When young Jews hit that magical age of 13, they go through the coming-of-age ceremony known as a bar mitzvah (for boys) or a bat mitzvah (for gals). There’s music, dancing, and food, you receive lots of money for bravely keeping a straight face while assorted relatives pinch your cheeks, and if you’re really lucky, a major late-night personality will bless your entry into the world of adulthood with his virtual presence.
Lily James cannot fight the music. In the title role of 2015’s handsome Cinderella rework, her beautiful singing served as a plot point, attracting a suitor to her like a sailor drawn in by a siren’s song. She’s gotten another bump in visibility as the female lead of Baby Driver, another film fundamentally oriented around music. (The swooningly romantic scene in which she and her crush Baby share a pair of earbuds at a laundromat is already a fan-favorite.) Now she’s taken her next major role, and it’s sure to put her vocal cords through their paces.
Rough day to be Ben Affleck, the kind of day that makes you just wanna get away from it all by sneaking into your car and having a quick sad-vape. His performance as Batman has begun to emerge the fanbase’s most-loathed, and to add insult to injury, he was ousted from the director’s chair on upcoming solo film The Batman. Now, even more insult has been added to that injury, as replacement director Matt Reeves has begun to clean house and get himself comfy in a new franchise.
The Wonder Woman sequel train has pulled out of the station, and even with Patty Jenkins’ crossover superhero hit still playing in theaters, it’s already begun to pick up steam. Star Gal Gadot will return for the second solo project for the indestructible Amazon, they’ve landed writer Geoff Johns (who co-produced the Green Lantern movie, so, yikes) to handle the script, and while Jenkins has yet to put her Jane Hancock on the dotted line for another film, details of plot are now solidifying. For Wonder Woman, Diana battled those no-good fascists in World War I, and the sequel will reportedly plop her down in another historical era to intervene in a real-life global crisis. This time, the Rooskies will be the ones shaking in their boots.
Ryan Gosling is about to play himself. (In the DJ Khaled sense, not the Being John Malkovich sense.) The actor’s been on something of a roll recently, scoring critical plaudits for The Nice Guys and La La Land last year — the latter of which ended up a surprise blockbuster and less-surprise Oscar hoarder — and continuing on into 2017 with this past spring’s Song to Song. He’s got Blade Runner 2049 on the docket for this fall, a likely smash that may earn him admiration among nerd circles, the last niche demographic he has not yet charmed. But with the world at his feet, Gosling’s now making moves to dash all the goodwill he’s recently built up.
Shia LaBeouf gets arrested a lot. And not “a lot” relative to law-abiding namby-pambies like you or me, I mean “a lot” relative to a street-level Adderall dealer. There was the incident in 2005, where he got an assault with a deadly weapon charge after threatening his neighbor by driving directly into his car, the 2007 arrest outside a Chicago Walgreens, the 2008 drunk driving accident and subsequent license suspension, the 2011 bar fight, the 2014 disorderly conduct charge outside Studio 54, a public intoxication arrest in 2015, and then a minor harassment violation back in this most recent January during an anti-Trump demonstration. That’s quite the rap sheet, but it’s like the old judicial system proverb goes: “Seven strikes and you’re out, unless you’re famous and wealthy, in which case just try to be more careful next time.”
At last, a news item that combines the two most universally beloved genres of showbiz reporting: “Celebrities extending kindness to un-famous teens by acknowledging them through the internet” stories and “Ryan Reynolds getting into mischief again!” stories. We live in wondrous times, friends, where a skillful Photoshop job and a moment’s tweetings can get a bona fide movie star into your orbit — and change the trajectory of your life forever.
While you and I may know July 3rd as “Fasting in Anticipation of Tomorrow’s Onslaught of Grilled Meats Day,” a certain subset of conspiracy-monger recognizes it as World UFO Day. Apparently, one such believer resides at Sony, as the studio released a mysterious new video on the 3rd and included the hashtag #WorldUFODay in the caption on YouTube. In it, a glowing green air traffic controller’s matrix appears on screen with some slightly-garbled dialogue in the background about an enigmatic foreign craft entering their airspace. While some may find its significance confounding, Spielberg fans recognized the clip straightaway.
As The Conjuring’s demonically possessed plaything Annabelle gains in popularity, it’s in murder-doll Chucky’s best interest to get back in the public eye and remind us of who’s the real top dog. Maybe Annabelle’s been stronger at the box-office as of late, but put the two toys mano-a-plastic-mano? Not even a fair fight. Chucky’s simply more sadistic; he really and truly hates people and loves killing them. That quality of violence alone sets his tiny head and tiny shoulders above the rest. In case anyone needed a refresher, we now have the Cult of Chucky trailer.
Fast and Furious franchise star Michelle Rodriguez made waves this week with her comment that the film series needs to “give more love” to its female characters, driving her point home with the faint threat of exiting the franchise. And while her diplomatically-phrased initial statement was hardly furious, the response to it has arrived in a manner I can describe only as… fast.
The Fast and Furious franchise has earned some praise from socially-inclined critics for its utopian vision of a world where people of all races — white, black, Latino, Asian, Vin Diesel — can join hands and drive cars out of buildings in multicultural harmony. But these films have not done well by women to anything close to the same extent. In the recent Fate of the Furious, Dom’s baby mama gets murdered, hacker-babe Ramsey spends the run time getting eye-banged by Tyrese and Ludacris (neither of whom know her last name), and Cipher... well, Cipher was Cipher.
As Shane Black works on his planned Predator reboot, details continue to leak out of the production. The latest concerns a new casting notice with greater significance than one might think – an Easter egg embedded in a specific actor’s mere presence. Friends, the Busey family legacy is about to be carried on by the next generation.
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