If you ever bellowed those words in the mirror while holding a cardboard tube aloft like a sword shortly after giving yourself a DIY bowl-cut, you were probably a fan of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. That, or a kid with extremely weird hobbies. Either way, the series of comics, cartoons and collectibles remains a cherished part of ’80s nostalgia, and as we have learned time and again over the past few years, no corner of Generation X’s childhood is safe from the plunderers at the major movie studios.
People like a legend. When Heath Ledger died of a prescription drug overdose in January 2008, he had just completed principal photography on his Academy Award-winning role of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s grown-up Batman flick The Dark Knight. With zero foundation in confirmed public knowledge, a narrative sprung up around Ledger’s troubled final days, that the psychological demands of portraying a figure as sick and twisted as the Joker weighed too heavily on the actor. The apocryphal notion that the role ultimately drove Ledger to suicide is way off the mark, however, explains Ledger’s sister Kate.
In the ’70s, Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken starred in the seminal Vietnam War film The Deer Hunter. It ranks among the more harrowing entries in an already brutal genre, unflinchingly depicting the conditions of abject inhumanity in the war zone and then bringing the trauma home to spiritually gut a declining Pennsylvania industry town. A lot has taken place since then, however. We’re now living in a post-Dirty Grandpa world. The news of another collaboration between De Niro and Walken no longer heralds an intense drama with awards potential in its very DNA. They’re now the twin titans of Grandpa Cinema, and their latest project has to reflect that.
This past weekend, a seismic shift in box-office history took place and went largely unnoticed. The writing was on the wall for Star Wars’ legacy in the all-time top 10 highest-earning films, as noted on Reddit prior to the start of this past weekend. Box-office behemoth Beauty and the Beast continued to generate healthy grosses in its fifth weekend of release, ending the weekend with a princely (or should I say, princessly!) sum of $471.1 million. This gave the film a slight edge of the next-most-lucrative film on the list, which just so happened to be George Lucas’ original space opus. Star Wars and its lifetime gross of $461 million have now slid down to the #11 spot.
Ahh, summer camp: any kid who was shipped off for six-to-eight weeks of rigidly scheduled fun holds the memories near and dear. There’s something sweetly all-American about the mess hall meals, late-night gabfests, the smooches stolen after s’more-and-singalong campfires. And who better to desecrate all that is wholesome than the one and only John Waters, that baron of bad taste?
Never lacking in ambition (at least when it comes to the expanding frontiers of branding and marketing), Marvel boldly announced back in 2015 that the third film in the Avengers series would be unlike those that came before it. At the time of the project’s initial reveal, Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige clarified his plans to split Avengers: Infinity War into two parts that would be released independent of one another. This was cause for great excitement, as moviegoers love nothing more than to shell out for two separate tickets just for the privilege of waiting up to a year to see the conclusion of a self-contained story. Incredibly, however, Feige backpedaled on that can’t-fail proposition shortly thereafter, amending their plans to separate Avengers 3 1 and Avengers 3 2 into the simpler Avengers 3 and Avengers 4.
Much online e-ink has been e-spilled over the question of which actor will take up the mantle of international superspy James Bond for the 25th installment of the perennial franchise. Will incumbent star Daniel Craig return for another go-round as 007, or will he be replaced by the likes of new challengers Tom Hiddleston, Dan Stevens, Emily Blunt, or Idris Elba? Who knows (not us), but as the mission to secure a star has been playing out, another big change-up has unfolded largely in the background.
Once and future Robin actor Chris O’Donnell made an appearance on Conan O’Brien last night to promote his current TV home NCIS: Los Angeles. Among the friendly chatter, the fiery-haired talk show host grilled a visibly uncomfortable O’Donnell about one of his more surreal experiences on a film set during the ’90s. See, one of O’Donnell’s first major roles came on the well-respected drama Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino, where they had to deal with a unlikely prima donna guest star. Donald Trump’s acting career has taken him through the Home Alone franchise and beyond, but this credit in particular eluded him.
Ryan Reynolds’ action vehicle Deadpool was something of a game-changer, singlehandedly proving that superhero movies could work blue and make a metric buttload of money doing it, too. But of course the single greatest revelation of the film was character actress Leslie Uggams in her scene-stealing role as Deadpool’s foulmouthed, ill-tempered roommate Blind Al. Having first rose to prominence during the ’70s and ’80s with a clutch role on Roots and award-winning turns on Broadway, Uggams saw a little spike in her public profile when she popped up as the unsighted, eminently quotable Blind Al. (Around that same time, she scored a clutch supporting role on Empire as well.) And now, new developments indicate that there‘s more Uggams where that came from.
Last summer, a spat allegedly broke out between Fast and Furious franchise megastars Vin Diesel and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson while shooting the latest installment The Fate of the Furious. There were rumors of unprofessionalism on set, Johnson threw around the term “candy-ass” pretty liberally, it was a hoot for all involved. But it did cast some doubt on Johnson’s future with the series; there was no telling whether the performer could be persuaded to return for another collaboration with a guy he seemingly couldn’t stand. But a new revelation today (well, new for all of you — Johnson and I are well-documented besties and have been Gchatting about this all week) clarifies the fate of this furious man.
The great American music festival is the new hot guerrilla filming site. First, Terrence Malick hit up Austin City Limits with Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, and Michael Fassbender for his dreamy music-centric romance Song to Song. Now, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have put the attendees of Coachella on notice: their dream of momentarily sharing the silver screen with the world-straddling pop star/career weirdo is finally coming true.
Audiences who stuck around after the end credits of newly released cinematic demolition derby The Fate of the Furious were disappointed to learn that there would be no bonus stinger scene, as has been customary in past installments of the franchise. (In addition to the pre-existing disappointment resulting from learning that Charlize Theron’s character is named Cipher.) It’s atypical for the series to refrain from teasing its next ride, and many fans are wondering what gives. Wonder no longer! Vin Diesel, as fate would have it, is reportedly to blame.
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