowned bad director of all time. Despite several lulls in his long career, Landau never stopped working and made frequent guest appearances on television in addition to appearing in a slew of genre films. Most recently, Landau appeared in the film The Last Poker Game, and his final film, Without Ward, opens August 22.

Disney Releases Stunning Trailer for ‘A Wrinkle in Time’

The first trailer for Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time made its debut over the weekend at Disney’s D23 expo, giving audiences a stunning first glimpse at her vision for Madeleine L’Engle’s classic children’s story. The film stars Storm Reid as Meg Murray, who goes off on a dimension hopping mission to rescue her father (Chris Pine) after his experiment with teleportation goes horribly right. Anyone who may have doubted DuVernay’s ability to helm a project of this scope and magnitude is now kindly invited to shut their mouths. If the first trailer has anything to say about it, this is about as near perfect an adaptation as we could ever hope for, in addition to displaying DuVernay’s ability as a truly visionary director. Unfortunately for us, we have to wait eight more months until its release on March 9, 2018.

(Disney)

‘The Last Jedi’ Behind the Scenes Video Released

Also from D23, Disney unveiled more footage from the upcoming Star Wars release, The Last Jedi, in the form of a new behind the scenes montage. While revealing little about the plot, we do get a glimpse at some of the settings and characters for the Rian Johnson directed 8th entry into the Star Wars saga. The flip features statements from the stars of the movie, including Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley, as well as an emotional statement from Carrie Fisher, who passed away tragically last year. Short of an additional trailer (which may come this weekend at Comic Con), this video offers an incredible look at what to expect from the new film when it’s released. The Last Jedi is expected on December 15.

(Disney)

Apes Together Strong: ‘Planet of the Apes’ Tops Weekend Box Office

Spiders proved no match for apes over the weekend as War for the Planet of the Apes took the top spot in the weekend box office with $56 million, beating out Spider-Man: Homecoming which took in $45 million. Despicable Me 3, meanwhile, dropped to third place with $18 million. Rounding out the top five were Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver with $8.7 million and the Kumail Nanjiani-led romantic comedy, The Big Sick, which took in $7.6 million.

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