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.
Will The Emoji Movie be horrible? We just don’t know. The premise of “Toy Story, but with the little pictorial icons that live inside your smartphone” sure sounds like something that an executive with an analytics page for a heart would come up with, but it’s the critic’s responsibility to reserve judgement until the film can be seen in full. At least today brings us a bite-sized sample of The Emoji Movie with a new trailer that contains both a painfully out-of-fashion “Bye, Felicia” reference and a sincerely humorous joke about forgotten phone passwords. So it’s really anyone’s guess, at this point.
Adam Schumann isn’t doing so well. During his time serving as a soldier in Iraq, he had a sense of purpose and importance, but he’s currently struggling to adjust to life as a civilian. Nothing seems to matter quite as much as the death-defying work Adam did at the front, and he’s having a hard time finding someone who can relate to the specific, intense emotional pain he brought back with him. Memories of the atrocities of combat keep killing the mood when he tries to get intimate with his wife (Kaboom star Haley Bennett), he’s practically a stranger to his own daughter, and he can’t help but feel a bit purposeless on the home front.
Spend long enough interviewing actors for a living, you start to pick little things up. For instance, whenever a performer’s discussing their most recent production and utters any variant on the phrase “it really felt like the cast and crew was one big family,” that’s a major red flag that they’re full of crap. Costars are coworkers, and usually for about six months, and that’s on the longer side. But the ladies of Pitch Perfect 3 seem to be pretty earnest when they gush about the spirit of sisterhood and camaraderie that dominated the atmosphere on set. And for those as skeptical of myself, they proved it with video evidence.
America had such big plans for the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo franchise, once upon a time. The English translation of the first novel sold like Swedish hotcakes, then David Fincher’s film adaptation earned raves from critics, cleaned up at the box-office (nothing like a little rape and sadism to lighten up the holiday season), and picked up five Oscar nominations with one win. A franchise seemed all but assured, and yet nothing came together. Fincher and star Rooney Mara eventually lost interest, and while there are still rumblings that a new creative team will take over the material and give it another shot, it looks like Dragon-mania was just one of those weird national crazes. Like Jersey Shore, but easier to watch.
A celebrity ritual no less time-honored than the public callout, the public apology is a vital part of being and remaining famous. Think of it like an annual physical, but for your public profile: say something wild enough to grab some headlines and ensure that your name’s sticking in the population’s heads, let it sit for a short while, and once the time is right, issue a dignified apology to show humility and self-awareness. It’s a rich Hollywood tradition, and Elizabeth Banks is the latest personality to run this gauntlet. But when you come at the king, and most especially when that king is literal King of Hollywood Steven Spielberg, you best not miss.
Here’s how thoroughly Batman’s influence has permeated the mainstream: he’s claimed tacit ownership of the very notion of shining a light into the sky. The Bat-Signal, introduced in the comics as Gotham City’s method of summoning the Dark Knight, has been endlessly parodied in the annals of pop-culture — just earlier this month, the poster for Captain Underpants paid homage to the iconic (a word I mean here literally, and not in the ‘a photo of the Kardashians’ sense) design of the skyward spotlight. And all too appropriately, the Bat-Signal will now be used to give one former Batman, the dearly departed Adam West, a proper send-off.
John Wick is the gift that keeps on giving, and by ‘giving,’ we mean ‘shooting fifteen dudes within sixty seconds.’ The sequel stood tall at the box office, delighted audiences, and wowed critics, and now that franchising has been deemed a safe option for the series, more is in the works.
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