Jon M. Chu

Dance moves

Director Jon M. Chu has already helped successfully usher the Step Up films into the realm of true franchise greatness — the filmmaker directed both Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D, ensuring a long life for the world’s most beloved dance franchise and don’t you dare argue that point with me — and now he looks to be turning his attention to a generation desperate for still more popping and locking. Deadline reports that Chu is now producing Can’t Touch This, a new dance feature that is billed as “a high school dance comedy set in the golden era of the 1990s.” Although the film’s specific storyline has not yet be revealed, it seems safe to assume that the dulcet tones of M.C. Hammer will prove to be a large part of the feature’s plot and/or soundtrack. If nothing else, we can surely expect to see a bevy of parachute pants and mind-blowing bits of neon exploding across the screen. Chu and his fellow producer Hieu Ho and screenwriters Annie Mebane and Steve Basilone are lucky enough to have chosen an era rich with lots of potential dances to pull from, from the mundane (Vogueing) to the enduring (The Tootsee Roll). But which dances will make the final cut? We’e got some ideas. If Chu and company are really going for true nineties authenticity, there are a hefty number of dance crazes his feature needs to make some hip-shaking room for. Get down!

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Jem and the Holograms

First off, it seems important that we all take a moment to remember and acknowledge that we’re currently living in a world where a Jem and the Holograms live-action feature film is being made right now. This is something fans of candy-colored, techno-laced, secret-identity-driven eighties cartoons have dreamed of for decades. Ahh. Moment done? Cool. We may have only known about said Jem and the Holograms film for just over a month, but it sure sounds like director Jon M. Chu is not letting any hyper-colored grass grow under his feet, and the project is zooming right along. When the feature was first announced last month, Chu and his producing partners Jason Blum and Scooter Braun made it clear that this thing was going to be a fan-driven experience, and their announcement video also asked for help when it came to just about every major part of the film – from writing music to designing costumes to casting Jem and her Holograms. Turns out, Jem, Kimber, Aja, and Shana have all been cast – and while they’re all relatively green talents, we suspect that they didn’t snag their parts by submitting auditions via Twitter or whatever it is that the kids are using these days.

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Jem and the Holograms

Are you ready for some news that’s truly outrageous? Jem and the Holograms, everybody’s favorite show about a normal teenage girl with a double life as a pop sensation that didn’t star Miley Cyrus, is making its way to the big screen. The eighties cartoon slash Hasbro toy line slash catchiest fictional band around has been the subject of speculation for quite some time when it comes to picking nostalgic animated properties and turning them into live-action films. With cartoons like Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Flintstones already making the leap, and Johnny Quest and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coming down the pipeline, it’s only inevitable that Jem would join their ranks sooner or later. The film is being produced by noted budget-lover Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions, along with Scooter Braun, who besides sounding like a Captain America villain is also Justin Bieber’s manager. He knows modern music, kids! Directing the whole affair is Jon M. Chu, who has helmed many a film containing colons — G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and Step Up 2: The Streets. The threesome took to YouTube today to announce their partnership in bringing Jem and the Holograms to life, and out of the eighties for a modern teen audience.

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Believe or Whatever

Before the Beliebers come out in force, let’s preface this – if you are going to hit your local multiplex to check out Jon M. Chu’s upcoming Justin Bieber’s Believe, not only do you already know it, the film is probably already at the very top of your list for end-of-year movie-going and you might have already pre-purchased your ticket for the first available showing. Put simply – if you’re going to see Justin Bieber’s Believe, you are a fan of Justin Bieber, and no amount of marketing will noticeably lessen or increase your interest in the film. Conversely, if you are not a fan of Justin Bieber, no amount of marketing will noticeably lessen or increase your interest in the film. You’re just not going to go. A few posters and trailers are not going to change that. Music’s current crop of pop acts (and even some not-so-current, sorry, Jonas Brothers) has made big business of churning out concert docs that are one part actual concert footage, one part “documentary,” and three parts total hype. These are films that can make an upwards of $70m at the box office (Bieber and Chu’s previous concert doc, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, tops the chart with a respectable $73m box office take) based on fan interest alone. They don’t need posters. And that’s probably why most of these things are so terrifically ugly.

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GI JOE

If you’ve come to Jon M. Chu’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation looking for plot, well, you’ve probably also forgotten what happened the last time we hooked up with America’s elite military force also named after action figures and comic books. While Chu does an admirable enough job cleaning up the mess left behind after 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA, the latest entry into the saga of the Joes and all their nifty little gadgets doesn’t manage to amount to more than a pile of fun jokes and one show-stopper of an action sequence. This time around, the Joe gang is unexpectedly abandoned and destroyed by the U.S. government, thanks to a president who insists that the Joes (mainly Snake Eyes) are responsible for the assassination of the Pakistani president, which has thrown the country into utter turmoil. What’s left of the team (and, man, is it a scant bunch) must uncover what’s really going on in order to salvage their reputations. Yes, it’s sort of a political thriller. Yes, it’s also just sort of boring.

