The latest addition to the pantheon of mega-flops has been christened. Just as street hooligan Arthur instantly ascended to royalty when he pulled Excalibur from its stone, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword has descended to ignominy by pulling a turd out of the box-office. Perhaps not my best lede work, but it’s Monday. Cut a guy some slack.
In one of the Trump administration’s more agreeable defilings of decades-long tradition, the White House’s ritzy move theater will now be available to those visitors touring the building’s East Wing. Say what you will about the new Commander-in-Chief — that he’s a pudenda-grabbing, fact-resistant demagogue, for instance — but at least he’s going to allow the general public a glimpse of how the most powerful man in the nation took in Finding Dory.
Serious question: does any single entertainer have such complete dominion over their chosen field as Weird Al Yankovic wields over the song parody? Skeptics may scoff that musical spoofery is a stupid thing to become really, really, virtuosically good at, but the point stands that Yankovic has completely and totally mastered his preferred art form. So when the producers behind the upcoming film adaptation of the Captain Underpants chapter book series needed to find a talent for their theme music, of course their choice was obvious. In no insignificant way, Weird Al Yankovic was born to write a peppy pop tune about tightened-whiteys.
We owe a lot to scientists — they cured polio, got us on the moon, and they‘re doing their darnedest to stop us from methodically killing the planet. But man, what a bunch of nerds. It seems like every time biologists discover a new species of animal and need to give it a name, they take the opportunity to bust out a reference to their favorite bit of geek-approved pop culture. Lest we forget the velvet worm named after My Neighbor Totoro, and we’d be remiss to overlook the euglossa bazinga, a rare bee with a Big Bang Theory catchphrase as its namesake. And it appears that now the nerds are at it again.
We‘ve only just entered May, but in the first few months of 2017, the year has yielded a surprisingly eclectic array of blockbusters. Survey the biggest earners to date, and you’ll see a socially critical horror flick from a first-time director, a spin-off based on a cross-property licensing deal within a corporate brand expansion, and a tough-as-nails superhero side project with post-apocalyptic Western overtones. The latest Fast and Furious installment looks most at home in the top five so far, but more unexpected still is that it’s been handily defeated by the year’s top earner, Disney’s handsomely mounted revival of Beauty and the Beast. And now, the unlikely box-office behemoth has claimed another record.
For every superhero, there is a season — turn, turn, turn. As Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters today following months of anticipation, America now turns our gnat-like attention spans to the next big super-release. In about a month, we’ll have another cape-free caper, with Wonder Woman scheduled for June 2. And while we’ve all had time to gape at the trailers and posters and Instagram posts from those on set, we still have yet to actually glimpse any in-context footage. Until now, that is!
The game of extremely handsome musical chairs that is staffing up for the next James Bond film continued apace today. The two biggest question marks — who will star as the secret agent extraordinaire, and who will direct him in the new picture — remain unresolved, but a new development may hold a clue as to the future of the franchise. A great ruckus was raised over the fact that the Bond property has entered the marketplace for a new studio overseer, and while the new management has not yet been decided, it’s starting to look like Warner Bros. has the upper hand. And it all has to do with Christopher Nolan.
Out with the old X-Men, in with the new. Neither DC nor fully Marvel, the odd-duck X-Men cinematic franchise has been in the process of reinventing itself over the past couple installments by gradually integrating its past and present. I mean that literally — through a whole heap of time-travel tomfoolery, the original X-People we came to know during the original trilogy of films in the early ’00s have been commingled with the new generation of throwback X-Folks as shown in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s in First Class, Days of Future Past, and Apocalypse. The chronology can be a lot to swallow, and it’s about to get even more confusing: we may now have two Rogues.
Oliver Stone gravitates towards controversial figures like a moth to a headline-grabbing flame. He’s taken aim at former and sitting Presidents, serial killers, self-proclaimed warrior-poets, and most recently, a Kermit the Frog-voiced whistleblower by the name of Eddie Snowden. One of the most wanted men on the face of the Earth, Snowden’s a pretty tough act for a scandal-courting filmmaker to follow. Laura Poitras managed to score some precious face-time with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for Risk, her first feature after Snowden doc Citizenfour. Not to be outdone, Oliver Stone landed four interviews with one of the primary architects of what could end up being our next world war.
Now that Austin Powers has safely moved past its “overexposure through incessant quoting” phase, there’s a lot to love about the movie. The peppy flute theme from Quincy Jones, Myers’ screwloose double-turn as the International Man of Mystery and his pinky-brandishing nemesis, the kitschy ’60s-by-way-of-’90s design, it‘s all a pretty good time. (Not to mention that the tactfully obscured nude scene is a marvel of blocking and composition.) A recent oral history has gotten Myers’ most beloved comic creation back in the public eye, and amidst rumors that a sequel may be in the cards at some indeterminate point in the future, another surprising discovery has been made.
Johnny Depp needs some public image rehabilitation, and badly. When it came out last year that he had physically abused former spouse Amber Heard, a dark and sickly pallor was cast over the heretofore beloved actor’s profile. It isn’t helping that he hasn’t been in a good movie since 2011 (Rango, though Verbinski’s follow-up The Lone Ranger has its supporters), and hasn’t been in a really profitable one since 2014’s Into the Woods. The guy has to save a little face if he wants to secure his future in this business, and what better way to do that than to play to the only demographic unaware of his unsavory personal life: the youth!
The Overlook Film Festival just began its inaugural proceedings last night, inviting cinephiles and horror enthusiasts to take in some film with a singular location for a backdrop: the Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood, Oregon, better known to you as the Overlook Hotel and the setting of Stephen King adaptation The Shining. One could scarcely imagine a scene more apropos for the revelation that another big King remake is in the works, so Blumhouse (you know, the studio behind every horror blockbuster of the last few years) head Jason Blum and director-writer Akiva Goldsman took full advantage of their unique surroundings for a major announcement. And in the immortal words of Nelly, it’s getting hot in here.
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