As an avowed walker and train-taker, I’m not much of a car guy, personally. But I know a thing or two — I can change a flat tire, correctly identify where jumper cables should be clamped, and I know enough that anyone who offers to sell you a ‘flux capacitor’ is having a laugh at your expense. The auto part was imagineered (a make-believe word for ‘invented’ that the folks at Disney originally imagineered) for Back to the Future, the all-important component that gives Marty McFly‘s Delorean the power to traverse time. And now, you too can attempt to flaunt the laws of metaphysics by souping out your ride of choice (imagine how a silent, time-traveling Prius would freak out people in the ’50s) with your very own flux capacitor.
When the mind thinks of the densest, most sprawling narratives realized over the past couple of decades, the kaiju-influenced action show Power Rangers usually doesn’t pop up first. But a quick scan online would reveal that the series has run for a mind-boggling 837 episodes (and counting!) over the course of 24 seasons since 1993. The series has assumed many forms since then, rebooting itself as a show about ninjas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm), samurai (Power Rangers Super Samurai) and dinosaur-themed warriors (Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Power Rangers Dino Charge, and Power Rangers Dino Super Charge — kids love their dinios). It is, by anybody’s measure, a lot of television.
Keeping the series of films featuring or tangentially related to the X-Men straight has become a task on par with reading Bleak House. The original three films from the 2000s were their own thing, at first independent of the rebooted X-Men: First Class set in the past. But they were then woven into the “present” with Days of Future Past and Apocalypse, which happen to be set in both timelines and physical dimensions. All this operates separately from Logan and Wolverine’s other solo films, and while Deadpool technically is set in the main universe, it can’t really bring in any of the major pre-existing characters due to intellectual property complications, so it might as well be an isolated entity as well. It’s a lot to keep track of, to put it mildly.
Samuel L. Jackson’s a man of many hats: actor, philanthropist, and on occasion, opinionated public intellectual. (He’s also a man of many hats in a more literal sense, owning what I estimate must be upwards of 800 Kangols.) He‘s currently working the press circuit in promotion of his latest picture, the big-budget monster mash Kong: Skull Island, and no Samuel L. Jackson press tour is complete without one or two headline-grabbing soundbites. We thought we had hit the jackpot when Jackson happily admitted to a familiarity with the anime pornography known as ‘hentai,’ but the actor’s buzz-baiting statements were far from over.
With the Oscars over and done with, awards season has officially reached its merciful end here in the States. Now, to rest for another three and a half weeks before feverish predictions for next year’s Academy Awards contenders can begin. But over in Germany, the festivities have not yet concluded — last week, the prestigious Goldene Kamera awards recognized the finest talents in film and television, from within the Deutschland and beyond. The ceremony was well-stocked with international celebrities, including Jane Fonda, Nicole Kidman, and a very special appearance from Ryan Gosling.
In a refreshing change of pace, international tensions with Russia have increased due to something other than statements issued from the executive branch of the federal government. The latest subject of global controversy is none other than Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s new live-action remounting of the classic animated fantasy-romance. And rest assured, it’s not the sacrilege of revising the high-water mark of Disney’s ‘90s run that the Russkies are ticked off about. Not since the James Franco/Seth Rogen comedy vehicle The Interview nearly set off World War III with North Korea has Hollywood come this close to igniting a powder keg, and all because LeFou has come out of the closet.
Imagine that both handsome, rakish doctor Oscar Isaac and well-to-do bearded reporter Christian Bale are fighting for your hand in marriage. With two such dashing suitors fawning over you, it’d take something huge to spoil it, something like... a genocide. The new trailer for historical romance drama The Promise has all that and more, featuring a tortured courtship with nothing less than the epic sweep of militaristic annihilation for a backdrop. That, and Oscar Isaac’s handsome, permanently-stubbled face. In the parlance of Hollywood executives, that makes this a ‘four quadrant’ picture.
L. Frank Baum‘s fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has proven a malleable property over the years. Of course everybody knows and loves Victor Fleming’s 1939 film adaptation, then came the urban-set musical revision The Wiz, the villain’s-eye-view retelling Wicked, Sam Raimi’s limp-noodle Oz the Great and Powerful, NBC’s crazytown new gritty-reboot series Emerald City, not to mention the dozens of films that have paid homage to the timeless scenes of Fleming’s film. (The bit in O Brother, Where Art Thou? when our heroes sneak into a KKK meeting like it’s a Winkie stronghold is a particular standout.) And today brings the news that the merry old land of Oz will get yet another new spin, and this time, there will be blood.
We‘re now a couple days out from the incident itself, and everyone’s still trying to figure out just what in the Sam Hill happened at the Oscars on Sunday night. When Faye Dunaway wrongly named La La Land instead of Moonlight as the recipient of the Best Picture Academy Award, she created a buzzy moment and sparked a full-blown investigation as to how things could have gotten mixed up. Fingers have been pointed every which way, with the show’s producers and vote-tabulating accountants both scrambling to cover their respective hindquarters in the wake of the embarrassing gaffe. Today, however, Dunaway‘s co-presenter Warren Beatty – the man with his hand on the envelope — has offered his official response to the hubbub, and he’s decided to shift blame elsewhere.
Unless your name happens to be Kathryn Bigelow (and if it is, then may I say that it’s a pleasure, Ms. Bigelow, big Point Break fan), Hollywood has had a lot of trouble figuring out how to portray the Global War on Terror. The odd movies that have succeeded critically or financially — Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper — take an ambivalent stance on a complicated and nuanced geopolitical situation, but many more have attempted the same and floundered. So it’s with memories of the high-profile failure of one-time Oscar hopeful Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk that we greet the trailer for War Machine, Netflix’s latest foray into this risky genre.
While critics and fans alike roundly rejected the Star Wars trilogy of prequels, they agreed that at least one aspect of it was worthwhile: breakout crowd-pleaser Jar Jar Binks. The universally beloved Gungan earned a wide fanbase with his charming dialect made up of screeching and some sort of alien ebonics, and his constant cartoonish bumbling was a welcome reprieve from the series’ usual heroism and valor. Fans cried foul when Phantom Menace’s major supporting character was downgraded to tertiary status in Attack of the Clones and barely present for Revenge of the Sith, but today brings the welcome news that our sweet Jar Jar will get some much-deserved closure in an upcoming Star Wars novelization.
During the production process for last summer’s Suicide Squad, Academy Award-winning actor Jared Leto attracted some headlines with his series of menacing pranks pulled on his costars. Mailing Margot Robbie dead animals or used condoms, threatening to stab David Ayer for giving notes, sending Will Smith a box of bullets — he’s full of wacky antics, and today brings the news of Leto’s latest put-on. As part of what I can only assume is his latest diabolical, Joker-style ruse, Leto has announced that he’s going to get into feature directing.
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