A few years ago, I wrote up a brief item about an incident taking place at Los Angeles’ AFI Film Festival wherein an irate woman maced a man in the face for having the gall to ask her to turn off her cell phone during a screening of Mike Leigh’s J.M.W. Turner biopic Mr. Turner. “Wow, being at the movies sure makes people do crazy things!” I thought to myself. “I wonder how long it’ll be until the next time I get to write about a violent movie theater conflict over petty nonsense.” That day has come at last, and this time [beat to let the moment breathe] the stakes are even higher.
Netflix, for all their diverting original series and Bong Joon-ho subsidization, has also been responsible for the introduction of a great evil into the world. I am referring, of course, to their seemingly infinite-picture development deal with chronic Phoner-of-It-In Adam Sandler. Netflix signed Sandler to a four-movie deal back in 2014, which has been going decidedly less-than-great so far — his Western spoof The Ridiculous Six was a big pile of donkey turds, and the trailer for his upcoming Sandy Wexler has not inspired much more confidence. When the news hit a few weeks ago that Netflix would re-up their deal with Sandler for four more movies, our coverage of the notice contained the words “oh no.”
Christopher Nolan might just be the most bankable Hollywood director this side of James Cameron. Whether shepherding the most successful comic book franchise DC has ever seen or trying his hand at dizzyingly high-concept original projects, Nolan has always met with a monster windfall at the box office. It’s almost as if his films never go out of style. That‘s supposed to be a joke about the song Taylor Swift wrote about Harry Styles. Who is in Christopher Nolan‘s new movie. This is very clearly not my wheelhouse, so let’s just push right ahead as if that never happened.
In appearances at film festivals or the occasional blockbuster exhibit at the Whitney Museum, documentarian Laura Poitras gives the impression of a pretty collected, cool-headed woman. Which comes as a surprise, seeing as few people on Earth would have more justification for turning into a raving paranoid lunatic. Poitras wowed the world in 2014 with her Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, wherein she risked life and limb to gain access to the classified intelligence whistleblower and ran afoul of the United States’ far-reaching surveillance programs in the process. A few years later, and she’s prepared to unveil her latest stunning exposé on the shady business of federal watching, the lightning rod Risk. If you weren‘t feeling uneasy about the virtual eyeballs monitoring your every move, now would be a fine time to get started.
It’s been a long week — for you, me, ScreenCrush, America, and Earth. It’s nice to be able to take a moment on Friday to enjoy some more uplifting news, and today has happily obliged us with the announcement that Joe Manganiello went right ahead and wrote a Dungeons & Dragons screenplay. The man I assume must be the most ripped D&D nerd on the planet recently made a guest appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, where he informed host Josh Horowitz that he had co-authored a script based on the popular table-top roleplaying game with a “playwright friend from Carnegie Mellon” last year. Somewhere in the great dork beyond, Gary Gygax is looking down on Manganiello and smiling.
Over the years, Disney’s made a rich tradition out of refashioning their amusement park rides as feature film attractions. There have been successes (Pirates of the Caribbean and its many demon-spawn sequels, and Eddie Murphy vehicle The Haunted Mansion), flops (the Tomorrowland movie, the horrifying Country Bears picture) and whatever Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars movie was. But the massive entertainment conglomerate has not given up hope on its cross-vertical synergy potential. Today brings the news that yet another of Disney’s thrill-a-minute rides will soon make the jump to the big screen, and let me break it to you now that a hideously insensitive It’s a Small World movie remains, for the moment, an impossible dream/nightmare.
No bubble can last forever — it must eventually pop, as is the nature of bubbles. Marvel has built a vast media empire on the strength of such stars as Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and Chris Hemsworth, but no actor would be content with playing and re-playing the same role forever. All good (and obscenely lucrative) things must come to an end, and Evans has begun the long and painful process of consciously uncoupling from Captain America’s star-spangled shield and cowl. But a new quote from the actor suggests that he may not be the first big name to make a departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Kyle Davies, the President of Domestic Distribution for Paramount Pictures, is not having a great week. The early eruption of a backlash to his studio’s newest release (the generously-budgeted Ghost in the Shell remake) and its whitewashed casting was cause for concern. But up until recently, he could assuage his shareholders’ worries by clinging to the notion that hackle-raising on the Internet would not have any tangible effects on the box-office receipts. That changed after this past weekend, when the Scarlett Johansson vehicle mustered a piteous $19 million in wide release. Left to answer for the film’s commercial failure, Davies has placed the blame on the controversy over tapping confirmed white woman Johansson to portray an Asian role, to which the whole of the Internet will now respond with a hearty “DA-DOY.”
Sex with movies — until now, it’s been an impossible dream. But Netflix is a company of innovation, and they’re not going to stop at reshaping the home-entertainment industry top to bottom. Much ruckus was raised recently when Netflix announced that they would do away with their widely reviled star ratings and switch to a thumbs-up/thumbs-down system for recommendations, but a new video from the streaming giant released today clarifies the nature of this new recommendations engine. At long last, we can decide which movies we want to do it with, as if the film industry was one big textual Tinder. And that’s not my comparison, either — Netflix wants you to think of this like a dating app!
Born in 1927, Donald Aronow made a name for himself as the pioneer behind the modern-day speedboat. He devised several models of seafaring vessel that matured into industry standards, and personally built boats for such luminaries as George H.W. Bush, the Shah of Iran, and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Aronow’s signature creation, the so-called ‘cigarette boat’ (you know, the long and slim ones they use in Miami Vice) became a favorite of cocaine merchants due to its great speed and nimble maneuverability. This would bring Aronow some measure of fame and wealth beyond his wildest dreams, but on the downside, it also resulted in his unceremonious murder in 1987 near his boat-retail facility in Miami. The man lived an eventful life, and now his memory will receive the ultimate commemoration: a biopic-thriller in which John Travolta will most likely wear a goofy hairpiece.
In the years since Shrek Forever After, our most recent check-in with the friendly Mike Myers-voiced ogre, DreamWorks’ animated franchise has matured from a massively successful creative property into something vaster and stranger. Gradually but undeniably, the Shrek films have turned into a Whole Big Weird Internet Thing, with various denizens of the World Wide Web creating disturbing fan-art and cracking absurdist jokes about the smart-alecky series of animated films. In certain online circles, even uttering the words “Some-BODY once told me” is enough to prompt a barrage of surreal humor and warped image macros. And now that Shrek lives on as a sense-stymieing parody of its former self, what better time to revive the franchise?
The hardcore Alien superfans among us already know full well that the moon of Acheron, the home of the ruthless extraterrestrial killing machines known as Xenomorphs, was scientifically classified as LV-426. And just as Star Wars devotees used a little in-joke to lay claim to a day of their own (May 4 is Star Wars Day, as in, “may the fourth be with you”), now April 26 will be henceforth recognized as Alien Day. A new press release has claimed the twenty-sixth of April as a day to recognize and celebrate Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi horror fusion, with plenty of special activities and events planned to commemorate the occasion.
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