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Drinking Games

Die-hard Channing Tatum fans can breathe a sigh of relief this week because finally Jon M. Chu’s sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation is hitting theaters after a nonsensical delay from last year. In 3D. With more Channing Tatum. Now that Paramount and Hasbro have seen fit to finally release this cinematic masterpiece, you’re likely going to want to revisit 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra so you don’t miss any nuances of the plot or subtle subtext from film-to-film. After all, why else would you watch a Stephen Sommers’ movie? To enhance those nuances and subtext further, have a few adult beverages at your side while prepping yourself for the deep, complex plot that is sure to accompany the new film in theaters.

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G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Oh. Oh, that’s not very nice. Paramount has just released a new poster for its pushed-back-to-get-all-pumped-up G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and it looks like the one thing that we definitely don’t want a film that’s been delayed for months in order to get a 3D post-conversion to look like: cheap. Perhaps this just means that the final product has sucked up every last free dollar to make it look as awesome as possible. Perhaps. Let’s hope. The film stars airbrushed Bruce Willis, shiny Dwayne Johnson, overly-lit Channing Tatum, D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Park, Adrianne Palicki, Jonathan Pryce, RZA, and Ray Stevenson. G.I. Joe: Retaliation opens on March 28, 2013. [Paramount]

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He-Man

So, Jon M. Chu might be directing a new Masters of the Universe movie. According to Deadline Hollywood, the man behind dance battle films like Step Up 3D and non-dance battle films like the delayed G.I. Joe: Retaliation is close to getting the deal through Sony and Escape Artists. But let’s concentrate on the fact that this means we’re one step closer to seeing The Rock as Prince Adam/He-Man. Speculation? Sure. But it’s undoubtedly something Sony has to be considering, and Chu’s involvement could help make it happen. Right now, the script from Alex Litvak (Predators, The Three Musketeers (2011)) and Mike Finch is called Grayskull but is currently under review at Mattel. A toy company. That’s looking over a movie script. So you know it’s going to be good. Nevertheless, the image of The Rock with a blond Dutch Boy haircut lifting a sword high above his head and screaming is enough to wash away the giant doubts.

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There are few things in life that say ‘Do-Over’ more than killing off almost all of your main cast in the opening moments of your movie. It’s an apology with a thousand rounds of ammo and tactical missiles. The new G.I. Joe: Retaliation trailer wastes no time in wiping the slate clean so that Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis can add some more muscle to the franchise. Of course, it also helps that Jon M. Chu has subbed in for Stephen Sommers and the pair behind Zombieland, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, tagged in as screenwriters. So, yes. The slate is clean. Now it’s time to blow it up. Simply put, this trailer is explosive.

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Anybody who saw Paramount’s original attempt at a G.I. Joe movie, 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, will tell you the same thing: the last thing anybody in the world needs is a sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. There wasn’t a bit of fun to be had in that train wreck of a movie. Not even an ounce of nostalgia to be squeezed from its throwback subject matter. Even the most diehard apologists I know that were childhood fans of the Hasbro toy line/cartoon series didn’t dare say a good word about that urban assault suit wearing, pathetic excuse for a summer blockbuster. Unfortunately, according to Hollywood (and to some extent the ticket buying public), we need a sequel to everything, so we’re going to get another G.I. Joe anyways. The good news is that new director Jon M. Chu seems to be pulling out all of the casting stops to erase the memory of that lackluster first effort and draw people back into the theater with the promise of some big time star power. Already he’s made a couple of solid jabs at that goal by hiring Wu Tang legend the RZA to play Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow’s mentor the Blind Master and one of the hot chicks from Friday Night Lights (okay, Adrianne Palicki) to play Lady Jaye. And in addition to that, he’s landed a couple of really solid body shots by getting Rome‘s Ray Stevenson to play Firefly and Fast Five‘s […]

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Anybody who was a fan of the G.I. Joe toy line or cartoon series from the 80s could easily tell you who Roadblock was. He was a big, bald, mustachioed, black dude who carried around gigantic guns and had a snazzy way of speaking in rhyme. He was basically the closest cartoon equivalent that you could get to Mr. T other than when Mr. T himself got his own cartoon where he coached a mystery solving gymnastics team. Let’s call him Mr. T Lite. As you can imagine he was a popular character, so when putting together a sequel to 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra it makes sense that you would include him in the film. And if you need to find an actor to translate a cartoon character like Roadblock into live action, it makes sense that you would find a gigantic, fast-talking, ex-pro wrestler to get the job done; especially when that ex-pro wrestler is as big a personality and as talented an actor as Dwayne Johnson. And the fact that he just starred in the ludicrously successful Fast Five, which went a long way in reviving that once stale looking franchise, is just the icing on the cake. Yes, getting Dwayne Johnson to star in your G.I. Joe sequel as Roadblock makes all the sense in the world, so the fact that Paramount is courting him to join G.I. Joe: Cobra Strikes comes as no surprise. But what I’m still trying to figure out is […]

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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